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julius romerosTitle: The Julius Romeros Extravaganza, Part 1, The Bearded Girl

Writer: Hayley Lawson-Smith

Publisher: ASJ Publishing (2013)

Pages: 421p

Bought at: Amazon (USD 19.97)

Age appropriate: 10 yo and up

Abigail Luthen-Carter brought something unexpected into her wealthy family the day she was born with beard on her cute baby face. And it’s not an ordinary beard, since it always grew back everytime it’s been shaved. With her father away in a war and her mother hiding in an expensive spa to “cure her shock”, Abigail was left in the big house with the prudish housekeeper, Mrs Hiffeltrimp, and her equally stuffy husband, the butler Mr Hiffeltrimp. Luckily, there was Bertha, the nice old lady who became Abigail’s nanny and adored her so much.

After several fail attempts during the first years of Abigail’s life to diminish her whiskers permanently, finally Mrs.Hiffeltrimp took a drastic action. She brought Abigail to an extraordinary circus managed by an extraordinary man, Julius Romeros, and left her there to meet with her future destiny.

In this circus, Abigail found new friends, new family with colorful characteristics, including the snake lady, funny clowns, elephant caretaker, and many more. And she learned one of the most important lessons in her life: that it’s actually okay to be different.

Ever since I read a review about Julius Romeros in Goodreads, and put it in one of my Wishful Wednesdays, I tried so hard to find this book. But since this book was not published by a major publisher, it’s hard to be found in Indonesia- even its price was quite expensive in some online shops. Finally I decided to ask a friend who came from the US to bring the book for me, and voila! Here it is 🙂

Julius Romeros is one of the most entertaining books about circus that I’ve ever read. Its plot is simple, quite straightforward, but told in a very interesting way that made you stay until the end without the slightest feel of bored. The characters are very colorful, a bit cartoonish sometimes, but I could still relate with them, especially the nice Abigail and the mysterious ringmaster, Julius Romeros.

I love how Hayley Lawson-Smith portrayed circus life in a very believable tone. Many interesting details are provided, from the freak shows and wild animals and the cool caravans. It’s not as imaginative as The Night Circus, or as dramatic as Water for Elephants, but it has a certain twinge that made you feel belong to the circus, and became part of the family.

I always love books about circus because I will never know how it feels to live inside one, and Julius Romeros can satisfy my hunger and curiosity. There are so many characters that can be explored in the next books, and I do hope Hayley will keep on writing the series.

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