By Cindy Callaghan
Available now from Aladdin Mix (Simon & Schuster)
LOST IN LONDON is the story of Jordan Jacoby, a perfectly normal twelve-year-old girl. When she gets a chance to study abroad for a week in London, she knows it is her chance to do something out of the ordinary. Soon she and Caroline, the daughter of her hostess, are out and about. But this might not be the trip she expected!
I thought LOST IN LONDON was super cute and pretty fun. There's an excellent sense of place - not just the places visited, but the slang and food all reminded me of my trips to London. (I even thought there was a Cornetto on the cover, until I noticed the straw. Just a shake.) There's also good use of technology. J.J. and her new friends are constantly taking photos and videos with their cells, which sometimes causes trouble.
There are a couple of expected plots, and a few that were more surprising. J.J. and Caroline have trouble getting along at first, of course. Caroline is a bit hot and cold. Caroline's friends are more accommodating, but their classmate Sebastian is causing trouble for everyone. I liked that J.J. and Sam, one of Caroline's guy friends, had a bit of a flirtation but that the romance angle wasn't really played up. And the fact that their relationship revolved around a shared love of eating was adorable.
Less expected was the plotline where J.J. and Caroline accidentally implicate themselves in a massive heist. They've got to dodge the police since they're afraid they can't prove they're innocent. (Oh to be twelve and think the police would actually believe you're a master thief.) It's a plotline that relies quite a bit on coincidence, but who cares when it's hilarious?
The book also works because the characters are wonderful. J.J. is awkward, but she's got enough confidence to stand up for herself, and she's learning to be more confident. Ellie, Caroline's best female friend, is a secretly talented space cadet. Caroline is a bit spoiled, but that doesn't mean she's rotten. Gordo isn't manly, but that doesn't mean he isn't a cool guy. Sam is friendly and constantly hungry. The characters elevate the simple plot, as they should.
LOST IN LONDON is a terrific choice for young Anglophiles. There's friendship, hijinks in an empty mall, pranks, revenge, and a few history lessons slipped in for good measure. I'm definitely interested in reading Cindy Callaghan's next novel, LUCKY ME, coming July 2014.
About Cindy Callaghan: Cindy grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Southern California before earning her BA in English and French, and MBA from the University of Delaware. She recently exited corporate America after nearly twenty years, and is now fully entrenched in business consulting, writing, and family. She is very involved with her children’s activities, including coaching the occasional soccer team. Cindy lives, works and writes in Wilmington, Delaware with her family and numerous rescued pets.
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