Author/Artist: Jo Chen
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: April 2008
Synopsis: “After escaping the confines of New York City, Lou and Sunny start a new life in a small town. But just as things are looking up, with the trauma of their pasts wiped clean, fate strikes again… and Lou my lose more than he thought possible. From celebrated illustrator Jo Chen comes the conclusion to this poignant tale about two lost souls finding themselves – and each other.”
Volume two of The Other Side of the Mirror brings this bittersweet, but compellingly sweet romance story of two unlikely souls finding each other, to a close. The love story of Sunny and Lou is concluded half way through the book, leaving the rest of the 200-page book filled up with two unrelated short stories.
While volume of this two-part series was a little lack-lustre, volume two will probably do a better job of connecting emotionally to readers. Sunny and Lou are living together happily and engaged to be wed, leaving their pasts behind them. When tragedy occurs, Lou has to come to turns with the horrendous event and it’s a sad but powerful tribute to their love. The emotions feel more real and made for a nice read, even if now that readers are finally connecting to the characters, the story is cut short at its end.
The short story following the main portion of the book is about a boy who finds himself head over heels for a girl he met through the Internet. To him, she’s the perfect woman and he can’t wait to meet her in person. However, the school heartthrob in his class seems to know her and now it seems the perfect-girlfriend could be in trouble. It’s an interesting story that could easily have gone in a variety of directions. It’s neat to read Jo Chen’s after word referring to her editor’s wish to change the end of the story. In hindsight, Jo Chen’s chosen ending does seem the best suited even if it isn’t the perfect happily-ever-after package deal.
The next short story is about a little girl’s childhood friend and her return to her childhood home years later. The story has a little difficulty establishing what its focus is but by the end it feels nicely wrapped up. Again the after word at the book’s back offers some of Jo Chen’s inspiration and meaning for the tale, giving it a little more substance.
Tokyopop’s release job is consistent with the first. The cover of the book, including back and spine, consists of images printed on shiny holographic paper to, presumably, match with the mirror theme of the book.
Overall, The Other Side of the Mirror sums up nicely in two volumes, managing an ending that feels a little stronger than its beginning. The short stories are a fun bonus feature, which is good considering the bulk of the book they make up. Fans of Jo Chen and those who enjoyed the first book should appreciate the second.
Written April 20, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased in-store from independant novelty shop, The Batter’s Box