Pantomime by Laura Lam

Pantomime is published by Strange Chemistry, a YA imprint, but I would definitely class it as ‘cross-over’, as there’s plenty for all ages.

In fact, this is a book which is generally hard to place within a genre, although I would imagine the sci fi element may become more prominent in subsequent books. It’s set in a world which is not our own, but very similar. It has a Victorian feel to it, but also gives the impression of being set in a future somewhere. The main setting is a travelling circus, complete with trapeze artists, clowns, and a freak show.

Most importantly this book is about the characters. Iphigenia – or Gene, as she prefers, is the daughter of a noble family, who’s much happier being a tomboy. She also has a secret which threatens to ruin her future. Micah is a runaway who joins the circus as a way to escape. Both are going through a journey, trying to understand just who they are, and find acceptance.

The surrounding characters are also fascinating and well written, with secrets of their own. These people all find their way into your mind and heart, and stay with you long after the book is finished. I’ve read some excellent YA books this year, but this one may just be my favourite. It’s hard to believe that it’s a debut book – I savoured every moment, and am impatient for the next book, to discover what else is awaiting in this rich world. Add it to your wish list!

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