*I received an ecopy of this book via Edelweiss. This has not influenced my review.*
I enjoyed this book. It was slow-paced without much action until the end, but it had a good mystery and some likeable characters.
I really liked the main character, Geni. She was intelligent, mature, and just imperfect enough to be realistic. Her first thoughts in regards to the magical, dangerous book was that she wanted nothing to do with it (which was smart). When she realized that wasn’t an option, she wanted to find it so she could destroy it, and she continued to handle things as best as she could. Even at the dinner party when Henry started flirting with her, she considered the possibility that he might’ve been sent by his father to find out more about her and what she knew, so she didn’t let her guard down. She made a decision near the end that didn’t quite make sense, but it wasn’t so bad as to ruin the book.
Henry was likeable too, in a sweet way. He’s the type of person I’d love to have around in real life because he was so kind.
As for the plot, as I said, it was kind of slow with not a whole lot happening for a while since Geni was trying to figure out the mystery. It was frustrating and didn’t really make sense that Geni’s mother would’ve kept Geni in the dark about everything the way she did though (one of those, if we’re being honest, seemingly forced plot things that had to happen in order for there to be a story). But that issue was offset some by the fact that Geni also thought it was the wrong move on her mother’s part and was equally frustrated. It was also offset some by the fact that Baby (a nickname, he’s basically her dad, though not by blood) told her everything he knew and was there to help her with all this. That’s something you don’t see often in YA books where the protagonist has to figure out some sort of mystery—the character actually getting information and help from an adult. I liked that Baby really did play such a big part in things and was always there to help and tell her what he knew.
Last but not least, there was the setting. I had hoped, when I saw the protag was an aerialist in a circus, there would be some actual circus stuff, especially about performing, but there wasn’t much, other than the elephants and the fact that they lived in trailers on the circus grounds. And I can’t see the next one having much circus either. That disappointment is on me though for having certain expectations. And I’ll admit the elephants were adorable (they were rescues, treated well, and I think they were eventually going to go to a sanctuary).
So overall, while this wasn’t as circus-y as I wanted it to be, it had mystery, a bit of romance, some supernatural abilities, and a main character who was easy to root for!
Anyone who likes mystery, slow-paced stories, mature and intelligent protags, and YA books in which teens and adults actually work together.
Growing up in the Cinzio Traveling Players circus, Genevieve Flannery is accustomed to a life most teenagers could never imagine: daily workouts of extravagant acrobatics; an extended family of clowns; wild animals for pets; and her mother Delia, whose mind has always been tortured by visions—but whose love for Geni is unwavering. In a world of performers who mystify and amaze on a daily basis, even Delia’s ghostly visions never seemed all that strange . . . until the evening Geni and her mother are performing an aerial routine they’ve done hundreds of times before, and Delia falls to her death.
That night, everything changes.
Already reeling from the tragedy, the Cinzio Traveling Players have even more to adjust to when the circus falls under new ownership. Though the new benefactor seems incredibly generous, Geni suspects his motives are much darker. And when the owner’s son, Henry, starts taking an interest in her, is it actual attraction, or an attempt to get her to lower her guard so his father can secure what he’s really after?
Suddenly swept with the terrifying visions that plagued her mother, Geni’s no longer sure who she should trust or love. And, worst of all, she’s starting to question whether she can trust her own mind.
Sommersby blends teenage drama, sizzling romance, ancient lore, and dangerous magic, against the bewitching backdrop of the circus in this atmospheric, lushly-written tale.