Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

At first Sherwood California is just a stop among many. They had been to California before. I thought the descriptions we're boring. I just couldn't get hooked.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.  I really enjoyed this book and thought it had a great story. Author did a great job on her first novel.  I will recommend this read to my family and friends.
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An angsty, standalone with a dark theme, but sweet feels. I honestly need more books about trapeze artists. It felt like I was reading something completely new in that aspect and with the oversaturation you tend to find in today's YA world, it was so refreshing! I just wish there had been more of it here, I loved it. While the pacing wasn't always ideal for me, the story itself was enough to keep me turning the pages. If you're a fan of contemporary reads, give this one a try!
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Trapeze by Leigh Ansell

I wanted to love this book. I really did. But at 60% of the way through I had to DNF it. 

It started out with so much promise! A modern day circus, a young trapeze artist in training with a sad family history, a potential love interest, a devastating fire, and a snobby rival. I was so excited! But then after the first 60 pages.... nothing. The story completely changed into, well, not much. I had already felt so much attachment to the characters I met at the circus that I didn't care about any of the characters Corey meets after she leaves the circus. They were so mundane compared to all the excitement at the start of the story.

My main gripe with this story is that I was prepared for some high flying circus action. The story set me up for that. But what I got was a mundane high school experience of a teenage girl who, frankly, could have been anybody. 

I truly think the author is a very talented writer. I just don't particularly like the direction she took with this story when she had all the ingredients to make it something extraordinary. I would like to give Leigh Ansell another chance when she publishes her next novel (which I hope she does very soon!) But this one just wasn't for me.
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I was originally drawn in by the cover of this book (this will be a reoccurring theme in my reviews- prepare yourself now!). I was a little bit intrigued why the author chose to use a depiction of an aerial silks performer versus a performer dangling from a trapeze.
I thought this was particularly odd because in the book, the trapeze trio and the aerial silks performers are somewhat rivals. Below I have inserted the Wattpad original cover art, which I like, but I'm glad Leigh didn't stick with that one either.
Overall, I was sucked into this book and loved it! There were easy connections to be made with the characters and backstory that was revealed throughout the novel at a beautiful pace. 
The main character gets thrown into a lot after the fire. There's mother-daughter dynamic, high school drama to navigate and dating. For someone who has very little experience with traditional schooling or the insane social hierarchy that comes with the territory, Corey adapts relatively well. 
The town has heavy prejudices against the circus, which makes Corey keep her past a secret. The only person who knows is Luke and she relies heavily on him throughout the book. The other friends she makes, Corey keeps her distance from and doesn't ever truly let them in until her secret is revealed. Secrets always have a way of finding their way to the surface, no matter how hard we try to bury them.
I am IN LOVE with the fact that this story came from WattPad and went through traditional publishing! I am so proud of Leigh and wish her all the success in the world! That's something all writers dream of!
*I was given this book through Netgalley for free to review!
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I've never read any books about a circus and the Trapeze artists are always a favorite of mine when I go to a circus, so I was looking forward to learning more about the inner workings of a circus.  This book did give me a glimpse of what life in the circus is like but unfortunately, that's about all it did for me.  I thought the writing was elementary at times and the character developement wasn't what I normally like to see when reading a book, especially a YA book.  Maybe this book is better if the reader is a teenager, but for me personally, it just wasn't why cup of tea.
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During my particularly active time on Wattpad, Trapeze was one of the books that I kept on hearing other Wattpad users rave about, but I never got the chance to actually open up the book and start reading, due to other books piling up my TBR list. I have, however, read Friendship for Dummies (another book by Leigh Ansell).

And I'm so glad that I requested to read this book on Netgalley! Compared to other books in Wattpad, Trapeze definitely stands out. Even in the world of traditionally published books, I'm sure that Leigh's incredible debut would be an enjoyable read. Without giving out any spoilers, I loved the ending of the book. I liked how it wasn't what the reader was necessarily expecting, but it still gave a proper closure of the book, though if there was a sequel, I definitely wouldn't oppose to that idea! The characters of the book, including their flaws in the high school dynamic, were realistic, which I appreciated. However, the reason why I'm not giving this book full stars is because I feel like the middle part of the book lacked something. I was looking for more in the middle, though I definitely did get it at the end of the book!
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Cory’s life is amazing. Traveling with the circus is all she has ever dreamed about until the night of the fire. Her life turns completely upside down and she has to learn to live life like a normal teenager. Not as easy as it sounds. The story follows Corey along through the joys and the heartaches of high school life all the while she is hiding her true identity. I enjoyed this one although it took a bit to get into. Thank you NetGalley for the early review copy. 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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by Leigh Ansell

Wattpad Books

Literary Fiction , Teens & YA

Pub Date 10 Sep 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Trapeze through Wattpad Books and Netgalley:

Corey Ryder was a seventeen year old who can’t remember a time when she wasn’t gliding through the air of Cirque Mystique’s big top.  She’s a trapeze artist in a traveling circus.  Corey wakes up every day in a different place, buzzing for the moment she can suspend gravity during the night’s performance.

