The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll

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The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: An engrossing and exciting historical story about Louie, a young girl who dreams of becoming a circus 'Showstopper'. Highly recommended for lovers of adventure stories, with a determined and likeable heroine.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Faber and Faber
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780571297160

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I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time. Emma Carroll’s debut novel, Frost Hollow Hall, was one of my favourite children’s books of last year and I was delighted to discover that this is just as good. This is the exciting story of Louie and her hopes to become a circus star. Ever since she was abandoned as a baby at Chipchase's Travelling Circus, Louie has dreamed of becoming a 'Showstopper’ but Mr Chipchase only ever lets her sell tickets. However Louie has a talent as a tightrope walker and every morning she practises her act in secret watched by her little dog Pip. Can Louie find the courage to overcome the challenges that face her, defy Mr Chipchase and achieve her dream?

Placing Louie in an historical setting allows the author to create truly life threatening situations for our heroine resulting in this being an exciting and at times very tense read. Especially for those people such as me who are afraid of heights! This is an engrossing and enjoyable book partly due to the story being so well plotted but also because it provides an emotional involvement through the insight into Louie’s own personal life problems and issues. Louie is an appealing character because although she clearly has failings her determination and her thoughtfulness make her someone the reader cares about. Despite her exotic and very different lifestyle her inner resolve and drive to succeed has parallels with today’s popular culture of seeking fame and the idea of wanting to be a star is probably one that will be familiar to young readers. The additional characters are interesting too. The different people working at the circus including Mr Chipchase, Jasper, Louie’s friend Ned and of course Mr. Wellbeloved, are all believable characters and add enjoyment to the story.

However one of the highlights of this entertaining book is the growing friendship between Louie and Gabriel, the new arrival at the circus. This relationship is portrayed extremely well and provides some genuinely moving moments. Also Louie’s sadness at never having known her mother and her hope of one day discovering more about her past causes the reader to become more involved in the story. I am reluctant to give away too much of the plot as I think that this would spoil the excitement but suffice it to say I was gripped to the end wanting to know what happened. Emma Carroll manages to bring the various strands together in a very satisfying conclusion.

I loved this and think that readers who enjoy stories about adventure, friendship, determination and learning never to give up hope will love it too. It would probably be particularly appealing to fans of Eva Ibbotson. Just lovely!

Thank you very much to the publishers for providing this review copy

If you have not already read Emma Carroll’s first book, Frost Hollow Hall, please do, it is brilliant too. You might also appreciate The Daring Escape of Beatrice and Peabody by Kimblerly Newton Fusco.

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Buy The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll at


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