Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training is a middle grade graphic novel by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret. The reader follows a little girl named Cici (obviously) who has designs to be a detective and writer hence the writing of her journal (the book flip flops between narrative style and journal style) which is chock full of her observational notes. She lives alone with her mother who she has a strained relationship with (and they haven't even hit the troubled teen years!). Next door is an older woman who is an acclaimed mystery writer and the motivator of Cici's interests. The plot contains solvable (and believable) mysteries for a child detective/writer and are full of imaginative characters. [A/N: The book is divided into sections with discrete (somewhat overlapping) mysteries.] Chamberlain explores but ultimately doesn't solve the mystery of the relationship between the mother and daughter (series teaser?). There's no explanation given (or mention of) the father's absence or why Cici has such a reticence to sharing or even experiencing her feelings. The more I dwell on it the more complex I realize this story line actually is which I think is great in a middle grade novel.
Picking up this particular graphic novel was a roll of the dice for me but I ended up absolutely loving it. The book seems to be set up as the start of a series which I wouldn't be mad about at all. I haven't seen any buzz over this title online as yet but I highly encourage you to pick this one up especially if you've been wanting to dip your toe into the graphic novel pool. The illustrations are GORGEOUS. 10/10
I'd love to have some prints of this artist's work. [Source: GramUnion]
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