A teenage girl and her friends cross into a parallel world in this fantasy adventure from Blossman (The Noxhelm Murders, 2017, etc.).
Seventeen-year-old Ella Simmons lives with her strict father in the small town of Branford Falls. Her wealthy best friend Finley’s dad recently bought her an antique mirror for $10,000. When Ella, Finley Poe, and their new friend, Diane Brooke, try to see their future in the looking glass, they find they can pass through it. The world beyond is an alternate version of Branford Falls, full of destitution, violence, and even casual murder. They manage to escape back to their own reality, but Ella finds that being in the “Dark World,” as she calls it, made her feel good. It also made the strange birthmark on her shoulder glow and awakened strange powers within her. It turns out that whenever someone from her own world passes into the Dark World, a doppelgänger from that reality travels in the other direction—and Finley’s double has wreaked havoc in her absence. Also, Finley’s delinquent brother Fallon followed them into the mirror; he’s now trapped in the Dark World, replaced in his own by an even more aggressive sociopath. In the midst of all this, Ella finds out that she was adopted. What is her true connection to the Dark World? Blossman establishes a fast pace from the outset, confronting Ella in every chapter with problems, mysteries, dangers and doubts. The author has Ella tackle these with a teenager’s resilience and a breezy insouciance—and the latter trait is shared by superficial socialite Finley. Ella consistently grasps the gravity of her situation, but doesn’t excessively dwell on her inner turmoil. This is a wise stylistic choice on Blossman’s part, as it keeps the tone of the adventure light. The dialogue, too, has a reassuring staginess that acts as a buffer for particularly unpleasant plot points. Throughout, the protagonist’s appealing narration offers an array of breathless fantasy twists.
A pleasant dose of alternate-universe excitement.