Cover Reveal for THE JIGSAW JUNGLE by Kristin Levine

 

I had a great plan.

 

My first three books were historical fiction, and each one required a lot of research. So for book number four, my plan was to do something easier, something that would be quicker to write. I decided on a contemporary story, set in my hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. Surely, I could knock that out in five or six months, right?!

 

Hahahahaha!

 

Okay, so that didn’t turn out exactly like I expected. But three years (and three completely different drafts) later, I’m so excited that THE JIGSAW JUNGLE is coming out next June. And while previous versions of this story may have included such varied elements as mystical visions, computer punch cards, and lots and lots extraneous characters, there were two parts of the story that never changed:

 

  1. My love of jigsaw puzzles
  2. My love of Washington, DC

 

My mom and I always did jigsaw puzzles together when I was little. It felt like she had hundreds of them: Christmas puzzles, Fourth of July, candy bars, seashells, and puppies. On her birthday, we would always have a rectangular box for her, carefully wrapped, but the sounds of the pieces shifting in the box would give away what it was as soon as she picked it up.

 

Then there’s my hometown. Although I was born in New York, I only remember living outside of Washington, DC. Compared to New York City, there are relatively few books about DC. The books that do exist are almost always about politics. But as a kid, I didn’t care about politics – I cared about the museums, memorials, and all the fun things there were to do.

 

I love how the cover of THE JIGSAW JUNGLE reflects both of these loves, and how each piece on the cover shows a bit of the story and a scene from my own childhood.

 

I’ll give a couple of examples. See those two boys on the dinosaur on the cover? There really used to be a triceratops in front of the Natural History Museum. I’m the one in the green jacket.

 

 

And there actually still is a carousel on the National Mall. I’ve taken my own kids on it. From atop your horse, if you look one way, you can see the Capitol, and if you look the other, you can see the Washington Monument. Here I am years ago, and still wearing that green jacket.

 

As for my book, THE JIGSAW JUNGLE ended up being the story of twelve-year-old Claudia, whose father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left her questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family.

But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message.

It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family.

 

And that treasure hunt? Well, it may just lead her to a huge fiberglass dinosaur and a merry-go-round. Just like the ones I loved so many years ago.

 

 

Kristin Levine is the author of THE BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD, THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK, and THE PAPER COWBOY. She loves museums, riding the Metro, salsa dancing, and jigsaw puzzles. She lives with her two daughters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Twitter: @KristinSLevine

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristin.levine.author/

Instagram: kristin_levine_author

Website: http://kristinlevine.com/

 

ABOUT THE BOOK: Claudia Dalton’s father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left twelve-year-old Claudia questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family. But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message. It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family. Told through the pages of Claudia’s scrapbook, The Jigsaw Jungle is a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart, from award-winning author and middle-grade master Kristin Levine.