Review | Daisy in Exile, J.T. Allen

34835249Twelve year old Daisy Tanenbaum is sent to live in Paris with her cool code breaker aunt, and gets embroiled in a spy caper involving the Queen’s Diamonds. Daisy in Exile is very much targeted to the middle-grade crowd, and includes an entertaining series of hijinks as Daisy and her Parisian friends — a cat burglar from the wrong side of the tracks named Sief and a beautiful, stylish teen named Nina — race around the city and through the sewers to escape Russian spies.

The first book in the series was written as a pitch for a Disney Channel show, and I can definitely imagine Daisy on the small screen. The danger is lighthearted, the adults are almost unbelievably naive, and the mystery of the secret code and the diamonds are almost secondary to the romp around Paris. It reminds me somewhat of the Mary Kate and Ashley books I read when I was younger, or the Lizzie McGuire movie, and will likely appeal to middle grade readers.

There are middle grade books that also appeal to adult readers, but this one didn’t quite make the cut for me. The story is fun and whimsical, the plot hits all the notes of teen action adventures, and it was a solid read overall, but it never quite hooked me. The writing is strong enough, but the plot twists felt predictable, and despite Daisy’s mad dash around and underneath Paris, it never quite felt urgent. Possibly, younger readers will enjoy it more. I do really like the Paris descriptions, and the beginning in particular really made me want to visit Paris.

One note of warning is that this book has much smaller font than what I would expect for a story for younger readers. I don’t need to read large print books, but I found it a physical strain at times to read this one, though I admit that may have to do with my expectations around fonts for this kind of story. If I were to try another Daisy Tanenbaum book, I may consider the ebook version instead.

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Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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