The Bonaventure adventures

Rachelle Delaney

Book - 2017

To save the family circus, Sebastian Konstantinov hides his lack of acrobatic skills and enrolls at the prestigious Bonaventure Circus School, which is counting on Seb's "talent" to rescue the crumbling institution.

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Toronto, Ontario : Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Canada Books Inc., a Penguin Random House Company 2017.
Physical Description
274 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Main Author
Rachelle Delaney (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Twelve-year-old Sebastian ("Seb") has grown up in a traveling circus founded by his father, ringmaster Dragan Konstantinov. Everyone assumed that Seb would inherit Dragan's incredible aerial abilities, but it has become increasingly evident that Seb has no circus talent at all. Even so, he loves the life, but dwindling crowds may spell the end of the Konstantinov Family Circus. In desperation, Seb applies to Montreal circus school Bonaventure Academy in hopes of learning how to revitalize his father's failing show. Delaney takes a realistic approach to the circus—no magic or curiosities here—proving it's quite enthralling in its own right. At the story's heart is Seb's personal journey to find his true talent, something made possible with the help of a kind teacher and new friends Banjo (a slackline performer) and Frankie (parkour aficionado). Delaney deftly juggles themes of friendship, personal growth, and tradition versus modernization within a well-paced narrative. The friends' adventures around the school located in an old cathedral and suspicions that Bonaventure might be in trouble make for a captivating read. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—Young Sebastian Konstantinov's father is the ringmaster of a traveling circus. Seb journeys with his father and the circus all over Eastern Europe, though Seb lacks any natural circus talent. Ticket sales have been dismal lately, but the boy lands a full scholarship to the Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal. Bonaventure's directrice may be under the mistaken impression that Seb is a circus prodigy, but Seb believes that he can help make his father's show more marketable if he learns the ways of the modern circus. What he does not realize until he arrives is that Bonaventure is under significant financial strain. Now Seb and his two new friends must find a way to save their school and avoid being expelled. The protagonist is a forward thinker who understands that fresh ideas keep audiences interested in the performing arts. The bonds of friendship among the band of misfits are forged gradually and convincingly. Significantly, Seb sometimes struggles to balance his needs as an introvert with those of his friends. The resolution is a bit abrupt but satisfying nonetheless. The still-mysterious identity of Seb's mother and Seb's invitation to apply for a second year at Bonaventure leave ample room for a sequel. VERDICT Recommend to circus lovers; purchase where circus-set fiction is popular.—Sara White, Seminole County Public Library, Casselberry, FL Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A youth from a long line of talented circus performers struggles with a complete lack of acrobatic skills and decides to enroll in a Montreal circus school so that he can be useful to his father before making friends with two fellow misfits and discovering that the school needs his business savvy to overcome financial troubles. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

To save the family circus, Sebastian Konstantinov hides his lack of acrobatic skills and enrolls at the prestigious Bonaventure Circus School, which is counting on Seb's "talent" to rescue the crumbling institution.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A middle-grade novel for fans of boarding school stories--with a dash of The Mysterious Benedict Society and a splash of Circus Mirandus! Sebastian Konstantinov comes from a long line of talented circus performers. Somehow, however, he has not inherited any of their acrobatic skill: he has no balance, he's afraid of heights, he can't even turn a somersault. But there's one thing he does know: his father's circus, which travels through Eastern Europe, is out of date and is fast running out of money. Seb has a solution, though: if he can somehow get into the Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal, Canada, he might be able to learn something valuable to help his father. Seb secretly writes to the Directrice (an old friend of his father's) and is accepted into the school. All he has to do is convince his father to send him away -- oh, and keep his lack of talent a secret from all his teachers and classmates. Fortunately for him, he befriends two other students, who also don't seem to quite fit in. Seb is not the only one with secrets, it turns out. The school is literally crumbling beneath the feet of its students, and the directrice may be counting on Seb's "talent" to save the day. Can he and his new friends figure out what's really going on in the school that bills itself as the World's Best Circus School?