‘The Circus’ by Olivia Levez: Okay, But Not Great

★★☆☆☆

I’ll be honest right away. I could barely get through this book. 

The beginning of the book was interesting; WIllow, the main character, creates an air of mystery around her life, and the scene where she cuts buttons off of a wedding dress belonging to ‘The Handbag’ is intriguing. That’s what originally drew me in. 

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Ultimately, though, I couldn’t get into this story. It felt to me like a little girl running from her wealthy father because he’s remarrying. The character came across as immature, even as her character developed. Of course, she is young — she is immature. But the writing itself felt a little underdeveloped. It rang some Cinderealla-esque bells, and that was interesting for a little while, but Willow’s journey just didn’t get there for me. 

I’m going to give this book 2.5 stars, simply because I could barely get through it. I feel like it was missing something. Whether that something was more editing and development, or something else, I don’t know. But I actually read two other books before I even finished this one, and I don’t think I would have finished it if I didn’t have to write this review.

That being said, I’m sure there are people who this book would resonate with, and who may enjoy it much more than I did. I believe this book appeals to the younger side of YA, which is one of the reasons the divide between adult and YA is so strange to me. Much of American YA is skewed toward 17- to 25-year-olds rather than young teenagers, which is weird because YA used to skew much younger with books like Charlotte’s Web, The Phantom Tollbooth, Little House on the Prarie, and any Judy Blume novel ever. 

The Circus felt like one those older YA books, meant for younger audiences. Even so, it was a little underdeveloped and hard to get through, so my rating still stands. 

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