As the Circus pulls into a small Sherwood California town everything feels normal other than meeting the handsome Luke Everett at the diner.  That very night in the midst of the performance though tragedy strikes when flames overtake the tent.  Corey narrowly escapes, in the ashes of the circus pitch lies the only home she’s ever known.

Corey is repeatedly thrown out of her comfort zone and must learn to move towards the future without forgetting her past including what it means to be a Mother to a daughter she has never known, and what it means to be the daughter to a Mother she has never known, and how to navigate the confusing magic of first love, even as she performs the high-wire act of being true to who you really are.

I give Trapeze five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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I love circus books! Like, if I see anything surrounding one, I am immediately intrigued.

We follow a traveling, teenaged trapeze artist as she navigates through a small town. There, she meets a cute boy at the local diner and doesn’t realize that her quick trip through the town will turn into a more permanent residence. After tragedy strikes and old connections are regrown, her life becomes more than the circus.

This book is about family ties, tons of young love, and just growing up in a more “normal” life.

I gave this one 3 out of 5 stars. Some of the writing seemed a bit hashed out and more on the bland side. I loved when we got to learn more about her life as a trapeze artist and the circus vibes.

I think this is a lighter, YA Contemporary Romance that combines circus with high school life.
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I loved how this book was set in the circus and followed a trapeze artist, I haven't read any books like this which set it apart from the other books in my pile. 
I found the book a great pace and I really enjoyed it. I loved how Corey's struggles were what typical teens go through despite her being anything but typical. Luke was a great character and I liked how he was so welcoming to Corey from the get go of the book. This book has so much more than what first meets the eye and I found it just got better and better.
If this is Leigh Ansell's debut I can't wait to read her next book.
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* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

3.5 stars. This was a cute YA read with some stereotypical high school tropes while still having enough originality to be something fun and different. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I liked it just the same. Corey is a trapeze artist who gets ripped from her life following a fire at the circus she performs in. She winds up living in the town of Sherwood, California and attending the local high school. This shift in her life is difficult and she finds herself in several new situations that she isn't quite sure how to respond to. It's a bit of a stumbling journey for her. 

I liked this book well enough, but in the end found a few things lacking for my own tastes. With the title of "Trapeze", I expected much more of the circus atmosphere, but that dissolved rather quickly and it was moved to the side as things swayed into more of a stereotypical high school YA novel. The writing was good, I will admit and I stayed fairly hooked with the narrative despite the movement away from the element that drew me to the book in the first place. 

The character of Corey was created well enough, with her personality fully displayed and her emotional journey well explored. However, the supporting characters felt a little flat to me and sometimes their character shifted in a way that felt unnatural to everything that had been developed so far in the story. This happened in particular with Luke and, on one notable occasion, with Kim. I needed more plot development on these side characters.

In fact, the plot was where most of my issues stemmed. The pacing moved really well for about 2/3 of the book, but seemed to go completely out of whack for the last 1/3. It moved overly quickly and things tumbled together in a way that felt a little overly contrived. I wanted it to be a bit more convoluted and complex. is oh so often my juggernaut, the ending just didn't suit my tastes. It was handled well enough and everything was more or less tidied up and explained without being overly perfect, but it just didn't sit right with me. I'm not sure what exactly I needed other than I needed more. 

Overall, a good and quick YA read. I just was left a little underwhelmed.
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Thank you to NetGalley, WattPad Books and Leigh Ansell for an ARC ebook copy to review. So sorry that I didn't get the review done sooner, but unfortunate and unfun life circumstances got in the way. As always, an honest review from me.

- easy to read young adult book
- The first 50 pages or do set up the backstory so the reader really gets an idea of the character's life before everything happened to change her life. This writing style is good but a little slow. 
- The main character 

- the circus is a fun, unique atmosphere that isn't found in many books 

- despite a unique beginning, most of the book is a very typical young adult book set in a high school- kind of a let down since I was looking for something different 
- The romance interest 

Wish that: 
- Lived up to my expectations. The summary made it seem so much better and more relatable to experiences I had as a teenager, but that wasn't the case. More of a mismatch between the summary and the actual storyline.
- The main character was more mature and not the typical teenager in a young adult book. She was made to seem differently in the book summary. 

Overall, not the book for me. It's not bad, but instead of being unique it was more of a typical young adult trope.
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Trapeze, by Leigh Ansell, is an enjoyable YA novel that features a strong and independent protagonist. Corey has lived most of her life on the road in the circus as a trapeze-apprentice. Growing up traveling and primarily raised by her aunt and the circus her life is turned upside down when disaster strikes the only way of life she has known.  Corey and the mother she barely knows are brought together and Corey must try to adapt to normal teenage-American life which includes navigating high school and the social scene while flying under the radar of some troublemakers who could expose her past. 

