Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Girl on a Wire: A Novel by Gwenda Bond is a fictional novel that I really had my doubts if I'd enjoy it when I first picked it up. Not because of it being for YA, I read plenty of them but because it just didn't sound really interesting for that many pages. By that I mean it is about characters in a circus and by the cover I can tell it is what I call a "Type Rope Walker". Now I like the circus just as much as the next person (my first date with my husband we went tot he circus) but just how good can a novel of almost four hundred pages based on circus 'walker' be? It has to be filled with boring stuff to take up all them pages so it drags on and on but guess what. It it was really good!
There was a little of everything in the book, love, friendship, family, mystery, murder (of sorts), magic, spells and more. I can't believe how much was in this one book which is indeed based on a 'walker' and how the author put it all in and made it work. It all flowed so perfect and seamless although the mystery part certainly had me going. I couldn't figure it out for sure although I did have my guesses. I also love that the book was free from foul language and sexual content. The most that went on was kissing and it was kept 'clean' as I would expect for a YA read.
I won't recap the story as the author wrote a nice description which you can read for yourself however I do want to say that I found that the characters were developed fully, they weren't flat by any stretch of the imagination. I am not only talking about the main character of Jules but also of her family (Maroni), the Garcia family, especially Remy. Both these families go back years and years as the circus way of life was pasted from generation to generation which in real life that was very common years ago.
The story about the 'bad blood' between these two families with the mystery behind it, add the 'voodoo' or 'spell' or whatever you want to call it, plus the need for both Jules and Remy to find out the truth about what really happened, only seems natural to me so the story was believable as far as that goes. Also, adding to the story being believable is that there are references to real circus acts (e.g., Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus), events (e.g., circus train crash of 1918), and people (e.g., Bird Millman) throughout.
Some of the statements in the story are so powerful and really show the character's growth (Jules) from the girl who ran away from home in order to get her way to the young woman she grown to be after going through so much and even discovering more of herself. I especially thought it was a deep statement when she realized, "Everything could end at any moment. The difference between life and death was one breath, one second, one act. And that meant that life was worth everything, every minute of every day." Another is, "Sometimes the truth don't set you free, Jules. Sometimes it cages you." And there are others, many others.
I didn't notice any typos or format issues but I must admit I was so engrossed in the story I am not sure if I would have noticed them. This is definitely a page turner that I didn't want to put down. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants an easy read, free from sex and foul language, packed full of mystery, suspense, and so much more. It all adds up to a great novel by a fantastic author. (You don't have to be a YA to enjoy this either, I recommend it no matter what your age.)
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