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Black Mirror (2001)

de Nancy Werlin

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227989,541 (3.61)13
Convinced her brother's death was murder rather than suicide, sixteen-year-old Frances begins her own investigation into suspicious student activities at her boarding school.
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Frances Leventhal refuses to look in the mirror; she can't bear to face her reflection. She has hidden from herself and everyone around her for such a long time, and now that her brother Daniel has committed suicide, she can't help thinking that it's somehow her fault. If she hadn't been so caught up in her own pain, maybe she would have noticed her brother's. It's time to stop hiding—to reach out to Daniel's friends at their private school. Daniel had been deeply involved in Unity Service, the charitable group on campus, and Frances is determined to join the group and to make amends.
But something's not quite right about Unity, and soon Frances finds herself in the middle of a puzzle too ominous to ignore. Exactly what are the Unity members trying so hard to hide? And why does no one else on campus, adult or teen, seem suspicious of them? This time Frances won't scurry away to hide. The memory of her brother is at stake.
  Gmomaj | Nov 6, 2019 |
I had a very difficult time putting down Black Mirror, not necessarily because I was held at the edge of my seat with suspense, but because the characters were so real that I simply could not let them go. Reading this book I felt as if I was listening to a friend tell the story of some intense drama that happened to them in the past week and the emotion behind the characters pulled me even deeper into the story.

The main character, Francis, tells the events as they happen, in the first person. It is her story, told I such a way that you can almost feel as if you picked up someone’s diary, opened to a random page and began learning about their life from that moment on. As is the case with everyone, things have happened in her past, before the book begins, however we are not bombarded with the details. We learn about them in mentions here and there; her Japanese mother left them to join a Buddhist monastery, her father moved the family to live with their Jewish grandmother, she grew up, her brother died. It is in this part of her life what we find her, feeling out of place as a part of a mixed family, going to a private school on a special scholarship. As a reader I became drawn to this self-proclaimed outcast, feeling her pain, her worries and experiencing her life /with/ her in these moments of confusion and sadness. She was close to her brother before they grew up, then he drifted away from her and now, with his death, she finds herself all alone with only her own art to comfort her.

As a mystery, the story moves you from one direction to the other. Is there a crime? Who is the guilty party in certain events? What has happened to some of the people she has seen in her time at the school? Some of these questions are answered as you might have expected, others might throw one surprise after another at you before you come to the book’s conclusion. And, as is true of picking up anyone’s diary and learning about their life by only reading part of it, there are events that occur in the book that you will not discover the outcome of. I found that most refreshing since, after all, doesn’t our life continue after the end of a major event? Do we not have our own questions to answer after we go to bed in the evening? Life continues and this book is a perfect reflection of the life of a person that you might have simply met at random, making discoveries that will forever change them. ( )
  mirrani | Apr 6, 2011 |
I love mystery novels, and this is a pretty good one. Parts of it were a bit too easy to figure out, but then the author threw in some great curve balls that kept me from figuring out who-done-it until the end. This book might be used in curriculum about finding yourself and feeling like an outcast. ( )
  bluemopitz | Aug 4, 2010 |
Mesmerizing book that took my breath away. I just couldn't seem to set it down! I'd recommend this book to anyone. A murder mystery that keeps you guessing til the very end. =] ( )
  kissmeimgone | Jun 19, 2010 |
Synopsis:After Frances’ brother Daniel committed suicide, Frances decides to honor his legacy by joining the charity organization, Unity Services, which Daniel worked with. Her act is largely born out of guilt for his death, because Frances felt that she was too wrapped up in her own depression and self-hate to notice that her brother was hurting. As Frances tries to integrate herself in with the other members of Unity Services, Daniel’s girlfriend Saskia starts a campaign to make Frances’ life at school unbearable in an attempt to force her to quit volunteering at Unity Services. At the same time Frances starts to notice that something isn’t quite right with the organization at Unity Services and begins to suspect that the charity organization is a front for an elaborate drug ring. Review:Werlin’s narrator (Frances) is extremely easy for teenagers and pre-teens alike to identify with. Her self-image and vacillating self-confidence makes her an ideal candidate for YA readers who need to know that their feelings are universal. That being said, I found the book to be an interesting read and enjoyed the vivid description Werlin uses to bring her world to life. Unfortunately, Werlin's narrator reinforces the image of the perpetual teenage girl who is consistently unhappy with herself. ( )
  sharp3 | Jan 20, 2010 |
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For my editor, Lauri Hornik, with appreciation, and continued astonishment at my good luck.
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Seven years ago, when I was only nine and we had just moved into her house, Bubbe stood me in front of her.
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Convinced her brother's death was murder rather than suicide, sixteen-year-old Frances begins her own investigation into suspicious student activities at her boarding school.

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