Book Review: Girl on a Wire (Girl on a Wire Book 1) by Gwenda Bond

Jules, a wire walker, gets an opportunity to join a traveling circus with her family of performers, and she persuades them to take it despite the bad blood between her family and the Garcias, another family in the show. Jules just wants to follow her dreams to be like her wire walking idol, but strange, magical, dangerous things start happening, and Jules teams up Remy Garcia, the boy who's supposed to be her enemy, to delve into their families' pasts and solve the mystery.

Book Review: Girl on a Wire (Girl on a Wire Book 1) by Gwenda Bond | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, magical realism, young adult, retelling, romeo & juliet retelling, circus
Title: Girl on a Wire
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 386
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


I knew I wanted this book as soon as I saw it because CIRCUS! I absolutely love circus. And one of the best things about this book, as opposed to other circus books, was that the author really delved into the descriptions of the acts and made the practices and performances an integral part of the story rather than just using the circus as a backdrop.

Not only that, the descriptions of the wire walking and trapeze—not even of what skills the performers did but rather of how they carried themselves and what was going through their minds—were so beautifully written and somehow felt both real and surreal all at once, which was just kind of perfect.

The way he moved was enough, so easy that everyone watching believed gravity had given up on trying to keep him tethered to earth. He simply walked on air.

I also appreciated the descriptions of Jules’s costumes because they sounded gorgeous and because getting into costume is just as much a part of performing as the rest. And I couldn’t help but smile at the part about her getting ready in the “nondescript women’s restroom” because anyone who’s ever been a performer of any kind—circus, gymnastics, drama, dance, etc.—can relate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that, and I love that it was mentioned because it’s always struck me as an interesting part of the experience, that contrast of getting all decked out in makeup and glitter and hairspray… in such a plain, forgettable, random public restroom, but I digress.

As for the characters, Jules was a great protagonist, especially for a YA book, because she was relatable and a great role model. She worked hard to achieve her dreams and was mature, intelligent, and confident. But she was only 16, so she wasn’t perfect, she sometimes got distracted by boys, she didn’t always have the answers, and she sometimes acted on impulse. But in the end she always learned from her mistakes. And then there was Remy, who managed to charm me the same way he did Jule’s with his good looks, witty banter, hard work, and sincerity. Even the side characters were well-developed with their own lives and story arcs. Plus the relationship between Jules and Remy was a supportive, healthy one.

The plot was also interesting, with bits of magic trickled throughout. I was so glad the mystery was never forced like it is in some books (I can’t stand it when characters are vague for no reason).

Ok I’m about to wrap this up because it’s getting kind of long, but I simply can’t resist sharing one more amazing quote…

Remy stilled. It was impossible not to notice when he went motionless, because he was usually so filled with energy. He was rarely truly still. Some part of him was always swinging through the air at high speed, even when he was sitting next to me.

So overall, this was a wonderful book with beautiful writing about circus, love, and magic, and really, I can’t think of a more perfect combination!


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  1. Lola

    Sounds like the author really makes the circus come alive with her descriptions of the acts, thoughts during them and the descriptions of clothing! The touch of magic and the mystery that wasn’t forced sounds great. And it’s great when you find a YA protagonist like that, who is relatable even though she isn’t perfect and makes mistakes sometimes. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much and it was a well done circus book!

    1. Kristen Burns

      She really does make the circus aspect come alive! And those types of teenage protags who are realistically flawed yet still likeable are hard to come by but the best to read about. And books that actually include lots of circus and do it well are also hard to come by lol. Thank you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I don’t think anyone is surprised. I mean, what?! I thought everyone would be shocked since my love of circus is so super secret and all 😉 I do recommend it though, I thought it was a good book all around 🙂

  2. Greg

    Hey I remember that cover from a while back. Glad this one worked and is authentic- nice touch with the costuming bit. And the characters- love it when the are realistic. YA protags of course are not always lol. Nice that they have a healthy relationship in the story. I think we’ve talked about this before but circuses and traveling fairs and things of that sort are such a great setting for magic and paranormal stuff. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh I read this in like 2014 lol, but I’ve used the cover in numerous different cover posts. It’s definitely the most circus-y of all the circus books I’ve read since so much of it really did involve the high-wire act and even some of the trapeze. And yes, funny how I just had posts about both characters and relationships lol, but they were great in this book. We did talk about that, and circus settings really are *perfect* for paranormal and magical stuff!

  3. Annika @ Hiding Books

    I’ve got Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda that I should get around to reading soonish! I might try to go for this one afterwards… As you said, because Circus 😉
    Healthy relationships in books are always good too. Sounds like this would definitely be up my alley, because YA, magic, some romance… those are my things, and I admit it.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I love any book about the circus so I like the sound of this. Add in a romantic interest called Remy (I’ve been in love with Gambit from the X-Men ever since I was about 8 years old) and I am totally there for this book. It sounds like a good read, as well, especially as it’s a magical realism book (a genre I want to explore further). Great review, I will hopefully read this soon.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay another circus book lover!!! It is a good book, at least I thought so lol, and a great choice if you’re also looking to try more magical realism 🙂 Thanks!

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    The only book I’ve read dealing with a circus was The Night Circus. I love the detail that Bond seems to have provided in this story. I was getting a little worried while reading your review that maybe the characters weren’t as well developed as the world so I was really happy when you said Jules was great. 🙂 It sounds like this story blends everything together so well. I’ll have to check it out.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Gah, I *still* haven’t read The Night Circus! But I definitely recommend this if you want to try another circus book. I know I might be biased with the circus stuff and all lol, but I did feel the characters and relationship came across really well too 🙂