Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner...

How I Heard About It:  This was another novel that I have been anticipating greatly.  Readers started talking about it on Twitter several months ago and the praise was so positive.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  The cover alone was so intriguing.  I began the book a couple days ago and finished today.  It was one of those stories that took hold and didn't let go until the end.  I'm not sure it even let go then.

What It Is About:  Circa is a twelve-year-old girl living with her mom and dad who are both quite creative artists.  Her mother is a photographer and her father restores old pictures.  Circa learns that her dad also likes to "Shopt" some of the photographs by adding his own creative spin on them.  He and Circa begin to work on these "Shopt" pictures and Circa couldn't be more happy.  Life changes quickly for Circa one day and she has to learn to work on and create these pictures on her own.  Her mother isn't much help since she is dealing with her own emotional issues.  Circa does have her best friend Nettie, but it isn't the same as before with her dad.  One day a boy shows up on Circa's doorstop and ends up turning Circa and her mother's life upside down and inside out.  Circa ends up on a mission to find out what this stranger boy, her father, and the "Shopt" photographs all have to do with each other and of course herself.  

What I Thought Of It:  I absolutely loved this book.  When I first started I was so excited because of all I heard about the novel.  The first few chapters didn't grab me right away, but once I hit the part when Miles shows up on the doorstep, I couldn't put it down.  This is such a creative story.  It is part realistic fiction.  It is part mystery.  It is part fantasy.  They are all rolled into one gigantic wonderful story of Circa and her family.  I wanted to read quickly to find out what was going to happen, but I also had to slow myself down so I didn't miss anything going on.  There are so many layers to the story that build to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion.

Who Should Read It:  This is really a perfect novel and all of our young readers should read it.  I think strong readers in fourth grade couldn't handle it on their own.  In my opinion, it is just right for those children in fifth and sixth grade, but would also be enjoyed by middle-school readers.  The novel would also make for a terrific read aloud because of the mystery and/or fantasy elements.  Listeners would just eat it up.  Each chapter ends with a mini cliff-hanger which always makes for a terrific read aloud.  I'm also going to recommend it to my adult reader friends.  I know they would enjoy it just as much as young people.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars 

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