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Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris Hardcover – September 4, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Mira's Diary Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-9-This first book in an exciting series by a trusted "diary" author is history plus mystery, along with a little romance tossed in. When Mira gets a mysterious postcard from her missing mother, she's angry. Where has she been? Why did she leave? Her ecstatic father, on the other hand, flies her and her brother to Paris in hopes of finding his wife. At Notre Dame, Mira discovers that she has the power to travel through time, startlingly finding herself in 1880s Paris. Unfortunately, she can't seem to control her power. Fumbling through the past, Mira runs into her mother, also a time traveler, who is on a secret mission and is in trouble. Can Mira help her mom, kiss a boy, and still get home to the right century? With an engaging story, accessible history, and a spunky heroine, Mira's Diary is an absorbing, fast-paced adventure. Fun and evocative thumbnail sketches add enormously to the book's appeal. Recommend this one to fans of R. L. LaFevers's "Theodosia" series (Houghton Harcourt).-Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The ballerinas, French poodle, and Eiffel Tower on the pink cover of Moss’ new outing seem to promise a different book than what’s in hand. Who would guess from appearances that the focus of this series starter about a time-traveling teen would be France’s nineteenth-century Dreyfus affair? Yet Mira’s assignment—a historical moment she needs to fix—is indeed the infamous spy case, which centered around falsified evidence and anti-Semitism—not your usual middle-grade fiction fare. Mira must learn to manage her newfound talent, inherited from her missing mother, and skirt the machinations of other time travelers who don’t seem to want justice for the wrongly accused Jewish military man. The famous Parisian tower and a bevy of impressionists, including Degas, end up playing a role in the intrigue, and Mira’s sketches of her adventure add a charm recalling Moss’ seminal Amelia books. Whether or not the heroine catches up to her mom somewhere in time is left, with other loose ends, for the next installment. Grades 4-7. --Karen Cruze

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Mira's Diary
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402266065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402266065
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on September 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Mira's Diary, Moss creates a time travel story melding the exciting artistic world of 19th century Paris with the shocking political intrigue and anti-Semitism of the infamous Dreyfus affair. Although the Dreyfus affair is well known to those interested in French history, it's certainly not a topic most young people in the U.S. will be at all familiar with, and I applaud Moss for choosing to set her story around this important tale of corruption and scapegoats.

Our story begins when young Mira receives a strange postcard of a gargoyle from Notre Dame in Paris from her mother, who has been missing without any explanation for many months. Not only is the black and white postcard very old-fashioned looking, so is the faded French stamp. And "who sends postcards anymore?," wonders Mira.

With the postcard their only clue, Mira, her father, and her 16-year old brother take off to Paris, hoping to find her mother. They check into a quaint hotel in the Marais, Paris' historic Jewish quarter, before going off to explore the famous cathedral. Mira can't help looking everywhere for her mother, but it's not until she touches a gargoyle on the top gallery of the cathedral that she realizes she's been looking in the wrong century! Magically transported to April, 1881, Mira not only befriends a good-looking young man who turns out to be an assistant to the famous French artist Degas, she also finds herself embroiled in the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that involved the French army and virulent anti-Semitism in the French military and society at large. Mira spots her mother several times, and receives several mysterious and secret notes from her.
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Format: 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.

The Story-
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.

My thoughts-
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris is the delightful middle-grade story about a young teenage girl who discovers that she has inherited her mother's time-traveling abilities when her family goes to Paris in search of her missing mother. Alone in a foreign time and place, Mira must figure out why she's being taken back to the past at the same time that she unravels her mother's purpose, and her own purpose, for being in the past.

This book is obviously meant for younger readers. While Mira meets many equally delightful characters, the story doesn't go into much detail into their lives, personalities, and interests. This didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel as long as I read it as a middle-grade book, but I really wanted to know more about them and see more of Mira's adventures in late-nineteenth century Paris and the reactions of her friends after her long periods of absence (the result of forced time travel by touchstones, objects that take her to different time periods).

Yeah, time travel obviously sucks when you don't know what you're doing and especially when you can't control when and where you go. Mira can't even confide into her friends because that would be breaking one of the sacred rules of time travel, so her explanations for being gone sound pretty fake even to herself.

It seemed that I had just started this book when it ended. Sadly to say, I'm going to have to wait to see how Mira makes up to her good friend and first (I think?) love Claude and just what is so important that her mother is doing in the past. Mira's story is a fun, sweet read that I would recommend to young girls.
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