{ARC} Review: The Looking Glass by Janet McNally || For ballet being such an important factor; the lack of it confused me

The Looking Glass

Janet McNally

the looking glass janet mcnally


That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia renamed their favorite fairy tale book, way back when they were just girls themselves. Now, Julia has disappeared—and no one knows if she’s in trouble.

Sylvie is trying to carry on Julia’s impressive legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy, but Julia, ever the star of the show, can’t stay hidden forever. And when she sends Sylvie a copy of their old storybook with a mysterious list inside, Sylvie begins to see signs of her sister everywhere she goes. She may be losing her grip on reality, but Sylvie has to find out if the strange, almost magical things she’s been seeing have anything to do with Julia’s whereabouts.

With the help of her best friend’s enigmatic brother and his beat-up car, Sylvie sets out to the beat of a Fleetwood Mac playlist, determined to return to New York with her sister in tow. But what Sylvie doesn’t expect to learn is that trouble comes in lots of forms—and that the damsel in distress is often the only one who can save herself.

Publisher: Harperteen

Published: August 14th 2018



ARC Netgalley

Trigger Warning





Suicide Ideation, Talk of Drug Addiction

There was something about this story that was simplistic and charming wrapped up in a very pretty bow. It flowed and weaved together and before you know it, I was at the end. The very abrupt end. But that cover is gorgeous. 10/10 cover, a million heart eyes.

It’s been a year since Sylvia’s sister went missing and her family fell apart. She’s ready to move on when she gets a book in the mail with some hidden messages only her sister could’ve sent. So now she’s on a journey to find her sister while re-evaluating everything she’s been through.

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The portrayal of grief was interesting to see. We start off the story right in the acceptance phase before things spin out of control with this book and its symbolism. With the flashbacks and the interactions with the people Sylvia encounters, it was interesting to see how this big event effected everyone involved.

Like I mention in the title, ballet is a pretty big plot point. It’s a main catalyst for Sylvia’s sister’s addiction and a huge character conflict for Sylvia herself. Yet, ballet is more of a passing mention rather than something we’re shown. It’s here and there, but it’s a show-not-tell situation.

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Sylvia as the main character was cool. She had her quirks— Nancy Drew and detectives were two major ones, but she felt real to me. Did I have a big connection with her? No. But I appreciated her, even when she went head first into things when it came to finding her sister. And Jack was cool, too. I appreciated that he had his own issues he was dealing with and he wasn’t just her chauffeur/love interest.

But speaking of the romance, it was okay? The development happened quickly— they are on a trip for a week or so? But I can’t say I didn’t like them together. Certain aspects of their relationship we’re obvious, he obviously didn’t hate her, but both we’re kind of quirky and a nice pair.

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My main issue was the fairytale aspect. I was led to believe this was a magical realism sort of story, yet it was kind of ridiculous. Damn near all of the “princesses” Sylvia sees— Sleeping beauty, Rapunzel, Belle— who bothered me the most because come on, were more like coincidences rather than magical occurrences.

I mean, some girl with a dog says she’s going to see her grandmother and Sylvia starts freaking out. If I’m truly honest, it didn’t make me mad, but I was a bit peeved.

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There was also the suicide ideation. It happened a few times during the book and is never really dealt with, talked about or expanded on. It happens a few times and it’s over. It felt more like a plot device than anything which makes me uncomfortable.

However, I really appreciated the ending. I do wish we could’ve gotten a look at the parents and how they coped with things. But, it had closure, yet was left open enough to hammer the point of the future is still full of healing and possibility.

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