by J. T. Allen
Miss Daisy Tannenbaum, almost thirteen, and homeschooling in Paris with her Aunt Millicent, takes a break from the City of Light and her dreaded math homework, and heads to a rambling chateau in the Loire Valley to help her Aunt Mill’s friend, former-spy Felix, catalog his art collection. But when Daisy receives a copy of the Mona Lisa as a thank you, strange things start to happen. This Mona is not just any copy, it’s one of two perfect forgeries created to fool the Nazis during their hunt for the real Mona Lisa during WWII.
Daisy’s best friend from the states, Lucia, a newly minted teen model, and in Paris to audition for the spring runway shows, thinks Daisy’s Mona is the real one. Real or not, it’s worth a fortune, and when Felix suddenly dies, his family accuses Daisy of stealing it. Our plucky heroine must navigate a world of crazy, scheming, often criminal adults, not to mention traveling ghosts, ginormous pigs, testy lawyers, former spies, and obnoxious fashionistas, as she finds herself in a harrowing chase in and around Paris while trying to outwit them all to keep her beloved Mona.
What I Liked:
-Daisy has a vibrant, strong character voice that was fun to read.
-Allen did a great job grounding the story in Paris.
What I Struggled With:
– SLIGHT SPOILER: The climax, when Daisy gets the Mona Lisa back, stretched my suspension of disbelief just a little too much. It seemed a little too easy and unrealistic. It didn’t ruin the novel, but it did let me down a little.
-I would love to listen to this book as an audiobook. Allen sprinkled French all throughout the novel, really helping give it a Parisian setting–not so much that you can’t understand it, though. And while I know a little French, I would love to listen to a narrator who speaks French read Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa. It would perfect the French flair of the novel.
-I do feel like the blurb is the tinniest bit misleading. While Daisy does end up doing some outwitting and finds herself in a chase after Mona, those elements aren’t super strong until pretty far into the novel. However, it didn’t bother me that the plot was a little different than I thought it was going to be.
I read Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa without having read the other books in the series. And while I could tell there was some information I didn’t know, the author did a great job of making the book be able to stand on its own while being in a series. I’m actually a little curious about the other two books now.
Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa is a fun middle-grade novel.
Cautions: three blasphemies; two instances of coarse language; brief mentions of smoking and drinking *
*I didn’t keep track of cautions while reading Daisy and the Missing Mona Lisa, so I probably missed some.