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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

To be honest, y'all, I deliberated over this review.  I read Circa Now a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it, but I also felt slightly misled.  In the back-of-book synopsis, I felt promised "a hint of magic."  In fact, that final paragraph of the synopsis is a bit off base.

It is, however, truly a "gripping story full of hope and heart."  So that's excellent!  Circa Now is Circa's story- a young teen who lives in a small town with her photographer parents.  One night her dad goes out to deliver some photos and is caught by a tornado.  Just as she and her mom are beginning to pick up the pieces and find their new normal, Circa begins to notice that things that she and her dad Photoshopped in photos are coming true.  A strange boy even shows up on their porch, the exact right age to match a baby that she and her dad Photoshopped into a picture!

More than anything else, Circa Now is a story of hope and healing... and maybe not so much of magic.  You know that we here at Tynga's Reviews avoid spoilers like the plague, but I can't help this one:  there is no magic.  I enjoyed the story.  The author is quite talented.  But the publisher put a misleading synopsis on the back cover.  I think there was enough in the book to recommend it even without a teaser of magic, but maybe that's just me.  From what I've been able to glean from author interviews and talking to other bibliophiles, authors very rarely have hardly any say over these synopses, so don't hold this against the book!

As I mentioned, it is a story of healing and growth.  Circa is quite a young teen, and she's having to deal with the horrific tragedy of losing her dad.  Her mom has depression and anxiety, and there are even hints of mild agoraphobia.  Not only is there a beautiful story here of a young girl coming into her own through hope and help from friends and family, there's also a story of friendship.  In the middle of all this, there's a strange boy, Miles, who shows up on their doorstep with amnesia.  After the tornado he found a photograph on the ground with Circa's parents' photography studio address on the back, and he found his way to them.  Circa and her best friend really step up and they befriend Miles.  I love that this is a YA book without romance!  Just friendship.  It's really sweet.

Overall, I very much recommend this book, even minus any actual magic.  The writing is superb, and I had trouble putting down the book ever.  The plot kept a good, steady pace and the characters are 110% lovable.  Then there are these cool photos roughly every other chapter.  A big part of the plot focuses on photographs that Circa and her dad Photoshopped, and the author put them into the book so that we can see them!  I loved that detail.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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