‘Looking Glass Girl’ by Cathy Cassidy

272p 2015 Puffin Borrowed

517huudyril-_sx354_bo1204203200_After being the star of the Year 6 play, Alice goes to a drama camp with her co-star in the play, Luke, the summer before moving up to secondary school. She doesn’t think that going to drama camp twice a week will affect her friendship with her best friends, Yaz and Elaine, but they slowly don’t want to hang out with her as much. Apparently, the girls aren’t interested in the same things any more, although that had never stopped them before.

 When the girls started at secondary school a year ago, Alice watched as her best friends were drawn to Savvy, the “Queen Bee”, leaving Alice alone. Savvy didn’t seem to like Alice either, and slowly turned Yaz and Lainey (as Elaine now wanted to be called) against her for good, saying that she was a “swot” and completely uncool. Now in Year 8, Savvy encourages Yaz and Lainey to bully Alice. They only do little, nasty things, so the teachers don’t really notice, and Alice is too scared to stick up for herself and get help.

When Alice has a chance to be in the school play with some friendly older students, she begins to hope that she might make some new mates. One day, Savvy notices Alice talking to Keisha, a popular older girl and she strangely starts to become increasingly nice towards Alice. Savvy says that she may have been wrong in her first impression of Alice, and Yaz and Lainey appear to also feel that they were wrong in ‘drifting away’ from Alice. Savvy makes plans for an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed sleepover, and invites Alice to come. Alice isn’t sure about going, but she hopes that she might become better friends again with Yaz and Lainey, and maybe even with Savvy.

At the unsupervised sleepover, Savvy encourages the girls to have some alcohol to ‘loosen them up’, which Alice is uncomfortable with, but she does play along. Savvy invites boys over as well, one of whom is Luke. Alice feels very out of her element at the party, but makes an effort to relax and she spends the time getting to know Luke better.

Later on in the evening, after the boys have left, an argument breaks out among the girls. When things spiral out of control and a terrible accident occurs, instigated by someone she used to call a friend, Alice falls into a coma. Will she ever come back from wonderland?

I thought Looking Glass Girl was another fab book by Cathy Cassidy, covering some strong themes such as bullying, friendship and dating. 2015 was the 150th year anniversary of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, and I thought Cathy did a great job of interweaving that classic story into her modern-day version. She inserted excerpts from Alice in Wonderland into the novel in the scenes where Alice is in her coma trying to find her way out of wonderland; I thought that this technique tied the two books together. I think Looking Glass Girl is a great read by Cathy Cassidy.

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