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Black Mirror Mass Market Paperback – April 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The snowy prep school setting is the perfect backdrop for Werlin's (The Killer's Cousin) chilling and well-constructed mystery. Her narrator is a unique creation, a girl who begins to discover herself as she unravels a huge conspiracy. Frances Leventhal, half Jewish and half Japanese and confused about her identity, comes from a dysfunctional family: her father writes unpublishable science fiction and her mother has entered a Buddhist monastery in Osaka. Attending the elite Pettengill School only because of a scholarship, she has trouble connecting with anyone except a retarded groundskeeper and her art teacher. However, when her brother dies of a heroin overdose, Frances feels compelled to join the charitable organization that he was obsessed with. But something's not right about Unity Service nor with one of its student leaders, her brother's girlfriend Saskia, who's determined to keep her out. Frances's aptitude for art feels familiar, and her relationship with the groundskeeper, Andy, who's slow but true and calls her by her full name, is a bit too precious, but readers will empathize with Frances and her sense of alienation and longing. Even as Frances and Andy start to put the pieces together, Werlin continues to take readers through unexpected and exciting turns. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Werlin has written an intriguing story using subtle foreshadowing to build tension and create a sense of urgency while weaving a psychological study of a high school student who has no friends and little self-esteem. Abandoned by her mother and raised by an emotionally distant father, Frances, a teen of Japanese-Jewish descent, struggles to accept herself and cope with her brother's suicide. She recognizes that to come to grips with her guilt and grief, she must understand the reasons behind Daniel's tragic death. Daniel was actively involved with Unity, their private school's charitable organization, but Frances avoided it, even though it was responsible for both siblings' scholarships. She feels the need to carry on his work with Unity despite the unwillingness of the group to accept her. As time passes, she senses that things are not right; teachers, students, and the organization itself are not who they seem to be. What she uncovers puts her own life in danger and leads to some shocking truths about Daniel's life and death. Readers will relate to Frances's internal and external struggles as she tries to sort out the motives of the various characters with whom she comes in contact. Werlin has hit the jackpot with this well-written and masterfully developed novel. A can't-put-it-down mystery thriller.

Susan Geye, Crowley Ninth Grade Campus, TX

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Now in Speak!
  • Mass Market Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Speak (April 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142500283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142500286
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Werlin has written 9 young adult novels, including New York Times-bestselling fantasy (Impossible), Edgar-award winning suspense (The Killer's Cousin), and National Book Award-honored realistic fiction (The Rules of Survival). Her newest book is Unthinkable, a companion novel to the fantasies Impossible and Extraordinary. Nancy grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, received her bachelor's degree in English from Yale, and now lives with her husband near Boston.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Meaghan on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The best thing about this book, I think, is the characters. They were very well developed. Frances, who is so solemn and depressed. James, her love object, who isn't who he seems. Saskia, the cold and scheming little witch. Andy, retarded but very gentle. Etc. While in general it wasn't as well executed as "Locked Inside" and "The Killer's Cousin" and "Are You Alone" I liked it a lot. I started reading it in a bus station and went kind of in a trance, forgetting the heat and the noise and exhaust. After I was finished I thought about it for a long time. Like, I still can't make up my mind about Saskia; whether what she did was good or bad. Or James for that matter, and what he thought about Frances. All in all: yet another wonderful book from Nancy; I can't wait to read the next one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nea on June 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Frances's only friend was her brother, Daniel. But when they started at Pettengill school they started to grow apart, and now, 2 years later, she realizes that she didn't know anything about Daniel. He apparently killed himself with an overdose of heroin, and Frances feels terrible. To try to make herself feel better she wants to join Unity, the charity that gave them scholarships to the school. Daniel was very involved with Unity and was ashamed that Frances didn't want to join. But now when she wants to her brother's girlfriend Saskia, and most of the other members don't want her. She is confused by it and the more she finds out, the more she notices is strange with Unity.
Black Mirrow is a good book that I couldn't stop reading. Frances is an interesting character and I can relate to alot of what she is feeling. The other characters were well portrayed too and it was as much them as the plot of the story that made me want to find out what was going to happen. At the end I was completely suprised. Nancy Werlin is a good writer and all her books are great, but this one really made me think.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "paradise_found" on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Black Mirror is the story of a young girl searching for many things- a sense of family, her true identity and peace with herself.
The book follows a bumpy road of life after Frances's brother Daniel commits suicide. Frances, shy and suffering low self-concept, feels that without her brother, she should make some sort of effort to fit into the school she never really belonged to. Her odd life with divorced parents (her mother studying Buddhism miles away) and mixed heritage leads her to believe she can never fit in anywhere.
The author makes the characters both realistic and unique, creating an environment to completely immerse the reader in.
Frances decides to join Unity, a school charity group. But as the mentally challenged janitor James points out, it's "all fake work." Unity is a front for something else, and Frances and James are the only ones who know. Did her brother Daniel really commit suicide? Was there a note? And why is her art teacher so insistant that she join Unity, anyway? Read this, one of the best for YA in 2001, to find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amber on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Black Mirror, just reading the title of the book gave me chills. There are many reasons why I chose this book. First of all, I like to judge books by their cover and this book had an interesting looking cover. Another reason why I chose this book was because I had noticed it had received an Edgar Award. Which meant the book was going to be a thriller. As I started to read, I realized I had made a good choice.

The story is about a girl named Frances and how she deals with her hard life. Her parents are divorced, she has very low self-esteem, and her brother supposedly committed suicide. While her brother, Daniel, was still alive, he attended a charity group called Unity. Somehow Frances feels like she should join Unity for her brother even though she isn't the most social of all people. As Frances gets to know Unity more, she realizes there is more than charity involved with the group. She becomes aware that there is something wrong about Unity. Frances learns the real truth about the group, how her brother really died, and her life becomes in danger.

This book was probably one of the most exciting books I have ever read. Many parts of the book were both thrilling and suspenseful. I think that's what made the book so hard to put down. I just wanted to know what happed next.

I would definitely recommend this book to teens that enjoy reading suspenseful novels. Black Mirror is truly an amazing book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. on January 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In some cultures it's customary for people to drape their mirrors in black cloth as a symbol of mourning. But Frances does this for other reasons. She hates mirrors and how she looks, and she never wants to look in one ever again. But more importantly she doesn't only want to mourn her brothers death, she wants to be reminded of is and find out why he really killed himself. So as she tries to find the reasons why she starts by looking into Unity, a voulenteer group in which her brother was an active part of. But she soon discovers things aren't right. The group isn't everything she says it is. But when she tries to investigate she finds herself involved in a dangerous world of drugs, lying, betrayel, and the brutal reality of her brothers death.
I really enjoyed this book. Though it wasn't as good as the last Nancy Werlin book I read, (The Killers cousin which a fully reccomend) Black Mirror is a unique and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I reccomend this to any fans of teen suspsence novels or works by Nancy Werlin. I hope you enjoy it!
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