Author: Gwenda Bond
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.
This story is truly a modern day Romeo and Juliet retelling at its finest. This becomes even more apparent when you learn the true names of Remy and Jules later on in the book. Also strikingly similar to Shakespeare's cast of Montagues and Capulets, the Maronis and Garcias both possess a history of hating each other. However, the reason behind this hated remains a mystery for most of the book. Although you're given bits a pieces from different family members, you won't get the full story until it's forced out of the Grandmother, who is completely awesome by the way. The way Gwenda told the story not only kept me interested, but completely hooked me, so that I couldn't put the book down.
The setting of the story is forever changing, since the Maronis and Garcias are members of a traveling circus. How awesome is that? Honestly, this story is packed with a ton of circus lore and it was SO GREAT! Without going into too much detail, Jules makes a decision to better her family's financial situation, but at a cost of forcing them to cooperate with the Garcia's. Now as if that fact alone wasn't enough, just as in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the attraction between Remy Garcia and Jules Maroni is almost palpable. They fall in love and struggle to keep it a secret. This becomes increasingly more difficult as a mystery killer attempts to throw Jules, who is a tightrope walker, off her balance. What's so unique is that the mystery murder uses "mystical" possessions that date back to when the feud of family originally began. Now, it's left for the reader to decided if these objects are inherently magical or if it's the superstitions that give them strength. As for the mystery killer, can you figure out who it is before the story ends? I couldn't.