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Learning the Ropes
By author: Monique Polak
Selling Points: circus, ropes, aerials, competition, tragedy, ambition
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: May/01/2015
Fry Reading Level: 6.0
Pages: 168
Fiction Ages 11-14
Price:  $9.95
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Mandy dreams of a career in the circus, working as an aerialist who specializes in rope climbing. When she is accepted into the prestigious Montreal Circus College summer program, she feels that she is finally on her way to fulfilling her dreams. At circus camp she is befriended—and challenged—by young circus performers from around the world. Circus camp turns out to be a magical combination of work and play, but when a veteran aerialist is killed in a fall, Mandy must confront the reality of circus life.
Montreal Review of Books - August 1, 2015
"With her strong dialogue and consistent narrative voice, Monique Polak succeeds in convincing the reader that a fifteen-year-old really is telling the story...Even if the YA reader is not interested in circus arts or gymnastics, this book is still a guaranteed fun read."
Booklist - May 1, 2015
"Maintains an internal focus while offering an interesting glimpse behind the scenes of the circus world...Readers will get a taste of the hard work and danger that go into performing."
VOYA - April 1, 2015
"An inspirational story...[that] tackles more than perseverance and ambition...[including] female competition, body image, and the pressure of gender expectations for young girls in society...The [Orca Limelights] stories are quick, bite-sized reads, but they pack a punch—the well-developed stories have relatable characters and entertaining plots. This book will appeal to a diverse audience of young female readers."
Kirkus Reviews - March 1, 2015
"One of a growing number of novellas focused on teens trying to become professional entertainers, and the choice of the circus as its subject certainly pops the book out of the norm. Full of interesting and varied characters, the story stands up well, and the author describes the difficult aerial maneuvers vividly. A quick read with a fascinating focus."
School Library Journal - March 1, 2015
"Will hook readers from the first chapter...True to life and easy to grasp...A suspenseful plot, fascinating details, and a likable protagonist make this title a wonderful addition to hi-lo collections."

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Performing arts novels
for ages 11–14

Key Features:
Aimed at middle-school
students with an interest
in the performing arts.
Topics include music, dance, theater, the circus and magic.

Paperback $9.95

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