Family secrets and sinister superstitions threaten 16-year-old wire walker Jules Maroni’s chance at a big break.
Jules doesn’t understand why her family lets some old rivalry with the Flying Garcias keep them from the glamorous Cirque American. Something bad happened between Jules’ grandmother and the legendary trapeze artists when Nan was young, but now the Amazing Maronis have a chance—possibly the last—to leave obscurity and gain the recognition their talent deserves! When the Maronis finally join the Cirque American, Jules is dismayed that everyone in this new circus seems to hold the same grudge as Nan. Worse, the dreamy boy she meets is none other than Remy Garcia, scion of her family’s archrivals. Jules is determined to gain the admiration of her fellow performers, so she performs a series of increasingly dangerous wire acts. While Jules’ perspective of her daredevilry is not in the slightest bit frightening, the narration is nonetheless heart-stopping; readers might find themselves checking their own footing. A mysterious stalker leaves Jules a series of increasingly disturbing artifacts—a flower, a peacock feather, a circus trunk—and Nan is convinced the objects are cursed, leaving Jules and Remy determined to get to the bottom of their grandparents’ possibly mystical rivalry. When tragedy inevitably strikes, the impact is blunted, as the secondary characters (or Jules’ feelings for them) are little more than the barest sketches.
The mystery is tense and nerve-wracking, and the acrobatics are gorgeously hair-raising; they will help readers get past thinly developed characters and setting. (Thriller. 13-15)