9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
So-so middle grade fantasy,
This review is from: Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris (Hardcover)
Mira's Diary-Lost in Paris, is the first in a new middle grade series written by Marissa Moss and published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
Mira's mom disappeared six months ago, and hasn't been heard from since. But, on June 11 a postcard from Paris arrives, signed by her mother. Along with her brother Malcolm and their dad, the family travels to France to look for their missing mom.
They head to where the postcard was taken, Notre Dame cathedral. When Mira touches a gargoyle, she suddenly finds herself back in the past, in 1881, France. And guess what? She sees her mom there too. They are both time travelers. However, Mira's mom won't talk to her and explain what is happening. Every time Mira sees her, her mom runs away.
Mira is on her own, but finds friends with artists like Degas and Mary Cassatt. Soon Mira is deep into a mystery involving a falsely accused soldier who is hated because he is Jewish. Mira hopes that by solving the mystery, she will get to go home and bring her mom with her.
I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to say about this book. First off, though middle grade in style, some of the elements felt older to me, there's even mention of the mom leaving the family because of a love affair. Also, the main arc never concludes. We are left with the same questions we started with.
The main story line is about intolerance to Jewish persons. I found that the subject was a bit too heavy for the lightness of the book. This is the part I have a hard time describing. I just felt there was too much of the subject matter and it overwhelmed the story.
Now, the time traveling premise is great, and holds lots of promise. Unfortunately the mom is never able to tell us much about it. The sub plot involving the great artists of the time is fantastic. It is this subplot which really brought the book to life for me. Mira spends time with Degas, Cassatt, Renoir, Monet, Rodin, and writer Zola. The world she visits is fascinating and is developed well by the author. As the reader, you feel as if you were back in the 19th century.
I did not like the mother character. She is very distant and cold. And I did not have any sympathy towards her. She's a time traveler! Why didn't she come back and see her family, even if just for a minute? And the whole time Mira is in the past, her mom won't speak or touch her for fear of something cosmic going wrong. Blah! Luckily Mira is a great character and I was interested in her choices and paths.
Mira's Diary- Lost in Paris is available now.