When I was little, I used to go to the circus all the time (at least it felt like it.) Mostly it was the cheap little circuses that come to town and leave all the free kids tickets everywhere. Once though, I went to Ringling Circus. I don't remember too much, but I remember the place being huge. I remember watching in amazement at the people seemingly flying through the air. It seemed like a dream. So many things happening at once.
I recently agreed to review the book Showtime by Chloe Kayne, a young adult novel about the circus, circa 1920s.
"The grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romance with notorious sideshow performer, "The Disappearing Man," and learns just how dangerous her new life can be.
Touring the picturesque eastern coast of America, Laila’s immersed in friendship, vaudeville, festivals, sequins, and serial killers. But behind the curtain, a sadistic plan is brewing that will crack the very foundation upon which she’s become so dependent."
This book is REALLY good. I really enjoyed the descriptive writing. Like this, from the begining of the book, for example:
"GLOWING RED AND yellow lights splashed across the crowd stationed on the Midway, rendering the constellations above dull and lifeless by comparison. MARVELLE CIRCUS sparkled down on the assemblage in light-encrusted block letters, bowing across the top of a pair of ominous black gates. The full moon hung in the black sky, beset by a frame of opaque grey clouds that gradually floated passed."
I mean, damn. With me, I can imagine it perfectly. I see the circus, the roar of the giant crowd. The giant black gates welcoming me into the circus. The entire book is like this. It is so full of description, and description done well, that I felt like I was there watching the entire thing happen.
Showtime had a little bit of everything. Murder, romance, action, mystery, friendship, family issues. I honestly think that anyone could pick up this book and enjoy it.
The romantic part of this book was good. The main character, Laila, has a best guy friend, James and a mysterious crush, Dex. Until the end, I wasn't sure what the outcome would be. While Laila is never really romantic with James, everyone knows that you can fall for your best guy friend (like me!) before you even realizing what is going on. But I also know what it is like to like the bad guy. Which even with my experiences, I really wanted her to go for Dex. He is mysterious, annoying and kind of mean to Laila. But the heart wants what the heart wants.
My least favorite part of the book: it ended. No, honestly. I was pretty pissed the way it ended and the fact that I have to wait till 2014 to find out what the hell happens next.
Overall, I recommend this book for 12+, simply because it does have some violence in it. But I think that anyone mature enough to read violence of any kind should be able to get into this book. I give this book 4/5 stars for awesomeness!