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3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  480 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Zazoo is Vietnamese by birth but feels entirely French. She has lived with her adoptive Grand-Pierre in France in an old stone mill between the river and the canal since she was two, sharing poetry, adventures, and the predictable rhythms of the seasons. Then one misty October morning, a young man on a bicycle rides into Zazoo’s small village and asks a question from which ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 7th 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published October 15th 2001)
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Nov 06, 2007 Meaghan rated it really liked it
Although I appreciated the atmosphere of this story, the description of the countryside and the coming-of-age of the sweet young protagonist, one major part was never satisfactorily explained in my opinion. Zazoo was adopted from Vietnam by an elderly French man who was a friend of her family. I understand that quite a few orphans were adopted abroad in the wake of the Vietnam War, but it seems unlikely to me that Zazoo's Grand-Pierre would have been considered a good candidate for an adoptive p ...more
More a 4.5. This is one of my favorites and I just needed to reread it. Zazoo is a Vietnamese girl who was adopted by GrandPierre as an infant and taken to his native France. Grand-Pierre is 78 and losing his mind. This, along with a mysterious but nice boy she meets along their canal, propels the story. Don't read this for a fast-moving plot. This is definitely a character piece, with Zazoo coming of age and learning many hard things. It's lovely, well-written, and has some great characters, in ...more
Jul 09, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of quiet books
This is one of my favorites. Zazoo is a Vietnamese orphan raised in France, sharing a quiet, poetic, close-to-nature life with Grand-Pierre, who adopted her. When a strange boy arrives on a bicycle and talks to her, asking only, "Why isn't the town pharmacist married?" a door is opened within her. In investigating this simple question, Zazoo becomes very curious about the Awful Time that Grand-Pierre won't speak of (when the Nazis invaded France), and the history of her own parents, who died in ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Sherry rated it really liked it
This is a sweet, delicate story of a young girl of Vietnamese descent learning about herself and about her beloved grandfather, who is actually not a relation. She and he live on a canal in France, where he is a lock-keeper.

I won't give more of the specifics since it is part of the book's charm that the circumstances of these two people's lives are fleshed out bit by bit, even as Zazoo is growing up before our eyes.

A delight that even enchanted my husband--not schmaltzy, just full of slow-build
Nancy Brady
Oct 01, 2013 Nancy Brady rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Zazoo is the story of a young Vietnamese girl adopted by a elderly French lock master. With the arrival of a young teen boy, the stories of the past begin to emerge. What is the story between Grand-Pierre and Monsieur Klein, and will Zazoo be able to bring them back together as friends? As love comes to Zazoo, old loves are revealed.
Feb 06, 2008 Leela rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Leela by: My teacher Kathryn
If its raining hard outside, and your looking for a warm tale to curl up with, look no further. Easily one of the best books i have ever read, I recomend that everone at least tries this book, although if you are not a big reader, you may have difficulty staying focused.
This book would appeal to readers of romance expecially, though it is not limited to them.
Nov 21, 2007 GraceAnne rated it it was amazing
The writing is richly evocative, redolent of time and place. History, emotion, and true love wound around the truths of things. I realize this doesn't describe it much, but it is one of the best YA titles ever.
Aug 13, 2011 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This was such a sweet book. I remember reading it over and over again. I can still remember the description of her grandfather perfectly peeling a fruit.
Apr 28, 2011 Lewestover rated it it was amazing
For a YF book, "Zazoo" was amazingly philosophical, compassionate, charming, tender, bitter-sweet --- beautifully written. A very nice coming of age book.
Monica Edinger
Nov 21, 2007 Monica Edinger rated it really liked it
I thought this was one of the most gorgeous YAs of its year.
Sep 07, 2008 Kenzie rated it really liked it
Short and sweet. The image of the canal flows right off the page and sticks with you. I loved this story.
Jul 15, 2012 Vicki rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Amid old secrets revealed & rifts healed 13 yr old Vietnamese orphan raised in rural France by his again Grand Pierre learns, about life, death & love.
Allison Reed
Jun 06, 2013 Allison Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book way back in 6th grade! Here I am 23 and I am still using "Zazeezoo" for all of my online accounts! Must have made an impact!
Mar 11, 2011 Darla rated it it was amazing
In what was a fifty cent find at a thrift store, I found a lovely treasure written with tenderness and infused with poetry. When I picked up the oddly named Zazoo, I had no idea what story lay between its covers, the description on the back failed give a clear idea of what I was to encounter. But considering my tastes, I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find Zazoo’s modern day tale wrapped around the heart of World War II.

Set in approximately 1990, in small village in the north of France, Za
Sophie Zapoli
Mar 30, 2014 Sophie Zapoli rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Actually 3.5. Goodreads should really just allow us to do half stars. I have been meaning to write a review for this book but haven't gotten the chance. I thought this book was a light and heartwarming read. It deals with the main character, Zazoo, coming to terms with life and loss, but most importantly forgiveness, as war stories become intertwined into one sad yet hopeful melody of life. Zazoo begins uncovering secrets kept hidden from her by Grand Pierre, ranging from her adoption during the ...more
Samantha S
Sep 20, 2013 Samantha S rated it really liked it
This book is one of my favorite realistic fiction books. I love how Zazoo is Vietnamese but has lived in a French village almost all her life. The way the author makes you feels the characters is amazing, and I really could feel Zazoo’s pain and confusing. The bird watcher in the beginning of the story grasps your attention, and as Zazoo figures out the mysteries of her and her friends live, you do to.

I liked this book, because the author builds the story in a very unique way. Once you think you
Jan 24, 2016 Lynda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A young Vietnamese girl, Zazoo is adopted by an elderly French man when her parents are killed in an explosion from a mine leftover from the war.
They live between a river and a loch, where her granfather tends the loch canal. She meets a mysterious boy (Marius) who questions her about the local druggist. This leads to questions about who he is, who her "Grand Pere" is and their relationship during WW2. Marius, it turns out, is involved in the mystery as well.
The imagery in this book is very well
Jun 17, 2007 Lucy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like strong ya, people who like historical novels
Shelves: kidlit
Thirteen-year-old Zazoo is an orphaned Vietnamese girl who lives on the quiet banks of a French canal with her elderly adoptive Grand-Pierre. Her life is peaceful, marked only by worries about her increasingly aged and beloved grandfather. One day, her life is disturbed by a seemingly chance encounter with a boy on a bicycle who asks questions that lead Zazoo to start to question her grandfather's past. What happened to him during World War II, which he calls the Awful Time? And why do the villa ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Pam rated it liked it
Set in the French country side, a Vietnamese-born French girl lives at a lock house with her adopted grandfather, a WWII hero who loves poetry. When a young Parisian appears one morning his questions prompt the girl to start asking questions about her own past, as well as the past of the villagers. Through metaphors and poems the grandfather tells the story of war and sadness, as his health and memory decline.

I thoroughly enjoyed and liked the characters in this story about growing up and realiz
Miss Starling
Aug 10, 2011 Miss Starling rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Miss by: Browsing in the library
This book really gripped me with its story right from the beginning. I was only ten when I was engrossed, too guys. The story about this girl and her relationship with her Grand-Pierre is a sweet one that anyone with a grandparent, whether living with them or not, can relate too when he starts to shows signs of being senile. I enjoyed her blossoming friendship with Marius, a boy she meets at the beginning. The insinuations of romance are only sprinkles, which is great, and doesn't overshadow the ...more
Raven Caines
Mar 03, 2015 Raven Caines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book taught me more about history than any other book I have read before. The book taught me that people who are polar opposites of each other can become friends in the end. When Zazoo found out about Grand Pierre's past it surprised me that he used to know the pharmacist. When the part about the pharmacist's sister came into the book I was so surprised by Grande Pierre and the pharmacist's shared past. I could empathize with Zazoo about when she was growing into a women. I enjoyed how Zazoo ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Jennie added it
Age: YA

