Katie Reads: My Secret Guide to Paris

I buy a lot of books for my classroom, but it’s rare that I buy books new rather than second hand. This was one of those rare occasions.

My Secret Guide to Paris

From the author of the Charmed Life and It’s Raining Cupcakes series comes a novel of family, friends, and a Paris adventure that readers will never forget!

Nora has always wanted to see Paris, thanks to her Grandma Sylvia’s stories. But when Sylvia suddenly passes away just months before their planned trip, Nora thinks she’s lost everything.

Nora still dreams of Paris–and when she finds her own name on a set of clues to a Parisian scavenger hunt packed away in her grandmother’s room, along with plane tickets, Nora knows that Sylvia still wants her to go, too.

At last, Nora sets off on the adventure–and mystery–of a lifetime. What did Grandma Sylvia want her to find in Paris? Why do all the clues insist that Nora’s mother be with her? And could the key to healing and forgiveness be found at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

For reasons unknown to me but that I love, some of my students like to write me letters. One of my students wrote a letter to me telling me how she hopes to visit Paris someday. She’s mentioned Paris before so when I came across this book at Barnes and Noble the other day I thought it would be a nice to get it so she could visit Paris through reading. Before recommending my student borrow it, I felt I should read it to make sure there was nothing ~weird~ in it. And by weird I mean inappropriate. Or just poorly written, as many young readers books are.

I didn’t need to be worried. Not only is the story perfectly appropriate, it’s very charming. The concept reminded me greatly of The 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I much preferred this one (perhaps a reread of The 13 Little Blue Envelopes is due, it’s been years, maybe my opinion of it will have changed). It’s sweet and simple: a young girl loses her grandma right before a long planned trip to Paris, and ultimately goes with her mother to complete a series of clues her grandma left behind for her. The novel did a nice job capturing many different elements of Paris, especially for the age range it was written for, and also nicely presented a mother-daughter pair dealing with loss.

Definitely aimed at a younger audience, but still a light, flurry read for someone older. I’m excited to lend this to my student to give her a taste of Paris. Possibly literally, the author described so many yummy foods that I have a strong desire to try baking macaroons now.

Stay magical readers!

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