This book takes place in 1918. The story is about a girl, who after being in a terrible home environment, runs away and joins the circus. No matter where you go, your past catches up with you and consequences of that past can be life or death.
JFoor: I have to say that I was really impressed by the way the author described the setting so much. After the first chapter I could picture everything in my head.
JLafon: I agree, she did do a good job with that. I have not been to the circus many times but yet I was able to picture it in my head as I read.
JFoor: I felt that there were some parts where she may have used too much detail, not that it is a bad thing, it just wasn’t necessary.
JLafon: I agree with that. I felt that there was a lot of detail in the beginning of the story but once all the excitement started, it ended with me having lots of questions. Now, let’s talk about the characters and start with James…when I first met James I thought he was going to be Laila’s love interest.
JFoor: Me too! He sounds so cute and apparently all of the other females in the book agree. Plus his mother is pretty much the most famous person in the circus.
JLafon: Yes and I liked the friend dynamic between Laila, Jodelle(one of Laila’s roommates) and James but I was surprised that with all the female attention James received, he never seemed to be interested in any of them.
JFoor: I agree, especially since as young adults they still needed to attend a school-based program and pass a test to be able to work in the circus acts.
JLafon: Time to talk about Dex. He sounds so hot!! He was everything I love in a book boyfriend…all bad boy on the outside and such a sweety on the inside 🙂
JLafon: And the fact that he is a twin and there is two of them, Dex and Seth, even hotter!
JFoor: Yeah, I loved them when it was just one, but two is even better, too bad it took so long for us to meet them.
JLafon: Yeah, it was almost halfway through the story but they were well worth the wait.
JFoor: And at first he was just the disappearing man. I liked how later on he explained how he and Seth were able to manipulate the audience to think he was really one person disappearing.
JLafon: That was cool and you know, I really appreciated, from a nurse’s standpoint, how she medically explained all of the characters in the sideshow.
JFoor: Like the two-headed man being conjoined twins and the elephant man was bitten by an African bug.
JFoor: So once the story got about halfway, I really got into. I needed to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen next. I hated Vivian from the beginning and wanted to reach through the pages and kill her myself. I was glad Laila had the twins protecting her as well as her other friends.
JLafon: The twins were great, but it was kind of creepy that Seth was pretending to be Dex. At first I was wondering how she could have not known it wasn’t Dex but then I thought about how she really was not that close to him at that point.
JFoor: Yeah, but he was just trying to push his brother into opening up and taking what he really wanted. I think the history behind their parents and what they did will be touched more in book two.
JLafon: Me too or at least I hope so. There has to be some explanation….I just can’t believe that they are as bad as people say they are. Please don’t make me think Dex is bad!!
JFoor: All in all I think it was a good book, of course I am stepping out of my normal genre. Usually I don’t read anything set back in time, but I enjoyed it. It almost reminded me of Water for Elephants. Obviously, with that book in mind, it was easy to fall in love with the characters. I like the idea of how the circus was such a big deal back then. This is what families did together and when the circus came to town everyone went. It just sucks we have to wait so long for a second installment.
JLafon: 2014 is a long time to wait, but I will have to read it to find out the answers to all my unanswered questions.
JFoor: ha, me too. I can’t wait.
We felt that this was a good book and should be categorized as a historical young adult book. The book contains a good plot, it’s full of angst and heartbreaking dramatic situations. It’s different from other books and we appreciated that about it. There are so many books out there similar to each other, where this one was completely off the radar. We can’t wait to read the second installment in this series and see where Laila’s life goes next.
-Jennifer Foor and Jennifer LaFon