Review of Mirror Girls

Mirror GirlsMirror Girls
by Kelly McWilliams
High School    Little, Brown    320 pp.    g
2/22    978-0-7595-5387-3    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-7595-5385-9    $9.99

After their parents are brutally murdered for miscegenation in 1936, fraternal twin infants Charlie and Magnolia are separated. Because she can pass for white, Magnolia Heathwood is raised as a Southern belle on a plantation in Eureka, Georgia, by her white grandmother, Blanche, who keeps Magnolia unaware of her racial heritage. As the darker of the sisters, Charlie Yates is taken away from the Jim Crow South to Harlem and raised by her Black grandmother, Jeannette. On her deathbed in 1953, Blanche tells Magnolia of her parentage, and this truth causes Magnolia’s reflection to mysteriously disappear. Meanwhile, Charlie has been thriving as a young activist; when Jeannette falls ill and asks to be buried in her hometown, they make the journey back to Eureka. Once there, Charlie learns about the circumstances of her birth, the existence of her sister, and a curse that affects them all. Raised in different worlds, Charlie and ­Magnolia must work together to end the family curse before they lose each other forever. McWilliams uses American history and Southern Gothic elements to create a thrilling story filled with complex characters and significant social themes, including colorism and race relations. Readers who enjoy historical fantasy narratives, such as Corthron’s Daughters of Jubilation (rev. 1/21), will appreciate this captivating story of resilience, hope, and love.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver

S. R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her public and academic scholarship can be found on her website Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver.

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