Trapeze is another strong YA release this year; I felt at times that it was written by an English author because of certain idiosyncrasies and euphemisms. It was not a surprise to read the author's note and find out Leigh Ansell is from the United Kingdom, however it was very subtle and Ansell did excellent research on the American education system and culture.  The book's main character was well developed and I felt that trapeze was used as a metaphor throughout and very fitting as Corey is balancing a very fine tightrope as she misses her past but trying to embrace the future. Enjoyable read!
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I really wanted to love this book after reading some buzz about it online, but I found myself waiting for the standout material to begin. It's a great premise, but something about the fish out of water concept just rubbed me the wrong way. Corey has a gift and some magic to her life, and the turn of events that sent her to live with the mother she doesn't know just felt a little too much. Once we work to accept that, Corey's immersion in normal life has many relatable moments, and once she falls for a guy, what originally made her special filed her down into the usual teen girl model. This author has talent, for sure, and there are many, many gems in this book. Let's give this author some time to develop into a Sarah Dessen, as that's where she's headed. As she keeps working, we'll very soon want to read everything she creates. This book is a good first step (first swing?) toward that.
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I was actually very impressed with this book and the complexity it managed to achieve. Covering topics like domestic abuse and complicated family relationships, it packed a lot of meaning into a fun contemporary book. I found the trapeze parts of the story to be very interesting, and I thought Corey’s struggles with school, friends, and image were in line with what would realistically happen to someone in her situation.
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I decided to check out Trapeze by Leigh Ansell because I’m a fan of YA fiction and was intrigued about the life of a teenager in the circus.
Well, too bad for me that life in the circus was hardly covered; the author gave some very rudimentary exposition that anyone with a Google search could find, and the parts of the book where Corey was actually IN the circus were very short anyway.
Apart from that, there were other things that rubbed me the wrong way:
To start off – it’s known from the beginning that Corey is cared for by her aunt and uncle, and that mom isn’t in the picture. Eventually, it’s revealed that her mom got pregnant with Corey as a wild teenager, and was a train wreck who got messed up in drugs. Her aunt eventually intervened by bringing Corey with her on the road, and introducing her to circus life. This had me wondering: how was the TRAVELING CIRCUS the most stable environment for a toddler? What about her grandparents?! They were involved enough to help her mom get clean and put her life back together but had nothing to do with their grandchild? And after her mom got straightened out, and back on track, she still didn’t contact her daughter for FIFTEEN YEARS?? Not even a birthday card? Corey’s aunt even mentioned that her mom was the reason the circus kept circling back to that same area in California; so all that time, nobody ever mentioned, say, meeting for lunch? I wasn’t buying it. It seemed like lazy writing to me. If you want to have a girl grow up in the circus, fine. But come up with a plausible back story. 
And once disaster struck the circus, Aunt Shelby sure wasted no time dropping Corey off with her mother - a woman she doesn’t know at all – sending her away from everything and everybody she knows. Come on. She has raised Corey for almost her ENTIRE life and then, she drops her off in the middle of the road to meet a virtual stranger? I hope she at least came to a complete stop before having her get out of the car. And then she didn’t even go visit…some aunt she turned out to be. Again, another example of writing that is just looking to get from point A to point B without paying attention to details – like character development.
Another biggie – the author has written a YA book, but does not seem to know teenagers. Their conversations and interactions just don’t ring true. The “party scene” read like it was researched from watching 1980’s John Hughes’ movies – stereotyped and outdated. And do teenagers really go around saying, “He’s the most popular guy in school”? Maybe. But not the ones I know. Also, silly things, like Kim mentioning they’re going to be late by telling her friends, “We better get going…Physics is way across campus.” Yeah. They go to that school; they probably already know that. And speaking of school – it sounded like Corey never had any formal schooling prior to be dropped off at her mom’s. So…nobody cared that there are no school records to speak of? No placement exams or anything? Just show up in pre-calc- you’ll be fine!
Anybody who spends any time at all with a teenager knows they don’t go ANYWHERE without their phones and that they check them about as often as they blink. To expect Corey to discover that everybody knows about her blown cover by showing up at school and seeing her classmates’ reactions is ridiculous. And for Luke’s dad to freak out because Luke and Corey are gone and he has no idea where they went?? Uh, why didn’t he just call Luke? Or text him? Or use Find Friends like the rest of the planet? If you want to write about teenagers, but not include how their ENTIRE EXISTENCE in inundated with technology, set it in 1998.
The gist of the book was Corey being a fish out of water and having to fit in to a world she is completely unfamiliar with. That’s a universal teenage topic; everybody has felt like that at some point and that’s why it’s a theme that never gets old. But I don’t think the author needed to include so many other “important issues” – teenage pregnancy, bullying, child abuse, teenagers afraid to come out. Seriously, I think just about every After School Special topic was covered. 
Everything was tied up nice and neat - the evil dad is going to prison, the circus is back up and running due to an outrageously generous gift from an outrageously generous benefactor, and Corey is still probably going to end up with the adoring guy that she ignored for months. It was all a little too convenient for me, but whatever. Some people love those happily ever after endings.
And one last little thing: Corey’s mom is described as the “youngest” of two sisters. If there are only two, she would be the “younger.” Nitpicky, yes, but isn’t that kind of thing someone’s job to fix?
Okay, so this review is a little harsh. But it’s because I tuly think teenage readers (and adults who love YA books) deserve better. There are YA writers who get it right. This book didn’t. If you want to write about teenagers, for teenagers, get to know them first. 
Thank you, Netgalley, for giving me an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
When I was younger, I had dreams of running away and joining the circus. I always felt it would be amazing to move from place to place, getting to meet lots of different people, and work with so many amazing animals. That was until I realized that there would be clowns involved. I am in my early thirties and clowns still absolutely terrify me. 
Trapeze was such a great read. I felt very connected to Corey. The writing is beautifully descriptive and made me feel right there under the big top. I was completely immersed in ever page and could not put this down once I started. 
Ansell knows the perfect way to approach very sensitive topics such as abuse, bullying, dysfunctional families, and sexuality. Trapeze should definitely be on your fall TBR list.
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I adore circus books. This book was no exception to that rule. It was fun and sweet and cute and circusy to the max. Please read this one.
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I dabble into YA fiction from time to time because I like to try it for my teenage stepdaughters. I have found some real gems that I really enjoyed and with its background in the circus I was sure this would be one I would enjoy.

