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The Bonaventure Adventures Hardcover – May 2, 2017
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PRAISE FOR The Bonaventure Adventures:
"The Bonaventure Adventures is likely to be the most fun readers will have in 2017." --CM Magazine
About the Author
RACHELLE DELANEY is the author of several middle-grade novels, including The Metro Dogs of Moscow, which was a CLA Book of the Year Honour Book, as well as a finalist for the Silver Birch Award and the Red Cedar Award, among others. Its sequel, The Circus Dogs of Prague, was shortlisted for the 2017 Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award. Her newest novel, The Bonaventure Adventures, was published in 2017. Visit her at www.rachelledelaney.com.
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Top customer reviews
From the blurbs you'll see that our hero Seb Konstantinov comes from a slowly failing European circus. He attends a circus school in order to try to find some secret or angle or skill that might help save his own circus. So far, so good, although that doesn't necessarily feel like the most compelling storyline. But wait.
The book opens with Seb at home with his family circus. Seb has zero circus performer skills. Rather than playing this for laughs or having all of the performers mock or tease Seb, the performers support and encourage Seb. He is part of their circus family and they want him to excel and succeed, at something. While Seb is discouraged everyone is supportive, kind and patient. This sets an unexpected tone. It's a bit wistful, a bit humorous, and a bit melancholy. The whole circus feels like a little colorful island floating around Eastern Europe.
As a bonus, at the center of this episode is Seb's Dad, the Ringmaster. While this character only shows up at the beginning and then occasionally throughout the book, he is a hilarious mix of vanity, bad advice, good advice, showmanship, and fatherly love. He may be one of the best middle grade Dads I've read in a while. The book crackles whenever he appears.
Since the circus is slowly running out of steam, money and pizzazz, Seb schemes to attend the Bonaventure circus school. It's all the way in Montreal, but it is the best circus school and it might hold the secret to Seb's circus's revival. Here we get more family and belonging. Seb, of course, is an insider, (son of a great Ringmaster), and a fraud, (totally lacking talent). He has to fit in at this school and maintain his disguise. He ends up with two other students who are outsiders as well, and they create their own mutually supportive family, falling smoothly into sibling-style teamwork. The heart of the central part of the book shows these three partly lost souls coming together and bonding, and it seems natural and right. As a bonus, each of these kids has a secret or colorful past that also turns on their own family dynamics and secrets.
The upshot is that there is great humor and heart here, (again, Ringmaster Dad is a hoot), lots of subtle upbeat messages about family and friendship, and a colorful and slightly skewed view of circus life from behind the scenes. This is not an action adventure in the usual middle grade sense. It's more of a school daze tale with a colorful circus background, but that's a nice and appealing change of pace. I was pleased that this went for more than action mystery, and instead gave us a real story.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)