Right–in the interests of full disclosure, Gwenda and I have the same agent, and we’ve been blog buds for a number of years, so be aware that any viewpoints herein may or may not be free of personal bias. 🙂 I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley.
Girl on a Wire is one of those books packed with all the characteristics I would have loved as a YA reader growing up: magic, mystery, and just a hint of Romeo and Juliet (literally: the main characters are Remy aka Romeo, and Jules aka Julieta). The high-flying circus setting lends even more drama and atmosphere, with enough detail that you feel like you’re there, living the behind-the-scenes touring circus life, but not so much detail that it takes away from the action.
And action there is, promised from the very beginning by the fact that protagonist Jules wants nothing more than to perform with the famous new Cirque American, and do her high wire walk like her old-school idol, Bird Millman (who was a real person). Unfortunately, Jules’s parents and grandmother have other ideas, because the Maronis’ mortal enemies the Flying Garcias are part of the Cirque American, and there’s just no way they can occupy the same patch of ground.
Until, of course, Jules forces the issue. I would have loved to see a bit more of the fallout from her stubbornness, but we quickly move to the main part of the book, which is the tale of the Maronis’ return to national circus fame. It doesn’t come without a cost, though, and that cost is the fact that every single one of the Flying Garcias comes with an insta-grudge attached. Only Remy (aka Romeo) seems not to buy into the whole family grudge thing, and so Jules’s growing friendship with him has to happen in secret. Soon, though, Jules realizes that the bad blood between their families isn’t simply aggravating, it’s potentially dangerous. It’s NOT, of course, because of the allegedly cursed items she keeps finding in her possession. Or is it? And will she and Remy be able to figure out who’s trying to sabotage the Maronis’ return before someone really gets hurt?
This was a super fun idea, and as a reader I liked seeing the alliances develop between the young protagonists, trying to solve the mystery and move on while the adults remained stubborn and prideful. This one would be great especially for younger YA and older MG readers, and those looking for a mystery with a hint of magic and daring, but without too much violence or danger.
You can find Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond online, or at an independent bookstore near you!