A good girl trying to find herself.
A troubled boy running from his past.
The seductive allure of the cirque.
One summer that will change them both forever …
Eighteen-year-old ballerina Ariel is determined to experience life outside the dance studio. She auditions for the cirque on a whim, and though ballet training didn’t prepare her for dodging knives, she refuses to flinch and wins the spot of target girl alongside Gabriel, the mysterious knife-thrower. There’s something unmistakably dangerous yet tempting about Gabriel’s crystal blue eyes and tattoos. She’s determined to solve the mystery of his past after learning he’s on the run from the law. Especially since the distraction is just what she needs to avoid admitting to her parents she was dismissed from her ballet contract.
The more she learns about Gabriel, the scars on his body, the foster homes he grew up in, and his fascination with knives, she knows she should run the other way, but that boy’s like crack, oh so bad for you, yet addicting as hell. When he’s arrested and forced to deal with his past, she has to choose between putting her own life back together and dealing with her parents, or taking a chance on Gabriel, as no one else has.
Eighteen year old Ariel has been let go of her dancing contract. Although shes upset, she had lost her passion for it. On a whim, she auditions for the Cirque and although her ballet training doesn’t come in handy, she’s given a chance at becoming a target girl – to have knives thrown at her. Determined not to flinch, she wins the spot alongside Gabriel, the mysterious, blue-eyed, tattooed knife-thrower.
After hearing how close-lipped he is, especially about his past, Ari is determined to solve the mystery after finding out he’s on the run. This is a great distraction from telling her parents about her ballet contract, but the more time they spend together, the more Ariel is falling for her act partner and the more she learns about him, she should be running away, but she just can’t stay away from him.
When he’s arrested and forced to deal with his past, Ariel then knows she too, must deal with everything in her life, much the same as Gabriel, as well as learning to take a chance on Gabriel, which means telling her parents everything and finding out how to help him.
We first meet Ariel when she is being let out of her ballet contract. She seems a bit flustered about it, but she understands the reason. She just doesn’t feel ballet anymore and they can tell. But because of this, she’s apprehensive about what shes going to do next, how to tell her parents as they will be coming to see a show she’s not in anymore, what she’s going to do in her life now that ballet has been taken away.
Exiting the building, she sees a leaflet about auditions for a traveling cirque and thinks ‘why the hell not’. Although there isn’t a slot for her dancing, she is given the chance to audition to become a target girl. Without flinching when the knives are being thrown at her, she’s given the job. Although hesitating about being a human target, it’s a chance to get away from New York, a chance to be free for the summer and a chance to figure out how to tell her parents about being fired.
I really enjoyed reading about Ariel’s journey throughout the book. She’s deemed as being innocent with her big eyes and a bit naïve but it’s probably due to the fact she seemed quite lost in this whole different world she was now in and a bit lost as to what to do now she didn’t have ballet. She had been in this bubble all her life where she tried to impress her parents but now she was free, she didn’t know what to do. I loved how she progressed though, to becoming stronger, to facing her fears (after a while) and finally finding a place in the world. She gained a backbone when everything happened in the book, and I loved her for it. She stood her ground over Dmitri and Gabriel and proved she wasn’t some little girl. She was brilliant.
When we meet Gabriel, he’s sat alone, reading a book. When he’s called to let Ariel audition, she sees the intensity in his eyes. He’s dangerous and mysterious but shes intrigued by him. He’s the type of person to keep himself to himself and he hardly talks to Ariel, which only frustrates her because shes panicking over their act. He makes it awkward for her as he seems to stay away. But she can’t stay away from him. Shes attracted to him and to get his attention she starts playing games with Gabriel, by trying to make him jealous that she goes to Dmitri, an acrobat with a reputation, whom hates Gabriel. The feeling being mutual.
Gabriel is very protective over Ariel and literally saves her from a situation which could have turned out horrible. After that, the two become friends, but Gabriel is still blowing hot and cold with Ariel and its stressing her out because she’s starting to fall for him. Their relationship slowly begins to turn from friendship to much more, and when Gabriel tells Ariel bits of his past, she doesn’t run like he expects her to. Because he grew up in foster care homes, he’s closed off and afraid to get close to people in fear they will leave him too, but Arial doesn’t do that. She’s invested in him but when everything turns to pot and Gabriel gets arrested, it’s down to Ariel to face her fears, much like Gabriel does. What does this mean for them both?
Oh totally have a new book boyfriend. Gabriel, although looking like your typical bad boy was anything but. He read romance novels; he painted, loved his dog, Gertie and was very protective over Arial, which took their friend Sasha, by surprise as he has never acted this way before. He was closed-off; in fear of letting anyone in as he was sure they would leave him much like everyone else did. Sure, he has a past, and although he ran from it, he went back and dealt with it. I was proud at him for sticking up for Arial, for letting his guard down around her and trusting her with his past. I was also proud that he went and dealt with his past.
Their relationship was intense. Before they got together, the chemistry sizzled every time they were together and it kept building up that I was shaking my kindle and wishing for something, anything to happen between them. I was desperate!! I loved how their relationship progressed. From friendship to being in a relationship. It wasn’t rushed, like most books. It took time and patience (although Arial wasn’t patient at all) and it was really nice to see the progression, especially as neither of them could stay away from one another for too long. It was like a magnet pulling them closer each time.
I disliked Dmitri from the moment he entered the story. Although he seemed nice enough, you could see that he was preying on Ari; she was the new girl. The more we get to see him and his personality, you will be wanting and wishing something bad to happen to him He was sleazy, a creeper and would do anything to get into Ari’s pant, even though she was only using him to make Gabriel notice her more. Little did she know, she already had Gabriel’s attention. Yes she made mistakes, but she just wanted to find herself and she made the right choice in the end.
Sasha and Tanner were amazing friends to be Ariel and Gabriel. I loved their friendship and commitment throughout the summer. They were always there for each other, from the start, through the drama’s and right to the end. Just brilliant friends to have.
My favourite scene. Hmm…I’m going to say when Gabriel took Ari on a ‘first date’ and took her hiking where they had a picnic. Oh how I wish he took me with him. I loved that scene because you could see the attraction and sexual chemistry between them and I was hoping something was going to happen to further this ‘in between relationship/friendship’ thing they had going on. I’m not going to tell you what happened, but I was giggling like the girl I am.
The ending. Oh how I was longing for a happy ever after and I got it. THANK YOU RYANN. I adored what happened. It was long awaited and it brought a massive smile to my face that they finally got to be together after everything that had happened that summer. The perfect way, to end a perfect book.
I liked the setting. A travelling cirque? Yes please. I used to go to these when I was younger, albeit, I can’t remember anything that happened, but reading this book made me wish I had some great talent so I could be a part of it. I loved reading about the performers and the performances; Ms Kerekes really brought them to life and brought the atmosphere alive through the book as well. The writing and the plot flowed perfectly; I felt the unease, the frustration, the adrenaline, the lust etc coming from Ari in the act and behind the scenes. The Cirque made me laugh, had me smiling, frustrated, giddy and on edge. I’m so glad I spotted this on Amazon and downloaded it immediately. Ya’ll should too!
If you’re after a book about finding your place in the world, about taking risks, falling in love and making some amazing friends along the way along with some drama thrown in, then this book is the one for you. It’s a coming of age story.
I’d definitely recommend The Cirque to everyone.