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{May 27, 2014}   {ARC Review} Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner

Circa NowFrom Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Circa Monroe has a knack for restoring old photographs. It’s a skill she learned from her dad, who loves old pictures and putting fun digital twists on them. His altered “Shopt” photos look so real that they could fool nearly anybody, and Circa treasures the fun stories he makes up to explain each creation.

One day, her father receives a strange phone call requesting an urgent delivery, and he heads out into a storm. The unimaginable happens: a tornado, then a terrible accident. Just as Circa and her mom begin to pick up the pieces, a mysterious boy shows up on their doorstep, a boy called Miles who remembers nothing about his past. The only thing he has with him is the photograph that Circa’s dad intended to deliver on the day he died.

As Circa tries to help Miles recover his identity, she begins to notice something strange about the photos she and her father retouched-the digital flourishes added to the old photos seem to exist in real life. The mysteries of the Shopt photos and Miles’s past are intertwined, and in order to solve both, Circa will have to figure out what’s real and what’s an illusion.

With stunning prose, captivating photographs, and a hint of magic, Circa Now is a gripping story full of hope and heart.

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This is an intriguing story that I think both middle grade and young adults will enjoy. It’s real enough in itself, but has an air of paranormalcy that young readers will especially enjoy. Very well written, it is a story of love, loss, and healing through memories and pictures, and I especially enjoyed the Shopt aspect of the novel, as the photos and stories the author created adding another tangible, humorous layer to this story of heartache.

Circa Monroe is struggling to put the pieces back together after her father, her hero, is killed in a tragic accident. Attempting a life of normalcy is hard enough without the constant reminder of her father staring back at her from his office, and not blaming others is an uphill battle for Circa. But as Miles comes on the scene, this novel takes on aspects of magical realism, and as Circa and Miles attempt to figure out what is real and what is a figment of their imagination, readers finds themselves intricately woven into the story, rooting for Circa and Miles as one Shopt photo after another begins to point to a different outcome. One where life and death aren’t set in stone.

While I tend to like novels with a little older heroines as the lease, Circa’s innocence makes her the perfect lead for this novel, and if you’re looking for something completely different, Circa Now is definitely the book for you.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title releases today.

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