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Midnight Diary of Zoya Blume
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Midnight Diary of Zoya Blume

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by Laura Shaine Cunningham
 

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"Your first memory is your point of view," says Zoya's mother. But what is Zoya's first memory? When her mother must leave home, promising to return in seven days, Zoya Blume begins a midnight diary to keep the dark forces at bay. She writes of secrets and of nightmares — most frightening of all the Buka, a monstrous witch, composed of shadows, who seized her

Overview

"Your first memory is your point of view," says Zoya's mother. But what is Zoya's first memory? When her mother must leave home, promising to return in seven days, Zoya Blume begins a midnight diary to keep the dark forces at bay. She writes of secrets and of nightmares — most frightening of all the Buka, a monstrous witch, composed of shadows, who seized her once long ago and now, in her mother's absence, threatens to reclaim her forever.

Can Zoya conquer her fear by facing her past? Memories come like a chill blast from the country of her birth. Yet Zoya finds a guardian in Leon, her mother's magician friend, an ally in her Gypsy neighbor Flynn, and a beacon of hope in the Stone Girl — a hauntingly beautiful statue in the courtyard.

Only love and truth can save Zoya Blume. On the chance she will lose everything and everyone she loves, Zoya takes the ultimate journey alone one midnight and crosses the border out of childhood and into the adult world, in which joy must coexist with the knowledge that those you love are not immortal. A heartfelt mystery tour that sheds light on every young girl's deepest feelings.

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060722616
Publisher:
HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:
08/01/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
163
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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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Midnight Diary of Zoya Blume 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago