Set in the South in the 1950s during the time of segregation, MIRROR GIRLS is about twin sisters: one has dark skin and the other is light enough to pass as white. Magnolia is raised by her paternal grandmother in a rich plantation house, whereas Charlene (Charlie) is raised by her maternal grandmother up north, in New York.
However, when the girls were separated, a terrible curse was enacted. And when Magnolia finds out the truth of her parentage, suddenly her reflection disappears from the many mirrors in Heathwood and she is unable to eat or drink anything without it tasting like ash or rot. OMG! When she and Charlene meet for the first time, they are struck by their similarities and differences, and also by the way that the current political climate regarding race has affected how they are treated. Especially when the townsfolk decide that they want to segregate the local cemetery and disinter all of the Black people, to move them to a fetid swamp. The spirits aren't happy, and one of the Yates girls might die as a result. DUN DUN DUN.
I thought it did a great job not talking down to its audience and it was honestly pretty dark and chilling for a YA book! People who are regular horror readers might not find this scary at all, but people like me, who are wimps and find mirrors creepy AF won't be able to read this at night. That was my mistake, you see, and I'm regretting it even now. Holy eep. The gothic atmosphere and the weight of the curse were both done really well and I liked the relationship between the sisters, even though I think maybe things might have been better if they didn't have that instant connection.
In some ways, this really reminded me of WHEN THE RECKONING COMES, but toned down for a YA audience. I personally thought WHEN THE RECKONING COMES was better because it really leaned into the history element, and it also had more of a romantic subplot, which I really like in thrillers. But the way this book portrays segregation and the strength of young women were both great, and I think this would be a great book for teens wanting to learn more about this time period, and also looking for something a little scary that won't scar them for life.
3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars