Kathe Koja, Author . FSG/Foster $16 (128p) ISBN 978-0-374-30849-0

The title takes on many connotations in Koja's (Buddha Boy ) eerie, psychologically gripping urban tale. The Blue Mirror doubles as the name of the café where narrator Maggy Klass seeks refuge from the claustrophobic apartment she shares with her mostly drunk mother, but it also becomes the filter through which she begins to see clearly the world outside—and herself. Her only friend, Casey, works at the café; Maggy's booth is "the one right under the window, blue-tinted window almost as big as the wall, showing café and street in equal reflections." From her perch she draws everything she sees, and signs her drawings "mags " ("mags is my secret name, my alias or nom de plume or whatever an artist would call it... even Casey doesn't know about mags "). One winter day, she spies "Prince Charming on a street corner." After a time, she discovers his name, Cole, and he leads her out of her sacred space in the Blue Mirror to his world of the streets. Koja creates an indeterminate urban setting, grounded in specifics. Cole takes Maggy to the Wishing Well, where he compares its ice crystals to "trapped stars"; he shows her the riverbank where the "skwatters" stay; and he calls her mags ("How do you know my name?"). The novel teems with characters that possess the same kind of edgy, dangerous magic as Francesca Lia Block's creations, and, like Block, Koja explores the confusion between infatuation and real love—in all its cruelty and its redemptive powers. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 119 pages - 978-0-14-240693-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-6768-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-9933-0
Hardcover - 139 pages - 978-0-7862-6960-0
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