A Memoir by Jaques Papier
by Michelle Cuevas
First sentence: “Yes, world, I am writing my memoir, and I have titled the first chapter simply this: EVERYONE HATES JACQUES PAPIER.”
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Release date: September 4, 2015
Review copy provided by the publisher rep.
Content: Aside from a few big words, this one is written at an 8-year-old’s level. I’d give it to 3rd-graders and up. It’ll be in the Middle Grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.
For all eight years of his life, Jacques Papier has been happy. He has a wonderful twin sister, Fleur, and even though is parents seem to ignore him and the weiner dog, Francois, hates him, he’s pretty happy. Then one day, in second grade, his is forced to face this realization: he’s imaginary. This sets off both an existential crisis and an adventure as Jacques figures out what to do now that he’s no longer “real”.
It’s a pretty simple premise, but Cuevas executes it brilliantly. It’s framed as a memoir, and her voice for Jacques is spot-on. I love the other imaginary beings he comes across in his travels, and the way he becomes the imaginary friend of several other children. It’s scattered through with drawings (I think done by the author), which just adds to the whimsy of this one. And the ending is incredibly sweet without being too saccharine.
I adored it.