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.
©2014 Gwenda Bond (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
Girl on a Wire started with a stumble, but it soon found its footing and delivered a magical mystery that kept me guessing, with the added bonus of a swoonworthy, high-flying, genuinely caring love interest.
The beginning was weird, and I almost stopped after the first chapter. It was like the author didn’t know how to get the main character, Jules, and her family to the Cirque American, so she wrote up a confusing and vague trigger that did nothing to explain how it worked. Jules’ family didn’t want to join their rival family under one tent, so she runs away from home, then they’re suddenly at the circus with nothing to really clarify the in-between? Yeah, no.
BUT. I am glad I continued, as once they actually reached the circus, the plot started to thicken. Jules, determined to both have their new home accept her family and embody her role model, attempts certain daring acts, but someone will go to extreme lengths to ruin this for her. The uncertainty of whether their tokens actually possessed magic or were only psychological tricks sustained me, as did the mystery of who exactly was trying to bring her down (literally). To be honest, I did guess who it was, but I wasn’t 100% sure; it was more an inkling than dead certainty, and I was still surprised when it was revealed at the end.
I wasn’t totally convinced by the romance at first, but YES. Remy. He was a Good Guy, showing concern for her when things went pear-shaped, even though he was from the Other family. Also, can you just imagine how fit he must be as a flyer, on top of all that great personality of his? Yum. My. I had serious butterflies in my stomach when Jules and Remy finally started making out, so points for that one!
In addition to Jules, who was driven but naïve, and Remy, who was perfect (seriously), I liked the other characters and found them interesting. I felt like there was more to learn about all of them. I could connect with the main cast quite well, enough that when tragedy struck, I found myself crying in public while out on a walk. (Audiobook, remember?)
Also, it’s worth mentioning that there was a bisexual character in this, and it was pretty seamless. Or, it was to me. It wasn’t an “issue” either, which is something I really appreciate. She was just there. I’m not really qualified to discuss this in-depth, but I think she was genderqueer as well. If anyone reads the book and can correct me, please do! I am constantly trying to learn more.
EXTRA BONUS AWESOME POINTS to the author for doing her research on circus life and history. I loved learning about Bird Millman and other historical circus figures. I also loved all the customs and superstitions. When a book spurs me on to look up more information online, I know it’s a good one.
I am so glad I picked this up in the end, and I’m looking forward to reading about the magician’s daughter in Girl in the Shadows!
"Mostly dreamy, like a parasol."
I enjoyed listening to this book-- with only a few exceptions:
1) Occasionally, the narrating actress gives sentences a weird emphasis. It's moderately distracting, but rare enough that I didn't get frustrated.
2) I'm no circus performer but I would swear that, once or twice, the author added enough random details to betray the fact that she has a flawed understanding of how an actual safety net works.
Besides this, there were several lovely sections in the main character's voice, plus a few descriptions that added value to the piece, and I look forward to more from this author.
"Romeo and Juliet at the Circus"
I recently read a bunch of books that were inspired by or retellings of classics. Girl on a Wire was the least obvious retelling of the bunch. In fact, at first I didn't even realize I was reading a Romeo and Juliet tale. Wire-walker Julietta (Jules) Maroni joins the Cirque American with the hope that her family will finally receive the recognition they deserve. However, the Cirque American is also the home of a family of trapeze artists who are the Maroni's rivals, the Garcias. Together and in secret Jules and Romeo (Remy) Garcia seek to unravel the mysteries of the past, discover why their families are enemies, and who wants the past to repeat itself. Gwenda Bond's book is full of mystery and the romance of the circus.
In a lovely coincide I happened to be listening to this book while I was in Sarsota, Florida. Sarasota was were the Ringling Circus had their winter quarters and there is still a bit of a circus presence there with the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling College of Art and Design. I saw some of the circus paraphernalia at museum, including the train cars.
"A bit of adventure and romance with a twist or two"
I look forward to more of the Cirque American and the strong female characters that drive it to the new age. This author has successfully brought a little magic to the world through the well written story.
"Just couldn't get into it"
I hate giving up on books. I especially hate it when I've given so much time to it (41% through.) But, for some reason, (and, I don't know if I've just somehow missed key points in the narrative, or if the author's style of writing simply doesn't mesh with my brain,) I have no clue as to what's going on. Normally, one would start the book over, but I'm just not interested in it enough to spend several more hours just to get back where I am.
"A must read!"
Ever wish you could join the circus? This is the story for you! Follow a circus family trying to get back in the "big show" after years of estrangement.
there were no surprises in this book. you could guess the villain after the first couple of chapters and the romance wasn't very believable. despite its faults I didn't hate it.
"Not worth it"
Maybe I'd have liked the story better in regular book form. This has to be the worst narrator I have ever heard. The story was a takeoff on Romeo and Juliet and just felt very forced most of the time.
"The Plot had Promise, But...."
The reader read the story as though she was a fourth or fifth grader reading for the class.
The plot had promise but then the writing was very juvenile. I kept waiting for this book to get better. There were a few moments almost 3/4 of the way into the book but it wasn't worth getting to this spot.
This story kept me guessing throughout. I learned many interesting facts about circus lore and traditions.
"good not great"
I started by reading this book on my kindle but listening to the audio version really helped me to finish and enjoy it more.
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