Publication: September 2012 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
When Mira receives a cryptic postcard from her missing mother, she set off with her father and brother to find her in Paris. Only Mira doesn’t know she’s looking in the wrong century.
With an innocent touch to a gargoyle sculpture on the roof of Notre Dame, Mira is whisked into the past. There she learns her mother has the ability to time travel and can move between the centuries to revise past wrongs. And Mira has inherited her gift!
But her mother is in trouble, pursued by others bent on stopping her. So Mira must step in. Following her mother’s clues, Mira travels to nineteenth-century Paris where she meets the famous artists Degas, Mary Cassatt, Renoir, and Monet. She enlists their help to free a falsely accused soldier and bring her mother home.
Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss is a smart middle grade novel that contains an interesting method of time travel, good character voice and a great take on history.
Mira’s mother has disappeared without a word, until a postcard arrives in the mail from France. Determined to find her, Mira, her brother and their father set out for Paris – where Mira finds her mother, but a whole lot of trouble as well. Transported back to nineteenth-century Paris, Mira finds herself befriending artists (like Degas), chasing her mother through both Paris streets and Time, and running away from another time travel who seems determined to stop Mira’s mission to put right a past wrong. But Mira’s a very down to Earth, reasonable and responsible girl, time traveling or no, and she won’t let someone stop her. I quite liked Mira’s determination and resourcefulness – she doesn’t panic in the face of something new, but rolls with it and tries to make the best of a crazy situation. I also liked that through the book she has a lot of uncertainty about what she’s doing, but perseveres. Unfortunately, I found most of the secondary characters to be fairly two dimensional, and outside of Degas, little explored. There was a brief almost-romance between Mira and a young helper to Degas, Claude, that I felt was not really necessary, but cute.
There are small sketches scattered throughout the chapters representing Mira’s own sketches and they really add a nice touch to the story and plot. I was a little confused on the subject of the other time travelers and what their actual purposes were,but they lent an air of suspense to the novel. Mira’s mission in the story is to try and right an injustice that was done to a Jewish member of the French army and her attempts and the information she gathers provide a nice lesson on the wrongs of intolerance, prejudice and antisemitism in a way that a younger teen will be able to easily swallow and understand. The author has provided a historical recap of the event that she uses in the story, as well as a bibliography which I found so refreshing – actual research and historical events! The history major in me grinned quite a bit when I saw that.
Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss is a quiet sort of book. While it has some action scenes and a bit of suspense in regards to whether Mira completed her mission, the story focuses on Mira’s journey and history that she is seeing first-hand. And as with all history, there is no real epic conclusion – rather, there is a sense of Mira having complete what she time traveled to do, but the results were not seen right away, and people were still hurt despite her best efforts to save everyone. This book has a great message wrapped up in an entertaining story and I’m hoping to read more Mira adventures!
e-ARC received from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!