Mirror to Mirror

by Rajani Larocca (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Rajani LaRocca, recipient of a Newbery Honor and Walter Award for Red, White, and Whole, is back with an evocative novel in verse about identical twin sisters who do everything together--until external pressures threaten to break them apart.

Maya is the pragmatic twin, but her secret anxiety threatens to overwhelm her.

Chaya is the outgoing twin. When she sees her beloved sister suffering, she wants to tell their parents--which makes Maya feel completely betrayed. With Maya shutting her out, Chaya makes a dramatic change to give her twin the space she seems to need. But that's the last thing Maya wants, and the girls just drift further apart.

The once-close sisters can't seem to find their rhythm, so they make a bet: they'll switch places at their summer camp, and whoever can keep the ruse going longer will get to decide where they both attend high school--the source of frequent arguments. But stepping into each other's shoes comes with its own difficulties, and the girls don't know how they're going to make it.

This emotional, lyrical story will speak to fans of Ali Benjamin, Padma Venkatraman, and Jasmine Warga.

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Kirkus Reviews

A lyrical story that delves into the emotional truths of mental illness.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-8—Chaya and Maya are identical twins with a strong bond. Maya has been keeping a secret since they were six years old, something even her twin doesn't know about. Chaya picks up on Maya's anxiety and wants to tell their parents, but Maya asks her to keep it undercover. When Chaya discovers Maya is harming herself by digging into to her hand with her own fingernails, seeing the blood shocks her into action. Blaming herself for the anxiety her twin is experiencing, Chaya changes her interests and activities to those different from Maya, to give her space to shine.

Unfortunately, Maya sees this as her sister pulling away from her and feels isolated. Each sister feels like the other twin has it easier, so they swap places while at camp—à la The Parent Trap—style musical Long Lost, which they both adore. This novel-in-verse is told in alternating, dual perspectives of Chaya and Maya, which give readers insight into their thoughts and Maya's superstitious secret. LaRocca has created each sister with her own clear voice that is easy to discern as the point of view shifts.

The cadence of the lyrical free verse lends itself beautifully to the musical talents of both girls. Family dynamics give readers more understanding and compassion for Maya's perfectionist ways when another family member seems to experience similar pressure that sometimes results in tense situations. Anxiety is presented respectfully, with the goal of helping to remove stigma.

VERDICT This engaging verse novel opens doors to more conversations about mental health and deserves a place on every middle grade shelf.—Lisa Krok

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A searing and poignant exploration of sisterhood, and all of its complexities. Maya and Chaya's story will help young readers wrestling with anxiety feel less alone, and help crack open many important conversations." — Jasmine Warga, Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home

"A thoughtful and deeply moving story in verse." — Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author

"A sensitive portrayal of sisters and music told in lyrical free verse that sings with hope." — Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree and Young People's Poet Laureate Emeritus

"Deserves a place on every middle grade shelf." — School Library Journal

"This nuanced novel explores complex aspects of family and sibling dynamics and will give readers much to ponder." — Horn Book Magazine

Rajani Larocca
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. She earned a BA and an MD from Harvard and spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. She is the author of Midsummer's Mayhem, Much Ado About Baseball, The Secret Code Inside You, Seven Golden Rings, and Red, White, and Whole, which was a Newbery Honor winner. Find her online at RajaniLaRocca.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @rajanilarocca.

Chris Baron is the award-winning author of The Gray, All of Me, an NCTE Notable Book, and The Magical Imperfect, a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book, a SLJ Best Book of 2021. He is a professor of English at San Diego City College and the director of the Writing Center. He grew up in New York City, but he completed his MFA in poetry in 1998 at SDSU. He lives in San Diego, California, with his family. Find out more about him at chris-baron.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Quill Tree Books
Publication date
March 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
Library of Congress categories
Family life
Novels in verse
Twin sisters

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