Published March 23rd 2011
Publisher Accendo Press
Genre: YA fantasy
Her mom is dead.
Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.
When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the über-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction.
Let the chase begin.
Sleight is a beautifully written story and is one of the most original plots I've read so far. The idea of growing up in a circus surrounded by all kind of things, traveling around the country is very appealing and makes you wonder: how would that be?
The first chapter is the hook for the rest of the book, the funeral of Gemma's mother. She doesn't even know how to feel about this, she spent her life seeing her mother in and out of psychiatric hospital and dealing with her mental illness. That is why the circus performers are her family and legal guardians, they took Gemma as their child and really care for her. Added to all this, she can see "shades" as she call the ghosts that are around her; they don't talk to her so she has learned to live with them.
Gemma's life changes completely when the circus decides to settle for a while so she needs to attend regular high school, instead of her tutors and she is not eager about it. Here she meets Henry her first friend outside the circus and immediately get along, their friendship develops naturally. Everything starts to unfold and reveals a little bit of all the mystery that surrounds the story, with lots of twists and turns and at the end, a few unanswered questions with a cliffhanger that will leave you on your toes.
There are several characters but my favorites were Gemma's uncle Irwin -funny and caring- and Henry, he is simply magnificent! Gemma on the other hand was a little difficult character, she got on my nerves sometimes because she could have been more caring, less obsessive and not take everything for granted, but at the same time it felt appropriate because of her age. And the villains perfectly portrayed, pure evil amazing!
I love all the quotes at the begining of every chapter, no need for a title with such incredible research that explains a little bit of each chapter. Magic, circus freaks, ghosts, romance and mystery makes Sleight one of my favorites books and I highly recommend it to everyone. I make a bow to Ms. Sommersby and her majestic writing.
Ana Lucía Arroyave