Goodreads: Julieta and the Diamond Enigma
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
Published: June 30, 2020
Nine-year-old Julieta is ready to put a new purple pin in her family’s travelling map–she’s off to France with her dad, an art handler at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts so he can bring some items from the Louvre back for an exhibit. When the Regent Diamond goes missing, however, Julieta and her father are prime suspects. Can she crack the case and get home before her baby brother is born?
Julieta and the Diamond Enigma is a fine addition to that very specific sub-genre–middle-grade art heist mysteries. In this story, readers get to learn all about the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Louvre, French history, and Greek mythology while traveling the globe with Julieta, a spunky nine-year-old girl who loves all things art, even if she’s sometimes clumsy. It feels impossible not to fall in love with Julieta’s vibrant personality and high spirits. Readers will find themselves learning plenty of art history all while imagining they are simply off on a grand adventure with a new friend.
Julieta may be the star of this novel–and her charming personality surely makes the book–but it feels impossible to speak about Julieta without mentioning her amazing family, as well. Very often children’s books strive to get the parents out of the way, the better for kids to get into experience danger and excitement. Julieta, however, has two very loving parents–and a baby brother on the way–and their care for each other comes across on every page. Their interactions with each other are truly heart-warming–I wanted to be part of Julieta’s family, too! Best of all, however, the story shows that a character can have two supportive parents without losing the chance for adventure. All Julieta really needs is a bit of curiosity and a talent for getting into trouble!
Julieta’s escapades will have readers laughing, but she always has her heart in the right place. This makes it easy to cheer her along as she takes on the responsibility to find the true thief of the Regent Diamond and clear her father’s name so they can return home in time to meet her new brother. The mystery is just right for the target audience, with clues dropping periodically so readers can feel like they are on track to discovering the culprit. But never so fast that the mystery seems too easy solve. Middle-grade readers will feel a sense of accomplishment when they come to the end, realizing their observational skills, along with Julieta’s saved the day.
I always love a middle-grade mystery featuring art and museums, so I expected to enjoy Julieta and the Diamond Enigma. I did not expect to fall in love with Julieta so much that I long to see this book become the start of a series. What a dream it would be to keep traveling the globe with Julieta as she solves mystery after mystery!