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Circle Nine Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
An ideal adult crossover book.
With explorations of addiction, homelessness, and abuse, this book touches on some of society’s weightiest issues. This is a title for teens who like their fiction serious and gritty.
—School Library Journal
About the Author
Anne Heltzel earned an MFA in creative writing from the New School. She says of her debut novel: “I wrote Circle Nine shortly after moving to Mumbai, India, where I lived for a year and a half. It was a surreal and isolating experience at first, giving up my job and friends to move to a country I’d never even seen before. Nevertheless, the magic of the city was ever-present; my reality had, in a sense, changed entirely. This all contributed to the creation of Sam and Abby’s cave-palace.” Anne Heltzel lives in New York City.
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Circle Nine is one of the more unusual psychological thrillers that I have read, and I mean this in a complimentary way. Heltzel writes from the perspective of protagonist Abby primarily in first person stream of consciousness with sporadic flashbacks. This gives incredible insight into Abby's fragile mind and allows the reader to plainly see all her thoughts, wants, and, most of all, confusion. I just loved how I was just as much in the dark as to the realities of Abby's situation as she was; this made the revelation of each new truth so savory to read about. What made Circle Nine really stand out to me from the other psychological thrillers that I've read is that the tone was slightly more contemplative rather than edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. There was much less urgency and action in the plot because the focus was more on Abby's inner struggles. As a result, Heltzel's crafting of Abby's character really shined in this novel, leading to a thoughtful and subtly thrilling read.
Circle Nine will be enjoyed by fans of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. I greatly look forward to what debut author Heltzel will produce next.
Amanda's presence upsets Abby's world. She feels as though she's trying to steal Sam away from her. They go out late at night together, always leaving Abby behind. Then one night, Amanda and Sam get into a fight and something happens to Amanda. She knows about Abby, she wants to take her away from there - from Sam - but he isn't going to let that happen.
As Abby begins to remember her life before Sam, as she begins to remember the fire, her parents, her sister, "Circle Nine" becomes impossible to put down. This isn't an easy book to read. Both Abby and Sam, although it's easy to hate him, are frail characters. They are broken, and for a while, they manage to complete each other...until the truth comes out.
At times its hard to follow along with the story, especially in those moments when Abby's perception of reality changes so quickly: one minute she's seeing the filth of the cave, of Sam, and the next minute she's seeing the `beauty' of their world. One sentence would state the ugly and the next would state the beauty she saw. Given that Abby's still grasping reality, I understand the purpose, but it changed too suddenly and sometimes it got to be confusing.
Overall, I liked "Circle Nine". It wasn't what I was expecting, but I had trouble tearing myself away from the story. Note: Sam and Abby's relationship is an abusive one and there is drug use within the story, so it's important to note that this story won't be for everyone. If you decide to read "Circle Nine", which you should, I'd suggest setting aside a few hours of free time to read it within a single sitting. I made the mistake of starting it late at night and staying up well into the morning hours because I needed to know what happened next. It's a difficult story to take in, and the ending leaves you with something to be desired, but it's a well written novel worthy of a read.
Most recent customer reviews
I fast read through a lot of it. Would like it to have gone on.