Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: Girl On a Wire by Gwenda Bond

Girl on a Wire

By Gwenda Bond

Blurb: A ballerina, twirling on a wire high above the crowd. Horses, prancing like salsa dancers. Trapeze artists, flying like somersaulting falcons. And magic crackling through the air. Welcome to the Cirque American!

Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies.

Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist in the Cirque.

As more mysterious talismans believed to possess unlucky magic appear, Jules and Remy unite to find the culprit. And if they don’t figure out what’s going on soon, Jules may be the first Maroni to do the unthinkable: fall.

Genres: Young Adult Realistic Fantasy

Publication Date: October 1, 2014

Pages: 386

Series: N/A

My Rating: 3 stars

Girl On a Wire tackled a setting pretty new to me; the circus. I ended up loving the atmosphere of this new background; in fact, it was pretty much the best thing about this book. Other things, however, fell flat for me.

Jules is a heroine that I can't really say I either liked or disliked. I liked her love for tight rope walking. Her weird romance with Remy? Not so much. I liked how much she loved her hero Bird. Her breaking of the rules every chance she got for no apparent reason other than that's what she wanted to do? Not so much. My likes for her were cancelled out by my dislikes for her.

Remy....what did I think about Remy?

There was no emotional connection with him. I didn't feel like he grew as a character at all, I didn't think he was always that nice to Jules, and I didn't think he and Jules had any real chemistry. Basically the only thing that I found cute about them (slightly) was that her name is Juliet and his is Romeo. But even that was minimal cuteness.

The plot was interesting; full of circus shows and magic--the sinister type of magic, not the fairy godmother kind. This book did this spectacularly; the consequences of the magic felt really serious, not like a fairy tale for middle schoolers. Not only that, but it dealt with superstitions a lot, and I really found all of the different things that circus performers believe is bad luck very interesting.

Jules' family is pretty cool. There's her cousin, Sam, who I liked a lot. His relationship with Dita, Remy's sister, was adorable, (Honestly, if the book had been more about this couple I think this would have been a lot better?) and his relationship with Jules is so cute; they may be cousins, but they seem more like siblings. Jules' grandmother is a mysterious figure, and it's never clear until closer to the end what her part in the whole story is.

The ending was pretty bad. By the time it had ended, I'd had the person guessed for a bit. I mean, there was basically one person who could have done it plausibly as well as made it seem like a huge surprise. And after that...I was kind of skeptical about how relatively lightly everyone seemed to take the news; if I had just found out who'd been wreaking havoc among the performers and trying to kill people, I'd be a lot less chill then these guys.

Girl on a Wire was a good 'one time' read--meaning, once is enough when it comes to how many times I will end up reading this. I ended up not liking it as much as I could due to some of the characters and the poor ending; I think that, in the case of recommending this book, it would really depend on the person and what they value most in a story.

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