Circa Now is one of those books that is getting a lot of buzz this summer. I tend to take note of that buzz and couldn’t quite place why I seemed to know this book. I finally realized that it was one of the ones lounging on my Kindle thanks to NetGalley (If you don’t know what Netgalley is please stop and go there right now!). Once this happened, there was no topping me. I was a little confused at first; where was the story headed? Why was there so much buzz being generated, but then I reached for the book time and time again. I stole moments to get to the end, to solve the mystery, and it hit me; it sneaks up on you. It is a deep book but it doesn’t seem that way until you are done.
So I loved the book, I get why people are buzzing. It is one of those books you can place in the hands of many readers. Many children will identify with the whole thing or parts of it. Many will want to discuss it. It is not a “girl” book or a “boy” book and those are my most favorite books to have. A book that I can hand to any child and know that they will get something out of it. So bottom line? A must add for 3rd grade an up in my eyes, but definitely not just limited to elementary.
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.