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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A mysterious treasure hunt helps to heal a broken family in critically acclaimed author Kristin Levine’s first contemporary tale—perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Jennifer L. Holm Claudia Dalton’s father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left twelve-year-old Claudia questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family. But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message. It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasur…

The Jigsaw Jungle

by Kristen Levine

Overall Book Review:

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

Content Analysis:

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:

None

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
2
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
1
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
3
10

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About the Reviewer

I remember as a young girl sneaking out of my bedroom to read by the hall light my parents left on, just so I could finish an exciting book. I’ve always loved books and reading is somewhat of a passion for me–something I’m passing on to my kids. I have four children and I have a hard time making them turn out the light when they say, “But I just got to the good part”.