A good girl trying to find herself.
A troubled boy running from his past.
The seductive allure of the cirque.
One summer that will change them both forever …
Eighteen year old ballerina Ariel is determined to experience life outside the dance studio. She auditions for the cirque on a whim, and though ballet training didn’t prepare her for dodging knives, she refuses to flinch and wins the spot of target girl alongside Gabriel, the mysterious knifethrower. There’s something unmistakably dangerous yet tempting about Gabriel’s crystal blue eyes and tattoos. She’s determined to solve the mystery of his past after learning he’s on the run from the law. Especially since the distraction is just what she needs to avoid admitting to her parents she was dismissed from her ballet contract. The more she learns about Gabriel, the scars on his body, the foster homes he grew up in, and his fascination with knives, she knows she should run the other way, but that boy’s like crack, oh
so bad for you, yet addicting as hell. When he’s arrested and forced to deal with his past, she has to choose between putting her own life back together and dealing with her parents, or taking a chance on Gabriel, as no one else has.
When we meet Ariel she’s just been dismissed by her ballet company. She’s not even really upset about it; she numb. She’s worked her whole life for it, but she never really enjoyed it. She knows her parents–who are at the summer-house in Tuscany, try not to be jealous–will flip when they find out, so Ariel runs. It’s probably the first time in her life she hasn’t done what she’s “supposed” to do. She spies an open audition for a traveling show (something that I imagined to be somewhat like a Cirque du Soleil, but not quite), is hired and before she knows it she’s left New York and is on the road, traveling in buses and sleeping in a trailer. And the best part? She’s paired up with the knifethrower. Yeah. He throws knifes. At her. She seriously could not have chosen a greater departure from her sheltered life as a ballerina.
Ariel isn’t sure what she’s doing. For the summer she’s lying to her parents–who believe she has a spot with the ballet company– but really she’s just delaying the inevitable. In some ways, she’s obviously hiding, too afraid to own up to the truth that she doesn’t love ballet, too afraid to disappoint her mother’s dreams. In other ways, she’s branching out. She’s making friends and experiencing things she never would have otherwise. And did I mention she’s doing this all while crushing on an extremely hot guy? Yes, he throws knives at her, but we like him. He’s mysterious, but it’s clear from the beginning that he’s a good guy.
Most of the story is spent focusing on Ari’s relationship with Gabriel (the does he or doesn’t he?). There are things she’s heard about his past, but they don’t line up with who he is. At the same time, one moment it feels as though they’re on the edge of something and the next he’s closed off. They have good chemistry and good tension. In the end, Ariel and Gabriel both have to own up the their past, their future and be honest about who they are and where they need to be.
What I Liked:
Hello, Ari is basically in a traveling circus of sorts! I loved this idea. This book is considered New Adult, meaning Ari is eighteen, she’s out of high school, but she isn’t living the full-fledged adult lifestyle yet (that’s my interpretation of the New Adult genre books I’ve read). She’s new to romance and throws herself in with Gabriel all the way, and I loved that about her personality. At the same time, it would have been nice to see her more interested in exploring her freedom and less concerned with whether or not Gabriel liked her, meaning I wanted to see her give him her full heart (which she did), but not be consumed with him. I enjoyed the relationships she forged on the road and would have liked to have seen more of that aspect of her life and less of the wondering about Gabriel.
Crush Intensity: 3.0/5 For more information on the blog tour or to see more reviews, you can check out the tour schedule.
Giveaway: Up for grabs is ONE signed paperback (US only) and TWO ebook
copies (Kindle or Nook). Winners will be chosen on Saturday, March 9. Click here to enter.
Thank you to Ryann Kerekes and Madison Says for inviting me to read The Cirque!