26. LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI – Young Adult Literary Fantasy


Mentor Name: Jaye Robin Brown

Mentee Name: K.A. Reynolds


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Literary Fantasy

Word Count: 91,000


A repressed trauma haunts poet Josephine. Her best friend, visionary Nikolai, hides the deadly truth she seeks. When they flee town, magicians from a Utopian artist’s circus offer them sanctuary. But at Le Cirque Du Literati, they will have to confront their darkest fears, test their newfound love, and risk their lives to find peace.


Grandmother’s book lies open on her nightstand to a passage more familiar to me than the ragged heart thrashing in my chest. So scared I can barely breathe, I stare at the words through a film of tears, trying to ignore the drops of blood on the page.

Some, frozen by inertia or caged by fear, choose to remain in their brown-boxes of routine, even if their worlds are hell. Even if their dreams perish on the tips of their tongues, preferring this to the unimaginable “what might be.”

I snap the book shut. The knife I don’t recall picking up falls without a sound, silenced by the million brass bells ringing in my ears. I slide the book into my bag. My fingers come away bloody, but no matter how much I wipe them the red stains will not go.

This house is no longer a home, but a prison drowning in poisonous wounds.

I need to hurry up and get gone.

Without looking back, I walk out of my grandmother’s door and close it gently behind me. I think of Artimus Finch, the character in the book. How he left everything that he loved behind when magic opened a window—a window rimmed in white shimmer, its frame hung midair, leading to a world without fear.

My heart and feet thump as I run down the staircase avoiding the photographs on the walls. Instead, I focus on Nikolai, and leaving this hell behind.

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