Book Review: Reflections by Briana Morgan
Briana Morgan is one of the indie authors I follow pretty closely on social media, so I was looking forward to this book based on some of the things she posted about it on Twitter. The premise was intriguing on its own, and then I saw these beautiful character aesthetic collages and knew I had to read it. (I may or may not be slightly obsessed with story visuals/concepts like that. It comes with the whole "artist" thing.) I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy for review and, since school is out and I have some free time, I finished it in just a few days.
The story follows sixteen-year-old Ramachandra Ganeshan (Rama), who recently went through a very traumatic experience and has some body image and self-confidence issues. One of the things I appreciated most about the story was Morgan's careful consideration in handling such a delicate subject. She doesn't shy away from the truth, nor does she use Rama's trauma as an unnecessary plot device purely to elicit sympathy from the reader. At the same time, she doesn't go into all the graphic details. The focus remains on how the event affected Rama and continues to affect her, as well as her struggle to overcome what has happened to her and learn to love herself again. It's beautiful to see Rama grow and progress throughout the story.
The story starts off a little slow, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The characters are all compelling enough that I wanted to keep reading and find out what was happening. My only complaint was that, especially in the first half of the story, some of the characters felt inconsistent and at times a bit contradictory. Nevertheless, most of their interactions were well-written and they definitely grew on me more as the story went on. I especially loved Leda; I would read a story about her and Nathaniel before they joined Vincent's tribe in a heartbeat, just saying.
The climax was a little predictable for me, but powerful and satisfying nonetheless. All of the characters' individual arcs were wrapped up nicely, especially Rama's. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys character-driven YA fantasy.