LEARNING THE ROPES by Monique Polak

LEARNING THE ROPES

Age Range: 11 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifteen-year-old Mandy dreams of becoming a rope-climbing aerialist in the circus and flies off to Montreal to attend circus camp despite her father’s fears.

Mandy’s grandfather was killed while working as a professional stuntman, so her dad worries constantly that Mandy could get hurt as she pursues her dream. When she arrives at camp, Mandy meets Genevieve, another aerialist but one who uses the more popular tissu, a colorful fabric climbing medium. At first Genevieve seems friendly but soon loses no opportunity to show off her superior talent. Mandy gets on better with Hana, a shy, homesick Korean girl struggling to learn English. As the first week passes, and the students learn difficult stretches and maneuvers, Genevieve behaves more like a spiteful schoolgirl than a professional, but she also keeps nailing her aerial routines while Mandy struggles. When a circus rope climber is killed nearby, the stakes and suspense increase. Part of the Limelight series from Canada, this is one of a growing number of novellas focused on teens trying to become professional entertainers, and the choice of the circus as its subject certainly pops the book out of the norm. Full of interesting and varied characters, the story stands up well, and the author describes the difficult aerial maneuvers vividly.

A quick read with a fascinating focus. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0452-4
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2015




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