The Circus at the End of the Sea | Lori R. Snyder


The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori R. Snyder

Coming October 19, 2021 from HarperCollins; 304 pages

Content Warnings: Absentee parents, fire, heart condition, some action sequences, death

About the Author: “In an alternate universe, Lori R. Snyder (she/her) is a circus performer—probably an aerialist wearing a lot of glitter. In this universe, she’s had many different careers (none of which, sadly, are circus-related): marine biologist, fourth grade teacher, dancer, yoga teacher and studio owner, book editor, and writer. Venice Beach is one of the great loves of her life, as are kindness, delight, and the sea…and The Circus at the End of the Sea is her love letter to all of those. Lori is also the founder of the Writers Happiness Movement, which offers free happiness tools to writers.” (Bio taken from author’s website.)

Find Lori R. Snyder on the following platforms:

“She was no longer a girl who turned away from magic to go where she was told to go. No, she was a girl who had raced through the sky on a giant skateboard. She was a girl who had talked to a mermaid and a lion with wings. She was a girl with an octopus for a friend. She was fairly certain she would never be the other kind of girl again.”

Twelve-year-old Maddy Adriana has seen magic her entire life. Sent from group home to group home, it’s one of the few things she can count on to be consistent. She’s often ignored the pull of her heart towards things too perfect to be ordinary, but when that tug leads her to a magical street circus in Venice Beach, California, Maddy thinks she might have finally found a place where she could belong. Except not everything is as brilliant as it seems because the circus is in danger of closing forever if the ringmaster can’t be found. With Ophelia the mimic octopus by her side, Maddy must set off on a journey to find the ringmaster and bring him back to the circus before it’s too late. But when saving the circus means facing her deepest fears, will Maddy have the courage to follow her heart and fight for the place she dreams of calling home?

The Circus at the End of the Sea is phenomenally creative, heart-warming, and a perfect tribute to the imagination. I think I read the entire book with a smile on my face! Maddy is a fabulous protagonist, but a circus wouldn’t be complete without other acts—and the entire cast of characters is truly wonderful. I do have to say that Ophelia the mimic octopus completely stole the show for me. I mean, how awesome is an octopus who can turn into a spray-paint bottle for a skateboard race through the sky? But the wondrous nature of this story doesn’t stop there. As Maddy desperately fights to save the circus and untangles the mysterious threads of her past, themes of friendship, courage, and accepting change shine through. I could go on and on about this amazing book all day, but suffice it to say that The Circus at the End of the Sea should be a must-read for anyone who enjoys magical middle-grade adventures with lots and lots of hope and heart.

The Circus at the End of the Sea releases October 19, 2021.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Assistant Director, Wendy Waltrip