The whimsical "autobiography" of an imaginary friend who doesn't know he's imaginary—perfect for fans of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Toy Story
Jacques Papier has the sneaking suspicion that everyone except his sister Fleur hates him. Teachers ignore him when his hand is raised in class, he is never chosen for sports teams, and his parents often need to be reminded to set a place for him at the dinner table. But he is shocked when he finally learns the truth: He is Fleur's imaginary friend! When he convinces Fleur to set him free, he begins a surprising, touching, and always funny quest to find himself—to figure out who Jacques Papier truly is, and where he belongs.
Readers will fall in love with Jacques's sweet, quirky voice as he gives them a look at life from an incredible new perspective.
About the Author
Michelle Cuevas graduated from Williams College and holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She lives in Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
Yes, world, I am writing my memoir, and I have titled the first chapter simply this:
EVERYONE HATES JACQUES PAPIER
I think it captures the exact drama of my first eight years in the world rather poetically. Soon I’ll move on to chapter two. This is where I’ll confess that the first chapter was, in fact, the truth stretched, much like the accordion body of my wiener dog, François. The stretch would be the word everyone. There are three exceptions to this word. They are:
My twin sister, Fleur.
If you are observant, you’ll notice that I did not include François the wiener dog on this list.
A boy and his dog are, quite possibly, the most classic of all classic duos.
Like peanut butter and jelly.
Like a left and right foot.
Like salt and pepper.
My relationship with François more closely resembles peanut butter on a knuckle sandwich. A left foot in a bear trap. Salt and a fresh paper cut. You get the picture.
In the interest of truth, it is not entirely François’ fault; the cards of life have been stacked rather steeply against him. For starters, I do not believe the person in charge of making dogs was paying attention when they attached François’ stumpy legs to his banana-shaped body. Perhaps we’d all be ill-tempered if our stomachs cleaned the floor whenever we went for a walk.
The day we brought him home as a puppy, François sniffed my sister and grinned. He sniffed me and began barking—a barking that has never ceased in the eight years I’ve been within range of his villainous nose.
It is true that Papier is the French word for paper. However, my family does not make or sell paper. No, my family is in the imagination business.
“Are there really that many people who need puppets?” Fleur asked our father. To be honest, I had often wondered the very same thing about our parents’ puppet shop.
“Dear girl,” our father answered. “I think the real question is, who doesn’t need a puppet?”
“Florists,” Fleur answered. “Musicians. Chefs. Newscasters . . .”
“Oh hello,” Father said. “I’m a florist. They say talking to plants helps them grow, and now the puppet and I are chatting and our flowers are thriving.” He spun around. “Why, look at me, the piano player, with a puppet on each hand, so now I have four arms instead of just two. I’m a chef, but instead of an oven mitt, I have a puppet to pretend with. Oh look, I’m a newscaster who once delivered the news alone, but now have a puppet for witty banter.”
“Fine,” Fleur said. “Lonely people without anyone to talk to need puppets. Luckily Jacques and I have each other, and we are going outside to play.”
I smiled, waved to our father, and followed Fleur out the door. The bell rang as we left the cool gaze of puppets and greeted the sunshine, winking at us through afternoon clouds.
School. Who thought of this cruel place? Perhaps it is the same person who matches together the various pieces of wiener dogs. School is a great example of a place where everyone (and I mean everyone) hates me. Allow me to illustrate with examples from this very week:
On Monday, our class played kickball. The captains chose players for their team one by one. When they got to me, they just went and started the game. I wasn’t picked last; I wasn’t picked at all.
On Tuesday, I was the only person who knew the capital of Idaho. I had my arm in the air, even waving it around like a hand puppet on the high sea. But the teacher just said, “Really? Nobody knows the answer? Nobody?”
On Wednesday, at lunch, a very husky boy nearly sat on me, and I had to scramble from my seat to avoid certain death.
On Thursday, I waited in line for the bus, and before I could get on, the driver shut the door. Right in my face. “Oh, COME ON!” I shouted, but the words disappeared in a cloud of exhaust. Fleur made the driver stop, got off, and walked home beside me.
And so, on Friday morning, I begged my parents to let me stay home from school. They didn’t even say no. They just gave me the silent treatment.
Excerpted from "Confessions of an Imaginary Friend"
Copyright © 2015 Michelle Cuevas.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Synopsis- Somewhere in France, there lived an evil wiener dog named François. In François’ house, there lived a young girl named Fleur Papier, and she had a twin brother named Jacques. This book is about Jacques. Jacques is a good brother. Polite, fun, imaginative, and so much more. That is, until Jacques accidentally overhears his parents talking and learns that… Fleur has an imaginary friend. How could she have one, and if anything, not tell him? That wasn’t a nice thing! Well, two can play at that game. But when Jacques’ imaginary friend is huge, and takes up a lot of room, his parents yell out that an imaginary friend having an imaginary friend was “too much imagination” – and that was saying a lot, as they work in the imagination business. Wait. What? Can it be true? That Jacques is… An imaginary friend? Jacques soon realizes it is true, but he has a hard time adjusting. What if that by finding out he was an imaginary friend ends up driving him away from Fleur? What I Thought- This was an amazing book about learning who you really are. Jacques (who we thinks is based off of Jackie Paper from Puff the Magic Dragon) is a memorable character who tugs at your heart strings. You really feel for him as he realizes that he is really his “sister’s” imaginary friend. The sad thing is, she didn’t even know he was imaginary! At least it explains how no one paid attention to him. Imagine if you were ignored all of your life, and then suddenly find out that you aren’t real. There are some simple illustrations in the book that add a lot to the story. I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for a really meaningful story that makes you think. I think that this book is good for an older audience (at least 12+), as they will get the impact behind it, but the story is all clean, and good for younger kids. *NOTE* I got this book free in exchange for an honest review