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 Maroni’s will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcia’s 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.
Girl on a Wire was a modern-day story that took place within the world of circus performers. I haven’t read enough of these books–stories that are told beneath a striped tent–and I think there should be more out there.
That being said, I actually didn’t feel too drawn into the circus surroundings. The synopsis gives the illusion of being absorbed into a world of performers, but there wasn’t as much depth as I would’ve liked. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on the setting. I would’ve loved more descriptions on the surroundings and the performances, being that they’re so unique.
Instead, the story focused on Jules of the Maroni family, the rivals of the Garcia’s. I LOVE rivalries between families. (If you’re a beta-reader of mine, you know this.) There’s something quite intriguing and thrilling about bad blood between families. I suppose it’s a classical kind of rivalry that has inspired writers and artists for centuries, including me. I love delving into the family’s past and to see how their children adapt to it, if they follow their parents’ hatred or veer off to explore other feelings, whether it’s platonic or romantic. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel too much of that tension within this book.
The romance in this novel–between Jules and Remy–seemed to take reign of the story. I do appreciate the fact that they didn’t instantly hate each other because of their surnames. This added depth and realism to their characters, so I liked that. But I wasn’t fond of the unrealistic ways it made Jules behave occasionally. There were some devastating moments in this book, yet Jules didn’t seem to shaken up by them, and instead was focusing on her relationship with Remy. This relationship of theirs also seemed to place the history between the two families was placed on the back burner, despite the constant talk of it.
And then there’s also this mystery of who’s behind these accidents, placing unlucky items on the Maroni’s. Again, this didn’t seem to get enough focus. It took so long to figure out who it was, like until the very end. I would’ve have liked Jules to have found some evidence along the way, something to have the reader guessing who’s behind all of this. There wasn’t much along the way to give my mind a sense of direction.
This was, overall, a very intriguing story with a unique setting. I think the characters were quite layered and developed well. They each shared their own unique personality and traits, qualities that made them seem real. I would recommend this book to readers looking for magical-realism with a fun setting.