The Bonaventure Adventures

288p. Puffin. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780143198505.
Gr 3–6—Young Sebastian Konstantinov's father is the ringmaster of a traveling circus. Seb journeys with his father and the circus all over Eastern Europe, though Seb lacks any natural circus talent. Ticket sales have been dismal lately, but the boy lands a full scholarship to the Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal. Bonaventure's directrice may be under the mistaken impression that Seb is a circus prodigy, but Seb believes that he can help make his father's show more marketable if he learns the ways of the modern circus. What he does not realize until he arrives is that Bonaventure is under significant financial strain. Now Seb and his two new friends must find a way to save their school and avoid being expelled. The protagonist is a forward thinker who understands that fresh ideas keep audiences interested in the performing arts. The bonds of friendship among the band of misfits are forged gradually and convincingly. Significantly, Seb sometimes struggles to balance his needs as an introvert with those of his friends. The resolution is a bit abrupt but satisfying nonetheless. The still-mysterious identity of Seb's mother and Seb's invitation to apply for a second year at Bonaventure leave ample room for a sequel.
VERDICT Recommend to circus lovers; purchase where circus-set fiction is popular.

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