384p. ebook available. HarperCollins/ABC Books. Sept. 2015. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780733328923.
Gr 7 Up—Forrest spins an enchanting and mysterious tale of an unusual summer camp with links to the ancient world. The night before the Cirque d'Avenir camp in Seacliff, Australia, begins, Tallulah dreams of a conflict in Justinian's Hippodrome between circus performers lead by his queen, Theodora, and hordes of beast men. In her dream, Theodora seems to wield amazing powers using a jeweled cuff that is identical to one that Lu's nanny, Irene, left in her care. Irene has carefully schooled Tallulah in using mind-casting powers, but Tallulah is astonished to discover that other teens at camp have powers as well. The camp has some connections to the Cirkulatti, a mysterious group of circus performers, and there are rumors about the evil Cirknero. The teens train in the highly difficult skills of circus performing and school their mental gifts, and, as with any high pressure situation, there are rivalries. A burglary at her home, followed by an attack at a friend's antique store, convinces Lu that the competition is the least of her worries. Teens may find the Australian and circus terms unfamiliar, but it is those same elements and the author's vivid prose that set this apart from other contemporary YA fantasies.
VERDICT Readers who rise to the challenge will swiftly succumb to the alluring and magical call of the circus.

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