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Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

3.6 19
by Jennifer Finney Boylan, Brandon Dorman

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"You're a monster.
All the children here are monsters.
This is the Academy for Monsters."

Falcon Quinn and his neighbors, Max and Megan, board bus #13 for school on an ordinary day in Maine. Only the bus doesn't take its ordinary route, and the friends soon find themselves in an extraordinary place—on Shadow Island, at the Academy for


"You're a monster.
All the children here are monsters.
This is the Academy for Monsters."

Falcon Quinn and his neighbors, Max and Megan, board bus #13 for school on an ordinary day in Maine. Only the bus doesn't take its ordinary route, and the friends soon find themselves in an extraordinary place—on Shadow Island, at the Academy for Monsters.

With a student body stranger than the cast of any monster movie, the academy is home to creatures of all kinds. Falcon has always felt different, with his one bright blue eye and one shadow-black eye, but will he discover the other thing that makes him different when he finds himself in the Black Mirror? And when he learns that the school's mission is to teach students to hide their monster natures, Falcon and his friends need to find a way to fight back.

Bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan introduces Falcon and his band of monster friends in this first installment of a hair-raising and sidesplitting adventure of monstrous proportions.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amy Sisson
Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror upends the notion that a book about a supernatural boarding school cannot possibly be fresh and original. Falcon, a lonely but kind boy, finds himself reeling when he and classmates Megan and Max are suddenly whisked away by school bus to the Academy for Monsters, located on Shadow Island in the Bermuda Triangle. Rather than teaching the students to behave as monsters, the faculty tries to make them suppress their monstrous tendencies, which is quite a challenge considering that the student body includes vampires, Sasquatches, Frankensteins, were-creatures, zombies, and a giant enchanted slug, among others. Stealing many scenes in particular, a tiny Chupakabra, or goatsucker, named Pearl flits about, a passionate and fierce Tinkerbell with attitude and a stinger. Clever and humorous, this first book in a proposed series has the potential to become quite popular and is perfectly suited for screen adaptation. The book pokes fun at current popular culture, with a snobby female vampire clique and a Men in Black—style gag identifying various historical figures and celebrities as monsters in disguise among humans. Yet this novel also makes powerful statements about loyalty, friendship, individuality, and the murky lines between good and evil. While the climactic battle rages on too long and falls a little flat, and the author conveniently uses a character's healing power as a reset button, most readers will be happy to see further adventures of Falcon Quinn and friends. Reviewer: Amy Sisson
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Harry Potter's descendents are beginning to look inbred. E.g. Falcon Quinn: curly blond locks, one black eye, one blue—the former of which acts oddly when there is trouble on the way. Then there are Falcon's sidekicks: Max the friendly klutz, and Megan the Hermione stand-in. Boylan's unashamed parody takes place in the architectural horror that is the Academy for Monsters. Curiously, just when the parody becomes overwhelming, the story mysteriously takes on a life of its own. This is helped by the introduction of characters such as Pearl, la Chupacabra! The famous goatsucker of Peru!—a four-foot hummingbird, sort of. Plenty of attitude, though. Sides are taken and the battle for monsterhood begins. Yep, it becomes a page-turner until Falcon's transformation, where Boylan should have stopped. Unfortunately, she seems to feel that in order to set up book two, it is necessary to reverse the violence—turning the entire story bland. A pity. It could have been a contender. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—At first glance, this book set at The Academy for Monsters appears to be a perfect selection for readers suffering from Hogwarts withdrawal. After all, it is about misfits who learn they are monsters and travel to a boarding school where they can be with others of their kind. Only, in this story, the Academy's a place where monsters must learn to quell their fiendish natures so they can exist in normal society without being chased by angry mobs with torches and pitchforks. And whereas Rowling's bespectacled hero found a place where he belonged, Falcon Quinn feels just as out of place at the Academy as he did in the real world. No one can pinpoint his monster-identity, and many feel that he's an imposter. A few loyal friends surround Falcon, and, ultimately, his relationships with them help him discover his true identity. This story gets a little busy in the end, and the monsters are mostly caricatures rather than well-developed individuals. But despite these flaws, this is an entertaining read. With vampires, ghouls, Sasquatches, Frankenstein, a spunky goatsucker, and one unhappy enchanted slug, this story offers a humorous look at the hidden lives of monsters. Reluctant readers may be discouraged by the length of the book, but if they can get past that hurdle, there's enough page-turning action to keep them hooked. And there's a twist that will leave kids anxiously awaiting the next installment in this series.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Falcon Quinn, a poor 13-year-old with different-colored eyes, has no friends beyond adorable-and-tragic Megan and the six-foot-tall seventh grader Max. With a background like that, Falcon ought to know that he's about to get pulled into the magical world where he'll meet his destiny. When the teens board bus 13 on the first day of spring, it takes them not to Cold River Middle School but to the Academy for Monsters. They're monsters, apparently, and now that they're hitting puberty they have to gain control of their monster powers. In a castle in the Bermuda Triangle, Falcon and friends fight mean fellow students as well as teachers such as the Terrible Kraken and the creepy mothman. Falcon, of course, needs to discover the terrible secret of his birth. Despite too many corny jokes and a disjointed plot laden with continuity inconsistencies, the set dressing of this stock piece is packed with enough monstrous silliness-Frankenstein haiku, a loudmouth flying chupacabra, Destynee the giant slug-to keep readers giggling. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Falcon Quinn Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 5.14(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer Finney Boylan is the author of more than a dozen books, including a bestselling memoir, a collection of short stories entitled Remind Me to Murder You Later, and three novels for adults. Her novel Getting In won the Alex Award from the American Library Association in 1998 for an adult novel with special appeal to young adult readers. Since 1988 she has been a professor of English at Colby College.

Jenny Boylan lives at the end of a dirt road in Maine with a Sasquatch, a wind elemental, two weredogs, and a leprechaun.

Brandon Dorman lives in Puyallup, Washington, and is the creator of Pirates of the Sea! and Santa's Stowaway, and the illustrator of Jack Prelutsky's Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face, as well as Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray.

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Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Totally addicted!!!!!!!!!!! ;) . This is a awesom book to read. You won't even be able to put this book down!!!! That is how Good and Awesome It Is!!!!!!!!! ;)
Melissa Fierke More than 1 year ago
Amazing book, the characters are seriously awesome. Kind of annoying ending though. Glad theres another one. Again its really good you're a monkey not to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and must say that I do reccomend it. It does possess good messages for children (it is important to be who you are, not to simply go with the crowd to try to fit in). I did like this book and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Falcon Quinn is an exciting book with twists and turns in order to discover who he really is. Recommended to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It keeps me wanting more. Read thi book and enjoy the funny humor set through out this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You who are ripping on this book need to shut up. I have read this and it is a great book. The second book is brilliant as well. I even got emotionally attached to the characters. So get the book and read it!!!!! I assure that this is a great book :D
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BookWombat More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because 1) it was set in a boarding school, and 2) it involved magical creatures. In short, I thought it would be something along the lines of the Harry Potter series. I was bitterly disappointed. Not only was it a poor imitation, it was disjointed and not well-written. There were times when the scenes were unnecessarily violent and horrific. The author should definitely take a leaf out of J.K. Rowling's books and learn there is a better way to convey a dark storyline. I will definitely not be picking up any follow-up to this book.
David Digby More than 1 year ago
Good but just like harry potteer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected so much more from the author. The book is disjointed and not funny and way way too preachy. It felt like one of those old afterschool specials, except more embarassing. I hope the second one is better because this one is painful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A mix of everything not to do. The end is so disappointing, blatantly stupid, and preachy that it ruins all that comes before—which is bad enough. Many failed attempts at trying to be funny, unnecessary descriptions/scenes, etc. A bad book overall and I do not recommend it.