In Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendariz (Tu Books, 2020), nine-year-old Julieta is caught in a scandal when she and her father witness the Regent diamond being stolen. When Julieta accidentally lets the thief out of the building and she and her father are suspected, she is determined to free themselves from suspicion by solving the mystery herself.
The story took a bit of time to get started, but once Julieta is sightseeing in Paris with her father. the excitement ratchets up. Through Julieta’s eyes, we learn about art history, French history and landmarks, Greek mythology (which Julieta loves to study), and a bit about French culture.
Although I found the backstories to slow the pace at the beginning of the book, once the diamond is stolen, the introductory information seems important. We can better see Julieta’s perspective on the situation and make our own predictions.
The audiobook of Julieta and the Diamond Enigma (Live Oak Media, 2021) brings the story of bilingual Julieta (English/Spanish) to life as she travels to France with her father for a week of adventure. Because Julieta’s family speaks English and Spanish, and because a large portion of the action takes place in Paris, some Spanish and French phrases are sprinkled throughout the audio.
But for anyone who is a foreign language phobic, there are never any foreign language phrases that are cannot be easily understood with the many context clues. The author always prompts Julieta or a different character to repeat a phrase back in English, or otherwise make it clear what has been said in the foreign language. I loved hearing the proper pronunciation of the foreign text.
Different narrators lend their voices, which also helps the reader enjoy the story even more. Tweens are sure to love Julieta’s story, and the narrated audiobook is a nice choice for bringing an exciting story and a different culture to life.
Note: I received a digital copy of the audiobook for review consideration.