Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Alice Broadway
For ages 13 and up
Scholastic Press, 2018   ISBN: 978-1338196993

After battling an illness for many manths, Leora’s father has finally died. His loss is a painful one for Leora and her mother, but they take comfort in the fact that he will live on through his skin book; his successes in life that were immortalized in his tattoos will continue to honor him long after he is gone.

Per tradition the embalmers come to the house and prepare the body, then they take it away and the flayers remove the skin and turn it into a book. Eagerly Leora waits to hear when the weighing of the soul ceremony will take place. Before the ceremony people in the government will study her father’s book and prepare his case. Almost everyone is judged worthy and their book is sent home with their families, but every so often someone’s transgressions in life (which are also inked onto their skin) outweigh their successes, and their book is burned. When this happens their soul burns as well.

Not long after the passing of her father, Leora witnesses something that terrifies her. She sees a man being publicly marked with a symbol that indicates that he is a traitor. Having that mark, the mark of the forgotten, on his skin will mean that after he dies, his skin book will be burned.  When Leora learns that the mark is an image of a crow she is horrified because she remembers that her father had a similar mark on his neck, which was hidden by his hair. She only saw it once, after he injured himself and the mark was exposed.

Feeling confused and afraid Leora tries to come to terms with what she has seen. Did her father, like the man in the town square, betray their people by supporting the blanks? Did he consort with the people whose skin have no marks on it? She thinks back on what she saw when