In this sequel to Cici’s Journal (2021), readers become reacquainted with a slightly older but still winsome and intrepid Cici. Now in middle school, Cici lives in a small village with her single mother. Cici wants to be a writer when she grows up, and her journal becomes not only integral to that pursuit, but also a vehicle for opening communication with her mother following a painful rift. While the mysteries Cici encounters—a highly personal scavenger hunt, a mansion with a hidden secret—are powerful page-turners, this book is really about history, trauma, reconciliation, and the deeply interconnected lives of the people in Cici’s orbit. Readers see Cici’s inquisitiveness grow, driving her to take on bigger and more mature subjects, including lost love, parental death, traumatic memory loss, hidden pain, and boundaries. The self-conscious whimsy of the text and luminous beauty of the art contrast with some of the heavier topics. The series’ signature style continues to be a triumph, as the book-within-a-book feature is much expanded in this volume to include diagrams, asides from Cici, doodles, notes, and even recipes. Cici and most other characters are White; one of her closest friends comes from a Black family that has a recurring presence in the story.

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