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A Whole New World

In Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorona, the discovery of an alternate Earth forever redefines life in our world.

A Whole New World

BOOK REPORT for Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

Cover Story: Mirror in the Sky Keeps on Turning
BFF Charm: Stuart Smalley
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Figuratively Speaking
Bonus Factors: Frenemies, Mirror World, Cult
Relationship Status: Summer Fling with Substance

Cover Story: Mirror in the Sky Keeps on Turning

Sooooo I had somehow convinced myself that this book had the same name as a Journey song, only to learn otherwise from Google, WHOOPS. Misheard lyrics aside, the cover is totally reminiscent of promotional photos for a movie with a similar premise (and impossibly large depiction* of a planet light years from our solar system), Another Earth.

*Like, seriously -- if anything was that close to Earth, NASA would have called up Bruce Willis and his ragtag team of oil drillers.

The Deal:

Starting your junior year without your BFF, who's decided that she'll surpass you in coolness after her exchange program to Argentina, is already a BFD. But the start of Tara Krishnan's year of flying solo at her ultra-smart, ultra-rich, and ultra-white Connecticut prep school is eclipsed by the discovery of an alternate Earth, filled with mirror versions of everyone on our Earth. As the world -- incl. Tara's mother -- obsesses over new developments about the mirror planet, Tara also finds herself adjusting to another new reality of unexpectedly befriending the popular kids at school.

BFF Charm: Stuart Smalley

With her best and only friend callously writing off their friendship, it makes sense that Tara feels down in the dumps. And she already sees herself as an outsider for coming from a middle-class, half-Indian family, so a possible alternate Tara who has more social success only compounds her existing sense of inadequacy. But Tara! You're a genius bookworm (AKA THE BEST PEOPLE), and your model minority rant is SO FREAKING GLORIOUS. Say it with me:

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Now that Tara's hanging out with the in-crowd, she's getting a lot closer to her longtime crush, Nick. Which would be great, if only Nick wasn't already in a serious relationship. (One on the rocks -- obvs, since he's being all flirty -- but a relationship nonetheless.) However, the entanglement was ultimately handled well, which saved its swoonworthy score from completely plummeting.

Talky Talk: Figuratively Speaking

For a book that involves big concepts from both science and philosophy, its poignant and mature prose is surprisingly accessible and devourable -- a testament to the steady confidence of Aditi Khorana's writing. Some of the analogies and metaphors were a bit of a stretch, but Khorana's debut still manages to impress overall.

Bonus Factor: Frenemies

Led by Halle, a sympathetic yet strategic queen bee more in line with Blair Waldorf than Regina George, Tara's new close-knit group of friends actually conceals secrets from and harbours resentment towards each other. Although neither blunt Veronica's snarky opinions (omg I love her so much) nor observant Alexa's eating disorder** are particularly well-hidden.

**Nothing too detailed (and, hopefully, not too triggering), but it's basically an open secret.

Bonus Factor: Mirror World

From what little is known about the mirror planet, nicknamed Terra Nova, the similarities between the two worlds is kind of like looking at a funhouse mirror (or through a Snapchat filter, if you will): everything's generally the same, with the exception of a few distorted details.

As monumental as the discovery of Terra Nova is, it really serves as a catalyst for a smaller, more intimate story of reevaluation and change. The tantalizing possibilities of their counterparts' lives drive the imagination of people on Earth -- interestingly, always assumed to be better on Terra Nova, since it'd probably be a bummer to consider that you're already living your best life if you're not entirely happy with it.

Bonus Factor: Cult

Having grown up as an orphan, Tara's mother is captivated by the idea that the Terra Nova versions of her parents are still alive. And she's not alone in her thinking; the Church of the New Earth is a rapidly growing movement looking to make contact with Terra Nova. Turning to a higher power in times of confusion is understandable, but the Church of the New Earth employs some highly questionable practices.

Casting Call:

Younger Meaghan Rath as Tara 

Relationship Status: Summer Fling with Substance

This book and I forged an intellectual connection, and I couldn't get enough of its thought-provoking insights. Although our styles aren't compatible for true staying power, I'll still look back on our brief encounter with fondness. But maybe we'd be something more on another world.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Penguin Books. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Mirror in the Sky is available now.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.