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Circus Galacticus Hardcover – November 15, 2011

38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An exuberant, adventurous tightrope walk over the stars."
—Lisa Mantchev, author of Eyes Like Stars

"Highly, highly recommended!"
—Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of A Curse Dark as Gold

"A book that reaches for the stars and provides a thrilling ride."

"Reminiscent of the juveniles of old, Fagan’s story makes sci fi fun. It’s loaded with wild coincidences and easily spotted inspirations (X-Men, Doctor Who), yet the underlying idea of valuing diversity, friendship, and self-esteem shines, carried by Fagan’s solid writing, appealing characters, and sprinkles of whimsy."
Publishers Weekly

"Fagan delivers [her story] convincingly in Trix’s brisk narration. Ultimately, and entertainingly, the big-top inhabitants end up seeming like artsy American high-school students, and a pitiful lamentation like 'I am the worst friend in the universe' for once doesn’t seem like an exaggeration."

"Like many of Fagan's female protagonists, Trix is lovably flawed, and her often-misguided stubbornness is forgivable in light of her fierce loyalty and determination."

About the Author

Deva Fagan lives in Maine with her husband and her dog. She is not (to her knowledge) a space-faring mutant, though she has been known to dye her hair bright colors and is easily distracted by a particularly fine starry night sky.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; First Edition edition (November 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054758136X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547581361
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deva likes searching for patterns, which is how she explains both her degree in mathematics and the echoes of old fairy-tales in her stories. She also loves tea, gardening, and playing the fiddle. She lives in Maine with her husband and her dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kate Coombs VINE VOICE on October 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I heard about Deva Fagan's new SFF last year and have been looking forward to it ever since. After all, while the idea of an unhappy child running away with the circus goes back a long way, the idea of that circus being intergalactic is new!

Orphan Trix lives in a boarding school aptly named Bleeker Academy where everyone looks down on her. Popular Della bullies Trix, but Trix is the one who gets in trouble with Headmistress Primwell, who is quick to remind her that she is a charity case and therefore should be grateful and cooperative. (Shades of Miss Minchin!) To punish Trix for Della's latest infraction, Headmistress Primwell refuses to let the girl go to the state gymnastics meet.

Meanwhile, the circus has come to town. Why is it that Trix can see more in the circus posters than anyone else? (I'll confess that I thought this book would have humans openly journeying through space, but instead, the people of earth are unaware that the circus travels across galaxies.)

There's something special about Trix, and not just because she is the keeper of a mysterious chunk of space rock. Pretty soon a creepy alien is trying to get the rock away from Trix, and yes, she is running away to join the circus, which is led by the charismatic Ringmaster with the assistance of a cold-hearted computer entity, Miss Three.

You'll find a touch of Hogwarts in this section as Trix settles in with her roommate and tries to get along with various cliques in the circus. (Thanks to another fantasy trope, the spaceship/circus is a lot bigger inside than it looks.) Because Trix has no magical/super-scientific abilities such as telekinesis, she is assigned to work with the clowns.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. Rinehart VINE VOICE on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm feeling very grumble-grumble-snort after reading this book. For me, it seemed that every time I got excited about something in it, by the next chapter I was disappointed because it never panned out.

Here, in no particular order is what really stirred my interest and then failed to deliver;

1. The main character - At first she was a girl at a snotty rich boarding school who gets blamed for everything and is just biding her time til she can get a gymnastics scholarship and leave. But, as the story progresses, she mostly just reacts to sitations, hardly ever asks questions even when the answers seem to be available to pretty much everyone but her. She has a mild to non-existant crush on the top guy and mostly seems pretty okay with just hanging out. In other words, I just did not get her! She pretty much runs away to live with an intergalactic circus and then it all got dull from then on out.

2. The sparkly top hatted Ringmaster or the-many-many-reasons-why-fops-are-not-sexy-or-romantic. He swung from a strange mixed up Willy Wonka man to a reclusive and closed mouthed spiritual guide. Again, I just didn't get him and couldn't understand whyTrix liked him or why everyone deferred to his opinions, why he dressed so oddly, why he liked her, why he carried a cane, what his purpose was and why he wouldn't share information with anyone but his possibly evil robot avatar thingamajig. He really was a head shaking, eye rolling ordeal for me to read about.

3. The ever changing spaceship\circus tent that was alive. I never really warmed up to the idea of it because it wasn't developed enough and the characters themselves seemed just as mystified by it.

4. Trix's dead parents. SPOILER ALERT!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Stop me if you've heard this before: a young teenager, missing one or both parents, is a social outcast. The "in crowd" and authority figures endlessly pick on the kid for being different. Then, wonder of wonders, sh/e makes contact with a whole society of people who are "different" in that same way -- what turns out to be a magical, otherworldly way! And our hero learns that s/he is not just different but SPECIAL, with a critical role to play in an oncoming clash that could mean the end of...oh well, you get the idea.

Yes, Circus Galacticus is one of those. It's an irresistible genre that has exploded in the wake of Harry Potter's success. In this case the Special Kid is a girl named Trix, a pink-haired orphan at bleakly conformist, bleakly inhospitable Bleeker Academy. The other world Trix whisks herself off to is the Circus Galacticus. As the name suggests, its a galaxy-hopping space circus. Props to the author for the fresh setting, which is a change from the many Hogwartsian schools dotting recent YA literature. Props too, for the amusing new twist on "running away to join the circus." Overall, this book is plenty of fun to read. Then about 30 minutes after you read it, you'll forget about it forever. In fact, I had to go look up the main character's name to write this review.

The reason, I think, is that the book zips through the beleaguered outcast opening, eager to get to all of the fun stuff. As a result, we have precious little emotional investment in Trix. We don't experience any sense of wonder at everything she knows being turned upside down. Oh well, never gonna see Earth again, whateva, on to the next planet.

Alternate book recommendation: the similarly titled, similarly themed "Circus Lunicus," by Marilyn Singer. That book aims a bit younger but is more original, more strange, and more emotionally involving.
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