Corey is a teenager sigh a slightly unusual life in the circus Mystique. Estranged from her birth mother, Corey has been brought up her Aunt Shelby and trained as a trapeze artist. Now 17, Corey dreams of becoming the lead artist on trapeze and a lifelong career with the company. However, one fateful night in a town called Sherwood a terrible fire changes Corey’s future completely. Mystique are ruined and Aunt Shelby can’t give her a home anymore. The police are suspicious about the cause of  the fire and so many performers are injured there is no way forward. Corey is forced to reunite with her estranged mother who happens to live in Sherwood. Now she is like every other teenager, going to school every day and living in the suburbs. How will Corey adjust to this new way of living and will she ever build a relationship with her birth mother?

Family is a major part of the novel and I enjoyed the way the author subverted the usual ideas around the best way to bring up children. Hazel, Corey’s mother, could not offer her the stable family she needed. Everything we think is wrong for children has been Corey’s norm: the travelling lifestyle, minimal schooling, living in a caravan and performing every night. The instability of the circus has been her constant so any disruption of that, even for a more ‘normal’ environment, is going to have an impact. The author illustrates this best when Corey first goes to Hazel’s house. In contrast to the colourful, cramped surroundings of the circus, Corey’s new home feels vast, cold and sterile. Her bedroom is very white with nothing out of place. Corey yearns for the cramped trailer, her glittery costumes and the sound of other voices. Hazel and Aunt Shelby may be sisters but their characters seem to match their decor; Aunt Shelby is warm and welcoming whereas Hazel feels quite austere at first.

School is another hurdle and contrasts sharply with the bits of schooling she’s had previously. Corey feels out of her depth, emotionally and intellectually. The new classmates she meets are friendly but she also faces discrimination and scrutiny. The fire is front page news and Corey is horrified to hear how some classmates talk about her circus friends, accusing them of vandalising a new housing estate  and speculating on who started the fire. However, she does befriend Luke, and they form a relationship that gives Corey more stability in this new world. While she is struggling to bring her school work up to standard and improve her relationship with her Mum, Luke feels like a constant. The book does focus in on their romance and how it impacts on their respective families. While reading I wondered whether Corey would become so involved with Luke and Sherwood that the circus and her talent as a performer we would be lost.

I was glad to see that the author chose not to go for the saccharin happy ending, not everything is tied up neatly. I think it’s important for YA fiction that endings are more realistic and not hearts and flowers. I imagine the original format of the novel made it difficult to come to a conclusion - the book was serialised on WattPad before publication and readers would have been heavily invested in certain characters and subplots so pleasing everyone would be difficult. I think Corey is such a sympathetic character that it’s hard not to root for her and I was wishing for an ending where she can get back to her true love, the circus. The lesson that not everyone is cut out for a conventional lifestyle was something teenagers need to hear. It’s ok to follow a different path and do what you love.
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