Learning the Ropes

  • Pages:168
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:circus, ropes, aerials, competition, tragedy, ambition
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  • Pub Date:05/01/2015
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 9-12
  • Lexile:HL710L
  • ATOS:4.6
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Y
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9781459804524
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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.
"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."
– Kirkus Reviews
"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."
– School Library Journal
"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."
– VOYA
"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."
– Booklist
"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."
– Montreal Review of Books