Cover image for The blue mirror
The blue mirror
Koja, Kathe.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004.
Physical Description:
119 pages ; 22 cm
Seventeen-year-old loner Maggy Klass, who frequently seeks refuge from her alcoholic mother's apartment by sitting and drawing in a local cafe, becomes involved in a destructive relationship with a charismatic homeless youth named Cole.
General Note:
Frances Foster Books
Reading Level:
1130 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.2 4.0 77824.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Some guys are bad news Sixteen-year-old Maggy's life consists of trying to be invisible at school, taking care of her alcoholic mother, and spending all the time she can at the Blue Mirror, a downtown café. She can lose herself there for hours with a cappuccino and her sketchbook, in which she creates a paper world she calls "The Blue Mirror." But everything changes when she meets Cole, a charismatic runaway. Maggy is intrigued by Cole's risky life on the streets and by the girls who follow him, childlikeJouly and strange Marianne. And when Cole says that he loves her, Maggy comes alive. As Maggy becomes more entwined with Cole and she looks at him with all her heart, she sees something far more dangerous than she may be capable of handling.In poetic and evocative language, Kathe Koja draws us into the haunting, passionate world of The Blue Mirror .

Author Notes

Kathe Koja was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. Her first novel, The Cipher, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 1992 and the Locus Award. She also won a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels. Her other adult novels include Bad Brains, Skin, Kink, and Under the Poppy. She also writes young adult novels including Straydog, Buddha Boy, The Blue Mirror, and Going Under.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12.oja's writing talent, hinted at in Straydog (2001), reaches remarkable fruition in this cautionary tale of infatuation. Maggy, a talented, 17-year-old artist who spends long hours sketching at a local cafe, notices a beautiful boy of extraordinary grace (and dark blue lipstick) through the window. Eventually she and Cole meet, and she falls head over heels in love. Despite the well-meaning advice of a friend, Maggy is unable to see Cole's considerable flaws, and the relationship spirals downward until a tragedy finally forces her to see what is really going on. The familiar plot of first love gone awry is not particularly special. It'soja's writing that is noteworthy. Long stream-of-consciousness sentences with creative (but recognizable) spelling and clever use of italics will enchant readers, while the atmospheric cover art will draw teens seeking stories about extraordinary experiences. --Debbie Carton Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 caf? 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 caf?; Maggy's booth is "the one right under the window, blue-tinted window almost as big as the wall, showing caf? 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Sixteen-year-old Maggy's life revolves around school, when she feels like attending, and catching a bus to The Blue Mirror, a downtown caf? where she can escape the, dirty, cluttered apartment she shares with her alcoholic mother. While at the caf?, she sits at a window booth and draws in her sketchbook, also called "The Blue Mirror," creating life as she sees it. Page after page is filled with cops chasing purse-snatchers, winos bundled in threadbare blankets, and runaways and squatters perfecting their trade of hustling. All of Maggy's subjects remain nameless faces until the day she sees Cole, "a walking wish come true." Unfortunately, Maggy's wish becomes a nightmare. Cole is a master of manipulation. Maggy rationalizes the bruises she sees on Marianne, one of the two squatter girls who follow and obey Cole's demands, and she believes his claims of love are genuine. Maggie can't draw the pure and untainted Cole she sees with her heart. Only after a frightening revelation can she draw the real Cole, an abusive and sinister person. Kathe Koja's novel (Farrar, 2004) is a powerful and intriguing tale about the art of manipulation and the search for love and acceptance. Narrator Katherine Kellgren moves seamlessly between characters and their emotions. Whether it is the dry, sleepy voice of an alcoholic waking from a stupor, or the puzzling anguish felt so often by Maggy, she hits her mark every time.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.