June 21, 2016 debut
For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.
The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.
As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–or for Tara–will ever be the same again.
"Debut author Khorana keeps the science fiction elements of her story light, using Terra Nova more as a metaphor for the distortions of social image versus the true self, as well as “what if” questions that leave Tara pondering if another version of herself has made different choices with less disastrous results."
"Beautiful language and mature, realistic adolescent situations flourish as Tara considers quantum physics and philosophical theories and whether a different or even better version of herself exists on the parallel planet... Like a space explorer, Tara is thrust into the uncharted territory of life and must decide how she will navigate this new part of herself."
My review: I had no idea what to expect when I read an ARC of MIRROR IN THE SKY, but I am so happy I gave it a chance. There is a science fictional context to this story, yes, but what it's really about, and where it really shines, is in the stunning characters and their relationships.
A strange and unsettling discovery in space is giving everybody on the planet a reason to look at their lives and reassess their choices. Tara is a wonderful character, and so are all the people around her, including her parents and the friends she has at school. These are all such imperfect people, with believable prejudices and problems and biases and flaws, but also powerful friendships and love for each other. The high school social dynamics are dramatic but believable--sometimes serious, sometimes petty, always affecting.
The writing is lovely, thoughtful and sometimes a little melancholy, always perfectly capturing the feel of life constantly changing beneath our feet. I agree with the other reviewer who said the book sneaked up on me. I wasn't grabbed by the first chapter and actually put it down for a couple of days, but when I went back, I was almost immediately sucked in and read through the night. It's such a unique book. I'm glad I had the chance to read it.