Saturday, January 7, 2023

Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa: A Middle Grade Review by Guest Blogger, Lily Matarazzo and a Giveaway

 


REVIEW


In Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa, by J.T. Allen, Daisy’s newest misadventure begins with an invitation from Felix, her aunt’s friend and a former spy, to visit his chateau in the Loire. During her stay, our heroine explores the historic town of Chinon in the daytime, dives into a Proust novel at night, encounters a ghost and two ginormous pigs, and helps Felix organize his massive art collection. Upon her departure after two weeks, Daisy receives a copy of the Mona Lisa from Felix, as thanks for helping him. But this Mona isn’t just any copy, it’s one of two flawless forgeries created to confuse the Nazis during their search for the real one in World War II. 

Daisy returns with the painting to her aunt’s apartment in Paris, to find that her friend Lucia Sarir, now a teen model, is in France to audition for the spring runway shows. Lucia is eager to “meet” Daisy’s Mona, and thinks it might be the real thing. When Felix suddenly dies, his family is after her, convinced she stole the painting that turns out to be worth a fortune, real or not. Daisy, followed by her loyal sidekicks, makes her way around her chaotic world full of scheming adults in a search for the truth.

J.T. Allen presents an engaging mystery about a fearless young woman with a lively personality that any girl would love to call her friend. The author has done a wonderful job of telling this story from a first-person point of view. Daisy’s narration and her conversations with others are spot-on to convey how a girl her age actually speaks and thinks. She tells her story as if she’s speaking to a friend, making her a more relatable character, and her adventures seem more real and entertaining. 

I did my best to appear skeptical. I know I’m twelve and supposed to be all jaded and everything, but this sounded like a fairy princess castle set in a magic forest with every other fairy tale thing going for it. And Chinon – the town where Joan of Arc actually met King Charles the Whatever and told him, “..give me an army.” And the king looked at this golden-haired teenager and said,” Awesome, go for it.” When does that ever happen anymore?” (Page 8) 

Learning about and exploring new places in a foreign country alongside Daisy with her vivid, humorous descriptions, is just one of the things I enjoyed about this book.  There is a helpful glossary of French words and phrases in the back of the book, because the French language is sprinkled throughout the story, reminding readers of the setting. The interactions of the characters were often entertaining and they helped to move the story forward. Daisy is older than she was in her last book, and I noticed that her maturity is reflected in her own interactions with others and the words she uses, being clever and even sarcastic, without ever being rude. 

Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa might officially be middle-grade fiction, but I feel that the story would also be enjoyed by older children and adults, too. 

I am 15 years old and in tenth grade. I have six younger siblings, and when I'm not playing with them or homeschooling, I enjoy reading, drawing, practicing piano, and talking about stories with my friends.

GIVEAWAY


Lily graciously agreed to pass along her copy of the book. To win it, please leave a comment with your email address (if you are new to my blog) by January 11.  If you share this on social media, I'll enter your name twice--just let me know where you shared it. 

Congratulations to Theresa Milstein who will be able to share TAKE BACK THE BLOCK with her Massachusetts students.

Look for more great Middle-Grade Books on Greg Pattridge's excellent blog, ALWAYS IN THE MIDDLE.





32 comments:

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Great review, Lily! You've convinced me that this is a book that I'd enjoy reading also. Thanks for being willing to share a copy! Carol, I just shared this post on my Twitter account.
Connie

Carol said...

After this glowing review, I simply must read the book. Having lived in France, I know these places. What fun to 'visit' through a young character's eyes! This is not a book I would likely have discovered on my own, so thank you for featuring it here, Carol. And thank you, Lily for your insightful review!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Carol. I know Lily will appreciate your comment.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for sharing on Twitter, Connie. You're in twice.

Terri DeGezelle Michels said...

thank you for sharing.

Clemson Tiger said...

Tres bien, tres bien!! Good summary, good review, and sounds like a good book!

Carol Baldwin said...

And thanks for commenting, Terri. You're in the giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Clemson Tiger, I'd love to enter you in this giveaway but I need your name and email address!

Cathy Stefanec Ogren said...

Wonderful post! Great review!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Cathy. I hope we hear from Lily again!

Marci said...

This book sounds great! What a fun way to incorporate French words and history--with mystery and intrigue! Great review, Lily.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Marci. Your name goes into the hat too!

Glee Dunbar said...

Great review Lily! I'm so glad you make time for reading, even with all of those siblings to keep you busy! This sounds like a great book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for commenting, Glee. Lily is an inspiration to us all!

Natalie Aguirre said...

You're a great reviewer, Lily. You had me hooked in your first paragraph. I'm sadly passing on the giveaway because I'm buried in books and not getting through the stack quickly enough right now.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for commenting, Natalie. I think Lily is a natural!

Danielle H. said...

I enjoy mysteries and prefer first person POV in the books I choose to read--I enjoy the immediate connection this gives me. I appreciate that this reviewer mentioned the voice is authentic for middle grade too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, Patricia and Danielle, for taking the time to leave comments. I'll enter both of your names in the giveaway.

Valinora Troy said...

Thanks for a wonderful review, Lily. This sounds a great book, one to watch out for, and I love the piece you quote!

Carol Baldwin said...

I bet you would enjoy it, Valinora!

Hadassah Murdock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Baldwin said...

Anonymous-please identify yourself so I an add you to the giveaway list (or so Lily knows who you are!)

Hadassah Murdock said...

Lily, you did such a great job on this! So proud of your work here. You make the stories you read come alive to me with the way you tell us your opinions on them!

Greg Pattridge said...

Excellent review, Lily! You shared just enough to entice your readers to give this one a go. Loved the setting. I'll have to pass on the giveaway seeing that there is a two-foot high pile of books waiting to be read and reviewed on my desk. Keep up the great work and I hope to read more of your reviews on future MMGM's.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Greg. I expect you'll see more reviews from this talented teen!

J. T. Allen said...

Lily, I have to agree with everyone above, it was a thoughtful and well written review. Very professional. I'm also very happy (and relieved) that you enjoyed Daisy and her antics and adventures. I thought you picked out a great quote, too. In short order, it gets the reader to the heart of Daisy's point of view on both history and the present. Well done. I'll be sure to let you know when I get the next book done. —J. T. Allen

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, J.T. I bet Lily will be glad to review the next book!

Lily Matarazzo said...

Thanks everyone for the great feedback on the review. I enjoyed writing it! I would love to know when the next book comes out so I can keep up with Daisy's exciting stories. Thank you especially to Mr. Allen and Mrs. Baldwin.

Rosi said...

What a wonderful review! Thanks, Lily. You have convinced me I need to find a copy of this book. I love a good mystery and this sounds like a great one.

Carol Baldwin said...

I expect my readers will get to see your reviews again, Lily! It's a pleasure hosting you.

J. T. Allen said...

Lily, J. T. Allen here. I wish I knew when the next book would come out too. I think, and hope, it will be spring of next year, but I have't written it yet so I can't be sure. However, by happenstance I got a package with the two earlier Daisy books in the mail, that I sent to a reviewer in Paris two months ago! I thought the books had been lost, but they made their way all the way back from Paris to me. So I thought, why not send them to you? Hopefully I'll have better luck getting them to you, and hopefully you'll enjoy them when they arrive. All best. And thanks again for the thoughtful review.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'm sure Lily will love the books! And you better get busy on #4!

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