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24 June 2010

Book Review and Book Tour: Short Circus by Stephen V. Masse

Title: Short Circus
Author: Stephen V. Masse
Publisher: Good Harbor Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2010
Hardcover: 184 pages
ISBN: 978-0615320571
Genre: Fiction, Ages 9-14


About the Book:

Twelve-year-old Jem Lockwood has been fatherless for four years and finally gets a Big Brother, but just as the best summer of his life is about to begin, he discovers that Jesse Standish’s rented house is about to be sold. Jem does all in his daring imagination to make Jesse’s house unmarketable, and the neighborhood unfit for prospective buyers. This three-ring circus romps with with Jem’s boyhood friends and older brother Chris, all recognizable kids who share in the rough-and-tumble delight of living in a northern Massachusetts city whose newspaper is delivered by kids on bikes, where kids play in the streets, and the local convenience store is owned by the family of Jesse’s girlfriend, Andrea. Sadly the city’s swimming pond has been sabotaged, and the city has to close it to all recreation after two boys are injured. Jem is sure he knows who did it, and helps carry out a plan to punish the evildoer.

My Review:

I first learned of Stephen V. Masse by reading his novel A Jolly Good Fellow, which was absolutely wonderful. I did not realise he wrote children's books until Short Circus arrived. Short Circus by Stephen V. Masse is his second children's novel and the jacket recommends the book for children ages 9-14. I quite honestly cannot say one way or the other how accurate the age range is, as I am not a children's book reviewer, except for today. What I do know is that Short Circus is a delightful story told by Jem Lockwood, a spirited twelve year old who got into trouble with friends one too many times for his mother's comfort, which prompts her to call Big Brothers to find an adult male figure to be a positive influence in Jem's life. Jem is assigned to Jesse Standish and the bond of friendship is rather strong as they build their relationship, have outings and ponder the mystery of the pond. Life lessons are interspersed throughout the book in the adventures Jem, his friends, Jesse and Andrea have, making this an excellent book to read aloud to boys or for a child to read to himself. Short Circus is well written, with lessons placed throughout the novel, a tale of one unforgettable summer divided into short chapters and how Jesse changes Jem's life and how Jem changes Jesse's. I would recommend parents take a look at Short Circus if their child is interested in action and adventure as this book is wonderful.

About the Author:

Stephen V. Masse was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He wrote his first novelat age 13, handwritten into a school composition book.

Educated at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he studied creative writing, and was author of a weekly newspaper column, “Out of Control.” His first novel for children, Shadow Stealer, was published by Dillon Press in 1988. Short Circus is his second novel for children.

In addition to children’s books, Masse has written A Jolly Good Fellow, winner of the Silver Medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards, as well as honorable mention in the 2008 New England Book Festival for best books of the holiday season.

Stephen V. Masse’s SHORT CIRCUS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JUNE ‘10 officially began on June 1st and will end on June 25th. You can visit Stephen’s blog stops at during the month of June to find out more about this great book and talented author!

I received a complimentary copy of Short Circus by Stephen V. Masse from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.


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