The Jigsaw Jungle (Paperback)
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 treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family. Told through the pages of Claudia’s scrapbook, The Jigsaw Jungle is a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart, from award-winning author and middle-grade master Kristin Levine.
About the Author
Kristin Levine received her BA in German from Swarthmore College and an MFA in film from American University. She spent a year in Vienna, Austria, working as an au pair, and has taught screenwriting at American University. Currently, she lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her two daughters. She is the author of the critically acclaimed The Best Luck I Ever Had, The Lions of Little Rock, and The Paper Cowboy.
Praise for The Jigsaw Jungle:
A 2020–2021 South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee
An Amazon Best Book of the Month Pick for June 2018 (Ages 9–12)
★ “Levine has created a masterwork of mystery that slowly unravels as Claudia learns more about her father's life...The biggest trick is Levine's ability to keep the characters both likable and realistic...Both an excellent read and an excellent puzzle.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Readers are treated to a fast-paced narrative filled with feeling and subtle family tensions. Levine’s clever mixture of modes—including screenplay, transcripts, text threads, emails, receipts, and first-person narration from Claudia—illustrate beautifully the ways multiple perspectives on a subject can provide a nuanced, vibrant picture.” —School Library Journal
“A gripping middle school adventure.” —The Advocate
“The Jigsaw Jungle is a triumph of a book, portraying sensitive family dynamics in a loving, engaging way.”—Bookpage
“Ingeniously plotted middle-grade novel by Kristin Levine...develops tween and adult characters with compassion and depth, as they evolve a better understanding of a family that can be 'both great and broken, all at the same time.'" —The Washington Post
“A fast-paced, emotionally intense treasure hunt told in a scrapbook format.” —Omaha World Herald
"Through the story’s patchwork format, Levine reveals characters’ inner complexities while maintaining tension and uncertainty leading up to the story’s moving revelation. This taut mystery is also a portrait of a family coming to terms with truth and identity." —Publishers Weekly
What a joyful read! While tackling very real topics, such as social expectations of people's bodies, cultural identity, and challenging family dynamics, "Chunky" uses a delightful play-by-play sports casting style throughout the book that truly engages the reader in Yehudi Mercado's journey. Yehudi and his imaginary mascot Chunky take the reader through the meandering explorations of growing up, from the things you choose to explore yourself to the things others force you to explore, but recognizing your truth nonetheless.
(Graphic Novel, Ages 10+) - reviewed by Isabel