Willow has staged runaways ever since she was a little girl. She has everything a young person should want: a rich daddy, clothes, money, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. In reality, she has everything except the thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her.
Aged sixteen, on the eve of her father’s wedding, she ruins the bride’s dress and escapes through a window, determined never to return. Her missing mother was a circus performer, and Willow wants to follow in her footsteps. But the performers she meets don’t want her. When her last bit of money is stolen by Suze, another runaway girl she thought she could trust, Willow becomes really homeless. Then Suze comes tumbling back into her life and a desperate Willow has to decide whether to trust her all over again . . .
So begins their frightening, exhilarating odyssey though hunger, performance, desperation and dreams. Will they both survive and will Willow make it to the circus of her imagining?
Firstly, thank you to Rock the Boat for sending me a proof of The Circus to review!
I absolutely adored Olivia Levez’s first novel, ‘The Island,’ so when I found out about ‘The Circus,’ I knew I had to read it. When a copy came through the post, I dropped everything to start reading immediately, and finished it within a day. And I was definitely not disappointed!
Willow, the main character, is spoilt and naive when she runs away from home to try and find her mum and join the circus. On the run and determined not to be caught, she soon realises how difficult making it on her own will be. She learns the how harsh life on the streets is, and she learns the importance of friendship that’ll last even when you have nothing. She undergoes a lot of character development in the book, which is something that I love to see.
Suze was my favourite character. She is fun and quirky and a talented performer, and though she added a lot of lightheartedness through her character, her story also broke my heart at places. She is the opposite of Willow, and the pair form a friendship that I loved. She helps Willow get back on her feet after she becomes homeless, and she pushes her to achieve her goals.
One of the things that I was most looking forward to in The Circus was Olivia Levez’s unique writing style. It was one of the things that really stuck out to me when I read The Island, and was just as wonderful in this book. The writing immerses you, and the story is entirely gripping — I found myself staying up until the early hours of the morning reading because I just did not want to put this book down. I loved the exploration into performing and the setting of a circus, too. It was so interesting and I thought that it added a sense of adventure and a touch of magic to the story.
The Circus is a wonderful, adventurous book that somehow manages to be heartbreaking and heartwarming, all at once.