The bright lights and screaming laughter of the carnival midway are not all they are cracked up to be for two young women hoping to help support their families on the fair circuit.
Flor Maldonado and Miranda “Randy” Reyes share much in common. Both are Latina, both feel the pressure to help their families financially, and both call the road home as members of the Barsetti & Son All American Extravaganza traveling carnival. With so much in common, fast friendship would seem likely, but their goals are at odds. Flor discovers that success for Miranda and her family’s band on the main stage might spell the end of the road for her family’s petting zoo, as Mr. Barsetti cannot afford to keep both attractions on the tour. The first-person narrative shifts between Flor and Miranda chapter by chapter. Their voices and motivations are so similar, especially early on, that it may take readers a beat or two to recognize the change in perspective. Though the plot is a fairly straightforward one, the explorations of Flor’s and Miranda’s inner turmoil shine, providing windows into a unique lifestyle that feels authentic. Readers cannot help but root for both heroines, who feel like two regular girls with universal struggles despite their uncommon circumstances.
Feelings of summer fun and smells of funnel cake will follow readers home from this engaging story of family and friendship. (Fiction. 8-12)