I received a copy of this book in order to provide a review. This did not influence my opinion in any way; all thoughts are my own.
Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!
Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth’s old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B— before she becomes the inn’s next victim.
When I was first approached about a review of The Looking Glass, I was very intrigued. I’ve really cut back on my reviewing lately but this book really caught my interest and I had to read it.
From the very first page, the action starts. We are plunged into Alice’s life, or whatever it is after her accident, right away. As Alice must pick up bits and pieces of information as she explores and observes, so must we. I appreciate Arnold’s tactics in constructing the story this way, as it really makes you feel like a part of the story. I was confused when the whole mirror aspect was talked about, but in retrospect, that just placed me more firmly in the story, as Alice had to have been terribly confused to find herself in this old version of the hotel.
This book greatly reminded me of the only episode of American Horror Story that I’ve watched (so far), Season 1, Episode 1. In the show, the mirrors reflected the truth of what was going on. In this book, Alice had to use the mirrors to look back at the rooms she was in to see them as they were in reality. Also, this book brought the book and movie of The Shining to mind. Who can forget the madness that existed in The Overlook Hotel? While accidental or on purpose, the similarities are noted and appreciated.
Finally, I must thank the author for taking the old and over-done premise of Alice and the looking glass and making it into something entirely different. In fact, those two aspects are about the only things that remain from the original story. Of course, there’s also a few other nods to Lewis Carroll’s original story, but never to the point that I felt like I was just reading yet another re-telling of that classic book. Elizabeth Blackwell and her madness and obsession are a brand new story that captivated me.
While The Looking Glass is marketed as young adult, don’t be afraid to cross genres if you don’t usually do so. I would recommend this book but urge you to do so when you can truly think about it. It’s definitely not a fluffy piece.
About the author:
Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.
Giveaway! Ends 5/8
- Four (4) winners will receive an ebook copy of The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold (INT)
- One (1) winner will receive an ebook copy of The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)