SECRET DIARY by Julien Neel


From the "Lou!" series, volume 1
by , illustrated by , translated by
Age Range: 9 - 12
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A beguiling import introduces the irresistibly plucky 12-year-old Lou, a French cousin to Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia McBride.

Lou lives in urban France with her mother, a bespectacled writer who spends her time procrastinating and obsessively playing video games rather than working on her science-fiction space epic. Like many preteens, Lou spends much of her time thinking about clothes, boys and friends and whether she may be too old to play with dolls. Lou utterly adores her neighbor Tristan, and her mother nurtures a similar crush of her own on another neighbor, Richard. What saves Lou from complete tweenage vapidity is a well-timed sense of dry humor with a dash of non-irritating precociousness. Lou’s mother can be tempestuous as an adolescent herself, leaving Lou to act as her anchor, tempering her whims and acting as a voice of reason. This humor is heightened by visits with Memaw, Lou's maternal grandmother, who harbors penchants for both brussels sprouts and conflict. A pleasing palette ranging from vibrant brights to muted earth tones fills neat, orderly panels, creating a cohesive and tidy layout; only at the beginning and end of the volume do readers actually see Lou’s diary, a collage of her thoughts and information about other characters. This publishes simultaneously with volume two, Summertime Blues.

This lighthearted charmer will leave readers enchantées. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7613-8868-5
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2012


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