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I enjoyed listening to this book-- with only a few exceptions:
1) Occasionally, the narrating actress gives sentences a weird emphasis. It's moderately distracting, but rare enough that I didn't get frustrated.
2) I'm no circus performer but I would swear that, once or twice, the author added enough random details to betray the fact that she has a flawed understanding of how an actual safety net works.
Besides this, there were several lovely sections in the main character's voice, plus a few descriptions that added value to the piece, and I look forward to more from this author.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I recently read a bunch of books that were inspired by or retellings of classics. Girl on a Wire was the least obvious retelling of the bunch. In fact, at first I didn't even realize I was reading a Romeo and Juliet tale. Wire-walker Julietta (Jules) Maroni joins the Cirque American with the hope that her family will finally receive the recognition they deserve. However, the Cirque American is also the home of a family of trapeze artists who are the Maroni's rivals, the Garcias. Together and in secret Jules and Romeo (Remy) Garcia seek to unravel the mysteries of the past, discover why their families are enemies, and who wants the past to repeat itself. Gwenda Bond's book is full of mystery and the romance of the circus.
In a lovely coincide I happened to be listening to this book while I was in Sarsota, Florida. Sarasota was were the Ringling Circus had their winter quarters and there is still a bit of a circus presence there with the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling College of Art and Design. I saw some of the circus paraphernalia at museum, including the train cars.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Girl on a Wire started with a stumble, but it soon found its footing and delivered a magical mystery that kept me guessing, with the added bonus of a swoonworthy, high-flying, genuinely caring love interest.
The beginning was weird, and I almost stopped after the first chapter. It was like the author didn’t know how to get the main character, Jules, and her family to the Cirque American, so she wrote up a confusing and vague trigger that did nothing to explain how it worked. Jules’ family didn’t want to join their rival family under one tent, so she runs away from home, then they’re suddenly at the circus with nothing to really clarify the in-between? Yeah, no.
BUT. I am glad I continued, as once they actually reached the circus, the plot started to thicken. Jules, determined to both have their new home accept her family and embody her role model, attempts certain daring acts, but someone will go to extreme lengths to ruin this for her. The uncertainty of whether their tokens actually possessed magic or were only psychological tricks sustained me, as did the mystery of who exactly was trying to bring her down (literally). To be honest, I did guess who it was, but I wasn’t 100% sure; it was more an inkling than dead certainty, and I was still surprised when it was revealed at the end.
I wasn’t totally convinced by the romance at first, but YES. Remy. He was a Good Guy, showing concern for her when things went pear-shaped, even though he was from the Other family. Also, can you just imagine how fit he must be as a flyer, on top of all that great personality of his? Yum. My. I had serious butterflies in my stomach when Jules and Remy finally started making out, so points for that one!
In addition to Jules, who was driven but naïve, and Remy, who was perfect (seriously), I liked the other characters and found them interesting. I felt like there was more to learn about all of them. I could connect with the main cast quite well, enough that when tragedy struck, I found myself crying in public while out on a walk. (Audiobook, remember?)
Also, it’s worth mentioning that there was a bisexual character in this, and it was pretty seamless. Or, it was to me. It wasn’t an “issue” either, which is something I really appreciate. She was just there. I’m not really qualified to discuss this in-depth, but I think she was genderqueer as well. If anyone reads the book and can correct me, please do! I am constantly trying to learn more.
EXTRA BONUS AWESOME POINTS to the author for doing her research on circus life and history. I loved learning about Bird Millman and other historical circus figures. I also loved all the customs and superstitions. When a book spurs me on to look up more information online, I know it’s a good one.
I am so glad I picked this up in the end, and I’m looking forward to reading about the magician’s daughter in Girl in the Shadows!