Strong characters presenting different perspectives on life.

Summary:

Ryan Poitier Sharpes is a fearless 17-year-old. She is the biracial daughter of her mother Ayida and her retired veteran father Nolan. Knowing that her father had always wanted a son, Ryan spends most of her life seeking validation and affection from him. Her parents on the family's skydiving business and it is the perfect outlet for her to be the thrill-seeking person she is. In her attempts to show her father hat she has what it takes to be someone great, she flirts with death constantly. Then there is the jump that completely scares everyone – including Ryan. After this incident, her father bans her from sky-diving and she has no outlet to get her adrenaline fix. She takes up her boyfriend Dom’s offer to try LSD and they go to an old abandoned motor home. Something about the place feels off, and she ends up in the hospital.

Everything changes. The bold and courageous Ryan everyone knew and loved is gone; she has been replaced with a girl who can’t sort reality from her nightmares. Everything scares her now and her own reflection haunts her. Ryan has to figure out what's wrong before her life is ruined and every relationship is destroyed.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
Mirage prompts you to think about life a lot. It is slightly depressing in the middle, but still very interesting to see a different perspective on life. The author does a great job of making Ryan’s struggles almost palpable and her condition as realistic as possible.

I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it for children ages 14 and up.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is an eerie, psychological thriller that is also deeply rooted in the realities that teens see and understand. It is hard to put down, with characters (not just Ryan) who will stay with you a long time.

Content Awareness Factors:

Underage use of alcohol, as well as references to drugs and sex are part of this story.


Type of Book:
This is a psychological thriller with a main character whose efforts to please her father push her to the brink and change her life.
Educational Themes:

Mirage gives readers lots to unpack, both on a broader social level (peer pressure, drug use) but also on a personal level (needing acceptance, searching for love). Ryan, her behavior, and her relationships (peers, parents) is not the only character that can spark discussion with teens, either as a family or in a book club.

* Why was sky-diving important? Which weighed more for Ryan: her adreniline-junkie fix or the need for her father's love?
* Was Ryan correct in thinking her father didn't love her? What signs did she miss? Was it really about him? What conclusions had she internalized about herself?

Reading Level:
unknown
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow for sure. The book is thrilling and haunting ... the kind of story that stays with you for a while.

Title Mirage
Author Tracy Clark
Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers © 2016
ISBN 9780544517905
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Family, Health - Illness, Life Lessons, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues, Disabilities | Developmental Challenges
be the star you are
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