I have started this journal in the hope that something interesting and supernatural will happen to me but I fear this is unlikely. I am not an orphan and I do not live in a cupboard under the staircase. We do have a staircase cupboard – it is full of gumboots and old newspapers but I don’t live in it and I have parents, two of them. Alive. And they both love me. A lot. This is good but annoying, as it is usually unloved orphans that have all the magical luck. Mum actually gave me a cushion with ‘You are so loved!’ written on it. I was like, what is this … I wanted the one with the black leafless tree lithograph on it. It looks dark and mysterious. To be dark and mysterious is one of my lifelong goals. If passing inhabitants of an alternate magical world see the ‘You are so loved!’ cushion on my bed, they will keep walking.
Lily is a precocious and confident eleven-year-old and this is her journal. Lily lives at home as part of a loving family (including an annoying brother and an older sister). She loves all things supernatural and would love to discover some magic in her life, but so far, her life is unfortunately very normal. She loves her grandfather and his cooking and sad that her grandmother is too unwell to live at home. Her chance meeting of another Lily – who she calls Other Lily – changes everything. A magic mirror, a long-held secret and a new friend are going to take up all her time and imagination, for many skills are needed if Lily is to solve this intriguing mystery.
Lily in the Mirroris gothic horror for mid-primary readers. Filtered through Lily’s diary, potentially scary elements are tempered by her often humourous reactions and retellings. Young readers will be caught up in the magical elements of this historic family mystery. Dressed in pink, the cover is designed to appeal to girls, particularly competent younger readers wanting a longer story pitched at their emotional level. There are many themes around the changing nature of family. Recommended for younger middle primary readers.
Lily in the Mirror, Paula Hayes
Fremantle Press 2016
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller