Blood Circus

Blackstone. Jan. 2023. 350p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9798200816088. .
Gr 9 Up–This post-apocalyptic coming-of-age novel starts quickly and sets the scene well. Within a few pages, readers know the timing, hints of location, and a couple of the main characters. Sixteen-year-old Ava is trying to find her way through an environment that favors both boys and brawn. Reminiscent of Kim Liggett’s The Grace Year, with its roots in mysticism and strict rules about what girls are allowed to do, here Ava struggles with the strictures placed on her from outside her family. The school bully is always furious with her, his father always takes his son’s side, and even her understanding brother Mercy, tumble through her thoughts but she remains trapped in the woods, on the wrong side of the fence, unable to escape. The Klujn capture and take Ava into enemy territory to fight for her life. Victoire’s lyrical prose and the clear and informative dialog of key characters are a pleasure as readers find themselves immersed in a horrifying future. The pacing fits the action perfectly and the vivid prose is descriptive. Readers who enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing, The Hunger Games, and strong female protagonists in Alison Goodman’s Eon and Eona, will love this novel of hardship, mystery, gore, and growth. Ava’s reflective questioning will make readers consider their own societal norms.
VERDICT A first choice for high school libraries.

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