Asa is running from a troubled past, and when she goes to stay with the father she hasn’t seen in twelve years, she’s hoping that finally she has found a home.
But he’s more interested in spending time at the pub than with his daughter and when the notorious Dirt Circus League arrives in town they draw Asa into their web.
Apart her instant attraction to their charismatic leader, Quarter, Asa is drawn to the possibility of friendship and connection and the yearning to become part of this unruly group of under 20s, all except The Surgeon who’s an ‘outsider’ like Asa but attends to all the group’s medical needs.
In this page turner, we see Asa drawn deeper and deeper into the League’s mysterious web.
Up until now, Asa has tried to ignore the gift of second sight; the ability to see both the past and the future, but since she has joined the League, her visions have been getting stronger and she soon realises that there’s way more to the League than she thought, and there’s a dark reason why none of it’s members are over twenty.
Asa is also forced to face the darkness in herself and the reasons why she always resorts to fighting and violence to handle the deep anger in her that comes from a lifetime of betrayals.
Asa’s visions help her to discover the truth about the Dirt Circus League, but not everybody is going to be happy with her revelations, even if they save lives.
Asa is forced to choose between her feelings for Quarter and her need to find a space where she is loved unconditionally and personal happiness doesn’t come through violence and danger.
I found myself drawn into the deep and disturbed world that Maree Kimberley has created in Dirt Circus League . I loved its authenticity and the way the author uses the setting as a character in the story, creating menace and beauty at the same time.
The lure of constant danger and Asa’s disturbing visions made this book a real page turner.
I was also hooked in by Asa’s complex character and the way she battles the demons within herself. I loved her strength and her vulnerability, and how they lead her into danger, but also save her in the end.
Dirt Circus League is a compelling read set in a frightening but believable world.
It is written by Maree Kimberley and published by Text Publishing.
Maree Kimberley is a writer from Brisbane. Her work has been published in several anthologies, including The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015 and Defying Doomsday. Dirt Circus League, her first novel for young adults, was inspired by the remote landscapes of Cape York and her fascination for neuroscience.
I spoke to Maree about how she wrote this extraordinary book and you can see our interview here.