Midnight Diary of Zoya Blume

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Overview

Only love and truth can save Zoya Blume

When her mother leaves home, promising to return in seven days, Zoya Blume begins a midnight diary. There, she can confide her deepest secrets and solve her own mysteries: Who is crying in the basement at night? Is there really a witch behind the shower curtain? Will Leon, the magician, make her disappear? Who is Sonambula? And&#8212most importantly&#8212who is Zoya?

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Overview

Only love and truth can save Zoya Blume

When her mother leaves home, promising to return in seven days, Zoya Blume begins a midnight diary. There, she can confide her deepest secrets and solve her own mysteries: Who is crying in the basement at night? Is there really a witch behind the shower curtain? Will Leon, the magician, make her disappear? Who is Sonambula? And&#8212most importantly&#8212who is Zoya?

At the risk of losing everything and everyone she loves, Zoya at last takes her midnight journey alone to confront her past and conquer her fears.

While her adoptive American mother is away, twelve-year-old Zoya confides in her diary her revived fears about the Buka, an old woman who waits in the shadows to snatch children, and confronts some truths about her early childhood in her native Russia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes, I view my life like an outtake from The Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy, I crash-landed here, and the world went from black and white to color," writes 12-year-old Zoya in the diary her mother, Mimi, gives her before leaving for an unexplained 10-day absence. Adopted from Russia at age four, Zoya is encouraged to use the diary to recall her first memory-her "point of view," as Mimi calls it. But what Zoya dredges up is her abandonment on the orphanage steps-a scene so horrific that it's led to a childhood pocked by night terrors and sleepwalking. It's also initially unhelpful that Zoya's been left in the care of Leon, Mimi's old boyfriend, a magician Zoya knows only vaguely. But Leon relieves the somber mood by recruiting Zoya to be his assistant, Sonambula, a role her mother originated. In her first novel for young people, Cunningham (Dreams of Rescue, for adults) weaves into Zoya's narrative some evocative phrases-she describes "a taxi, yellow in the night" and a neighbor is "plump with a behind like a great continental shelf"-but the lyrical writing undermines the 'tween diary conceit. In the rushed ending, Mimi returns and vague details tumble out (she was hospitalized for exploratory surgery related to cancer). Zoya is satisfied with this explanation, but readers may wonder why a mother would say so little with so much at stake. Ages 8-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-At age 4, Zoya Blume was adopted from a Russian orphanage by her quirky single mother, Mimi. Now 12, she has suppressed memories that haunt her in the form of the Buka, a menacing figure who lurks in dark corners waiting for its chance to capture her. Mimi is the only person who can thwart the creature and dispel the darkness, so, when she is hospitalized, Zoya's world is turned upside down. She begins a journey of self-discovery aided by Leon, a magician friend of Mimi's who has come to look after her, and the contents of the plaid suitcase that she brought with her from Russia. This is a quiet coming-of-age novel about a girl facing her fears about death and the possibility of losing the most important person in her life. The characters are unique and strongly developed, and Zoya's first-person narrative, written as a diary, is honest and sometimes lyrical. Give this book to readers who enjoyed Kevin Henkes's Olive's Ocean (Greenwillow, 2003).-Michele Capozzella, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This wrenching and otherworldly piece about a desperate week in the life of a 12-year-old reads more like adult memoir than children's fiction. Zoya's mother leaves suddenly in the middle of the night, promising to be back in several days. Zoya can barely breathe without her and refuses to sleep, drifting between solid wakefulness, dreams and sleepwalking. A kind man named Leon comes to stay, but Zoya warms to him only slowly. Her mother adopted her from a Russian orphanage when she was four, and Zoya clings to her. Zoya's appropriately emotionally young for 12, but narrative shifts between memory, dream and action feel literarily adult. Zoya's mother finally comes home, but she has cancer with an unknown prognosis. Don't mistake kittens born in the bathtub and Leon's glittery magic act for signs of lightheartedness; scars, fear and sadness abound. Tenderly hopeful at the end, but still quite serious. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060722616
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 163
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Shaine Cunningham is the author of the acclaimed memoirs A Place in the Country and Sleeping Arrangements, and the novels Dreams of Rescue and Beautiful Bodies. She is also a playwright and journalist. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Ms. Cunningham was born and raised in New York, where she now lives with her two daughters. This is her first novel for young readers.

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