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Reader Reviewed
The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

The Mirror World of Melody Black

Literary Fiction   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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A surprisingly intimate and compelling read, and one that exposes an emotionally challenging and often hidden world. The diverting way in which the author introduces Abby, suggests that something is essentially different, but at the same time she feels extraordinarily real…not perfect, just some sort of normal. You feel encouraged to invest in Abby, to get to know her, both on the surface as you witness her every day life and occasional escapades but also inside, where you start to explore the motion of her mind. This is clever writing, at times softly blurred around the edges, sometimes amusingly engaging, while at others howling and penetrating in it’s intensity. Prepare to like Abby, to smile and laugh with her, to feel perplexed, to empathise and want to hug her, prepare to be left thoroughly captivated in this thought provoking and stimulating novel.~ Liz Robinson

Click here to see The Universe Versus Alex Woods by the same author.

If you like Gavin Extence you might also like to read books by Jojo Moyes, Eowyn Ivey and Tom Rob Smith.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Abby, a journalist, lives with her boyfriend; they are happy and life is good. One day she discovers her next-door neighbour Simon dead in his flat, and, strangely, at first it seems to have little effect on her. In fact, it has a profound consequence, and she enters a ‘manic’ episode, associated with her previously diagnosed depression, and her behaviour quickly spirals out of control. Her ‘high’ escalates out of all proportion and she seems bent on a path of self-destruction. Extence writes with wisdom and compassion about a sensitive subject that most readers will be able to relate to on some level. It is a stark look at mental illness from a personal perspective – eye opening, thought-provoking and very readable. He skilfully combines the horror of a young woman’s slide in to depression with the right mix of comic, light-hearted humour and ending on a positive note. Literally unputdownable.
~ Caroline White

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Katie Hoare - 'Brilliantly told. There are funny moments in this story, but you are also given a good insight into the ups and downs of what it is like for someone who has bipolar. The reader is taken on a real rollercoaster ride with Abby.' Read full review >
  • Joy Bosworth - 'Different and quite enthralling. I found I really enjoyed this book and would recommend anyone to give it a try, it is worth it.' Read full review >
  • Holly Kilminster - 'Honest, haunting and shocking, this is an incredible read that will make you stop and think. The plot will grab you with both hands and draw you so far into the story that you can't (and won't want to) climb out again.' Read full review >
  • Janet Monks - 'In places the novel is dark, but its wit and myriad of characters makes it enjoyable and fast paced reading. When finished, I began reading again - because what happens to Abby sheds a new light on what has gone before.' Read full review >
  • Annette Woolfson - 'At last, a ‘one-sitting read’! Gavin Extence has done it again. I cannot think of a book that I have read in the last few years in which I connected so well with the characters.' Read full review >
  • Sarah Harper - 'One of the truest, funniest, and sharpest books I have ever read. I loved this book so much, it’s absolutely fantastic.' Read full review >
  • Janet Trossell - 'An amazing novel which takes us on a roller coaster ride full of unexpected happenings, written with a wry humour, always full of surprises.' Read full review >
  • Sue Broom - 'Rarely has a character appealed to me so strikingly as Abby does in this novel - and to think that she was written by a man is testament to his skill.' Read full review >
  • Zarina de Ruiter - 'The Mirror World of Melody Black paints a poignant and achingly realistic picture of mental illness, but it is also a humorous and very witty read.' Read full review >
  • Katy Noyes - 'Insightful and shocking look at one woman's loss of control. Promising second novel from a talented author not afraid to write about taboo subjects.' Read full review >
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'What an incredibly powerful story, made more so by the final chapter, Afterword.' Read full review >
  • Ruth Carson - 'I really enjoyed this book.  It's a well written account of a young woman's struggle with mental illness that pulls you in from the first page.' Read full review >
  • Cat Hogwood - 'A book that explores relationships between partners, friends and healthcare professionals. This book will not disappoint - a must read!' Read full review >
  • Emma Smith - 'A well thought through book that provides insight into mental health problems.' Read full review >
  • Sophia Ufton - 'Amazing story, loved reading this book! Really made me think and have started re-reading it again.' Read full review >
  • Alex Hetherington - 'This novel could almost be split in two, cracked open and observed as two different stories, but what makes it so good is it’s about life and every moment.' Read full review >
  • Elena Robertson - 'An honest look into one woman's journey living with a mental illness. This book is dark and painful but also manages to make you laugh taking you along for the ride that is Abby's life.' Read full review >
  • Nikki Whitmore - 'To steal a quote from the back cover of the book: Life has its ups and downs...With the subject matter, it could so easily have been a morose read but it wasn’t.' Read full review >
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'Gavin is a good and 'deep' author..His writing style is easy and readable. His opening plot of the neighbour's death, drew me in and kept my attention.' Read full review >


The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

It all starts, as these things sometimes do, with a dead man. He was a neighbour, not someone Abby knew well, but still, finding a body when you only came over to borrow a tin of tomatoes, that comes as a bit of a shock. At least, it should. And now she can't shake the feeling that if she hadn't gone into Simon's flat, if she'd had her normal Wednesday night instead, then none of what happened next would have happened. And she would never have met Melody Black ...Wild and witty, searing and true, THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK is about the fine line that separates normal from not - and how life can spin, very swiftly, out of control.

About the Author

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.

Author photo © Alix Extence

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Book Info

Publication date

10th March 2016


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Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


304 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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