Claudia has always loved doing jigsaw puzzles, especially with her dad, but now that her dad has suddenly disappeared, the puzzle he’s put together for her seems all the more important. The Jigsaw Jungle by author Kristen Levine is a story told through things like emails, receipts, text transcripts, and other documents. With her dad going AWOL, Claudia is determined to figure out the reason behind him disappearing and connect all the dots. To help her along with the clues, Claudia’s dad puts puzzle pieces that ‘fit’ somehow and are building up a big something. All the clues are put in place in order to help Claudia figure out why her dad left her and her mom.
The concept of telling a story in almost a scrap book form is an interesting concept, but in this case, it made it a little disjointed and hard to follow. The best parts of the novel were the development of Claudia’s relationship with her BFF Kate, her grieving grandfather, and her new friend, Luis. The disappointing thing about the novel is how Claudia’s dad handled things. He just disappears and leaves clues for his daughter and wife to figure out the reason he had to leave–which is ultimately a big reveal. The anger from the two of them is relatable, but in the end it’s all wrapped up nice and neat without really dealing with the anger or the fact that her father thought it was okay to just disappear and let them follow the clues to figure it out. It seems like such a irresponsible way to break such an important and big change in lifestyle. The Jigsaw Jungle as a novel is an interesting concept, but it seems to come up short of being a great puzzle/mystery.
Review of an Advance Uncorrected Galley
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Putnam
Profanity/Language: 1 mild obscenity.
Violence/Gore: Mention of newspaper headline stating “Dozens killed in terror attacks”; character watches a home movie where someone gets pushed and breaks arm.
Sex/Nudity: Character mentions seeing friend’s parents hold hands and grab each other’s butts; person described as being gay; retelling (letter form) of a boy trying to kiss another boy; boy kisses girl.
Mature Subject Matter:
Divorce, homosexuality and coming out gay, death.
Alcohol / Drug Use: