Secret Diary

Book 1

From the Series Lou!

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 9
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Meet Lou! She’s hardly your average 12 year old. Her handmade outfits are the talk of the school (even though they make the other girls laugh), and her homework gets a lot of attention from her teachers (even though it lands her in the shrink’s office). Home sweet home is an apartment she shares with her couch-potato mom and a cat named Cat. At least she can pour her heart out to her best friend, Mina, and scribble her dreams in her secret diary.

Now that she’s almost a teenager, Lou’s life is becoming even more interesting. Playing with dolls has lost its appeal and the boy across the street gets cuter every day. The new neighbor, Richard, just might be the perfect match for Lou’s mom. But will Lou or her mom ever pluck up their courage and actually talk to their crushes?

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Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 9
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Graphic Novels
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 3.1
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV008110, JUV039190, JUV013060
Dewey 741.5'973
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Lexile 320
Guided Reading Level U
ATOS Reading Level 2.3
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 149570
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author, Illustrator: Julien Neel

Award-winning author and artist Julien Neel began his career as a host of business seminars. His musical puppet show on developing management skills was unfortunately made obsolete by PowerPoint presentations, forcing him to consider a new career in music. After a tour of Europe, his band split over irreconcilable differences about food. He eventually settled in Aix-en-Provence and has joyfully devoted himself exclusively to comics creation for the past ten years or so.


  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Winner, 2013
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2013


Teacher Librarian

“Lou! deserves every bit of its international acclaim, and you might as well get on the bandwagon now.” —Teacher Librarian

Library Media Connection

“With fun, full-color illustrations, this graphic novel is able to portray the daily life of Lou in a playful manner while relaying pre-teen heartache and angst.” —Library Media Connection

The Horn Book Guide

“In these French imports, twelve-year-old Lou ponders problems such as being teased at school, experiencing unrequited love, and having an underemployed single mom who is a writer/couch potato. The format makes them look like picture books, but the stories are told in comic panels; the dialogue and illustrations are lively, the concerns familiar (although overly focused on stereotypical romantic situations), and the characters appealing.” —The Horn Book Guide

School Library Journal

“Readers, especially girls, will enjoy these strong, funny charactersand the true-to-life dilemmas that they face and overcome.”—School Library Journal


“Neel’s bright and colorful art matches the mood of this humorous slice of life spiced with the possibility of romance for both daughter and mother.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“This lighthearted charmer will leave readers enchantées.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“The painted art is done with a rich, glowing palette…. Enjoyable reading for both sexes and all ages.” —Publishers Weekly