Cici Armand has a huge secret, one which threatens her relationship with her mother. It is only through Cici bringing people together in her community that she will be able to solve family secrets and heal her relationship with her mother.
Cici’s Journal: Lost and Found opens as Cici bridges the gap between childhood and adolescence. Cici is a shy twelve-year-old girl who is more comfortable writing than speaking. It is nearing Christmas and she still holds on to her childhood belief in Santa Claus. She has a strained relationship with her mother and occasionally lies to avoid discipline. Cici uncovers her first mystery through her local friend Sandra. Sandra is her mother’s age and lives in Cici’s hometown. Sandra introduces her to the art of book binding that was passed down by Sandra’s father. Cici lands herself in a multi-part mystery that helps Sandra discover her father’s dying wish. When Sandra’s mystery is solved, Cici once again finds herself engaged in another puzzle. This time, she travels with her mother to a mysterious mansion that has more secrets than meets the eye. These secrets lead to shocking discoveries about Cici’s mother and reveals the reason behind their strained relationship.
Lost and Found, by author Joris Chamblain, is the sequel to 2017’s Cici’s Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training and is a coming of age story that reveals a mother and daughter’s crumbling relationship. The story is split into three separate chapters. Each chapter chips away at the family mysteries, revealing more character development and backstory. Chamblain uses realistic dialogue. Cici often argues with her mother, reflecting a realistic portrayal between a pre-teen and their parent. Cici faces numerous obstacles but is able to solve them with the help of her close friends Erica and Lena. Erica and Lena are well drawn and believable. Erica is an athlete with quick wit and Lena is an academic who can speak two languages. Chamblain’s writing is sincere and reflects emerging adolescence. Cici’s often says how she feels anxious, sometimes for unclear reasons.
The targeted audience will identify with this emotion and connect with Cici. What child hasn’t felt anxious when dealing with new situations? Illustrator Aurélie Neyret incorporates beautiful orange and red tones that add emotion to this coming of age tale. There are a combination of split panels and scrapbook entries. This is not confusing as the journal entries reveal information that drives the story. Cici also add her own commentary to the letters and scrapbook entries. Incorporated in the margins are cute illustrations that reflect Cici’s childish nature. She draws Christmas trees and cartoon versions of characters in the story. The story even incorporates recipes that will leave readers hungry to try at home. There are characters of different skin tones. This book is recommended for any library where mystery fiction and graphic novels are popular. Middle grade readers will relish in the mysteries and relatable issues such as loss and emerging young adulthood.
Cici’s Journal: Lost and Found
By Joris Chamblain
Art by Aurélie Neyret
First Second, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
Series ISBNs and Order
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)