Genre: Realistic fiction

Diversity: Ethnicity, religion

Illustrations: None

Personal Response: I thought this was an incredibly beautiful and moving story. As Zazoo, an adopted Vietnamese French teenager, slowly discovers the history of her village and her Grand Pierre during WWII she uncovers life changing secrets. At the same time Zazoo is dealing with the typical teenage problems associated with body image and first love. Sweet and sad at the same time this book made me cry more than once
Jul 27, 2016 Crimson0sky rated it it was amazing
"Sometimes in life, you must take the bitter with the sweet."

Direct quote from the story. I think it was.. What was his name? From Felix yes, him. Our main character Zazoo eventually grows to him- and evidently he to her. The entire story really feels authentic and rather touching towards the end. It made me smile and there may have been parts that made me laugh. I liked how there were life lessons and bits of wisdom weaved in the story here and there. It's one of those good stories (in my opin
Oct 18, 2009 Clara rated it really liked it
Poetic Zazoo is Vietnamese, and she lives in France with her adoptive grandfather. She discovers that her grandfather and the house tha she lived in had an interesting past, which the local pharmasist tells her about. The pharmasist, whom Zazoo eventually calls Uncle Felix, was a Jew during the war. Zazoo learns of the love between her grandfather and Monsieur Klein's (Uncle Felix) sister, and then her death. Zazoo also finds that she falls in love, and her best friend turned downright mean. She ...more
Feb 23, 2011 Cookie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
As I read this book, I wondered why it was classified as "juvenile" at my public library. The story would definitely appeal to teens...the characters, the storyline, the wonderful use of words. Since it's been designated as "juvenile" at my library, I'm disappointed to know that there are so many who will never read this sweet book about a young girl's story of life with her to a lock in France.
Apr 20, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story. It's a hard one to describe because it was hard to tell where the author was going with the characters. Not knowing where he was going kept me wanting to find out more and kept me reading. (It's not exactly a mystery novel, but the point of the story wasn't clear until close to the end of the book.) I thought it was well written but left me wanting more background and details about the characters. At least it had a happy ending.
Jul 07, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
I Began this book twice and I'm so glad I persisted. A beautiful tale of a young girl livingin France with her grandfather. She is from Vietnam and adopted and it tells of young love and through their letters other loves are revealed. When we are older our appearances mask our experiences for good or bad and this book gently reveals the horro and love that the older generation have experienced.
Aug 24, 2016 Hybridhearts rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book with strong themes of family and identity. Zazoo is rather different from teenagers today, but in some aspects she worries about things that many of them do as well.
I would definitely recommend this book, but readers who prefer fast paced books, may not enjoy this book as much. The pacing feels rather slow to me - I prefer fact paced and action novels - But I was really draw in the by the story telling within the book.
Jun 12, 2013 Sharon rated it liked it
This was a sweet story, People aren't always who you think they are...finding out what shapes them into the existing person can make all the difference in a life.

I enjoyed the rambling of this little story, it's not unlike a random walk through the woods, you come upon things unexpectedly and sometimes they stick with you.

Zazoo collects people, emotions and the underlying imagery in the poems is lovely.

I didn't cry until the last chapter...

Mar 06, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books growing up and it proved to be equally amazing when read as an adult. It's a very poetic book about a girl that finds her self somewhat lost in her own life, and the friendships she makes that help her find her place again. I loved that it was slower than most children's books. It left a lot of room to breath in the special atmosphere and all the emotions. Definitely recommended, unless you're looking for action-packed stories of course.
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Richard Mosher was born in India and raised in upstate New York. When he was fifteen, he spent the year attending a French boarding school and hitchhiking around Europe during vacations. A graduate of Antioch college, Mr. Mosher is the author of one previous novel for young people, The Taxi Navigator. He now lives with his wife in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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