The Top-Secret Journal of Fiona Claire Jardin

( 3 )

Overview

In this humorous, heartbreaking—and hopeful—novel, a young girl struggles to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. Funny, poignant, and above all, honest, Fiona’s journal entries reveal a roller coaster of emotions as she tries to cope in a world that’s been turned upside down. This story is sure to strike a chord with anyone—young or old—who has experienced the comfort and turmoil of family life.

At the suggestion of her ...

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Overview

In this humorous, heartbreaking—and hopeful—novel, a young girl struggles to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. Funny, poignant, and above all, honest, Fiona’s journal entries reveal a roller coaster of emotions as she tries to cope in a world that’s been turned upside down. This story is sure to strike a chord with anyone—young or old—who has experienced the comfort and turmoil of family life.

At the suggestion of her therapist, ten-year-old Fiona begins to keep a journal in which she records her fears, feelings, and gradual adjustment in the year after her parents get a divorce.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Lively, funny, and poignant....Will provide hope to any child in the same situation.—Booklist
"The book will evoke laughter and tears as it helps readers work through the pain of divorce."—L.A. Parent
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cruise's first novel, written in journal form, gives a painfully realistic account of life after divorce. Ten-year-old Fiona does not understand why her parents started fighting or how they drifted apart. She only knows that their divorce (which she spells with a capital D) has brought a series of unwelcome changes. Now Fiona gets stomachaches and keeps losing stuff (even her dog has disappeared) as she and her six-year-old brother shuttle back and forth between her mother and father. Worst of all, Fiona has forgotten how to laugh. Visits to a therapist, a "darn snoop," are a waste of time in Fiona's opinion, as is keeping a diary (Fiona has promised her mother she will write for 20 minutes three times a week and thus avoid additional trips to the therapist). While the heroine's voice is undeniably honest, her pervasively bitter tone overshadows subtle, yet nonetheless essential, signs that her life is getting better. Her journal is more of a sounding board for complaints than a vehicle for sorting out problems, and because readers get no other point of view, it may be hard for some to follow Fiona's meandering path. At the end of the novel, it is evident that Fiona has developed a healthier, more optimistic attitude, but only the most perceptive readers will be able to track the stages of her improvement. Ages 9-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6The therapeutic value of journal writing is highly touted these days and now libraries can add Fiona Claire Jardin's diary to the list. Fiona's parents are divorced, and she is forced to write down her thoughts and feelings several times a week as part of a deal with her therapist and her mother. As the year passes, readers see the 10 year old change and grow through her entries. She finds new friends, makes the transition to middle school, adjusts to shifting back and forth between her parents, and finally is able to cry about the divorce. In the end, Fiona realizes that she still has a family, even if things aren't the same. Fiona is a likable character, and the journal is true to her point of view. The message is a bit didactic; in the beginning the adults are convinced that writing a journal will help Fiona, and sure enough, it does. Fiona opens up to her teacher, who asks permission to send a copy to a friend whose daughter is going through a similar situation. Again the plan works and the two girls become pen pals. Journaling can definitely help some children (and adults), but the conclusion here is a just a little too pat.Robin L. Gibson, Muskingum County Library System, Zanesville, OH
Family Life
This book should be required reading for any child who is coping with divorce.
L.A. Parent
The book will evoke laughter and tears as it helps readers work through the pain of divorce.
Kirkus Reviews
Through the journal entries of a 10-year-old, Cruise explores the healing power of writing and expression. Fiona Claire Jardin shares her anger and sorrow, which she is unable to express off the page, in her chronicle of the year after her parents' divorce. The entries are short, light, and breezy, while the book becomes a tool that will encourage readers to write in journals of their own: Fiona's entries about a favorite photo, a room in her house, her best friend, or even her toes, make it clear that almost anything can be an object of scrutiny. While Fiona's parents may seem romanticized—too attentive and supportive—some good characters emerge, notably Fiona's therapist, John Robert, and her energetic teacher, Jasmine Dupr‚. Cruise doesn't offer any new insights on the well-trodden subject, but she does present a young girl's coping with divorce in a way that will be meaningful to middle graders. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152023942
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST HARCOU
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 7.51 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Cruise attended Middlebury College in Vermont and is now the deputy publisher of Harcourt Children's Books. She lives with her family in San Diego, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    Awesome Book!

    I started reading 'Top-Secret Jorrnal of Fiona Claire Jardin' for school for a book report. It ended up being one of the best books I have ever read. Two of my friends parents are currently going through divorce. Therefore I already know how badly divorce can hurt someone. I loved the book and all of Fiona's adventues, as well reading the book. It's a great book and I encourage everyone to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    It may have started out top secret... but it's not anymore!

    Wow! The top secret... (too long of a title) is a great book for children who's parents are going through or have already been through a divorce. Robin Cruise (Author) really grasps the feelings of a child going through agony in this story. The characters may be fictional, but the journal is realistic and makings kids comforted to know they are not the only ones going through pain. I reccommend this book for kids with divorced parents, and even ones who's aren't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2000

    a reviewer

    Fiona has such an intensse story, that it grabbed me right in. She is seeing a [very annoying] theripast named John Richards. She has friends named Blanca and Katie and Natalie. Seems like a perfect life, right? Wrong. Fio's parents are divorced. Find out about all the twists and turns in Fiona's life, like Ms. Dupre, Chloe, and the theif! I really reccomend this book. :)

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