The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond (Review + Giveaway)

Posted March 13, 2015 by Sara | Novel Novice 6 Comments

Keep reading after our review for your chance to win one of two finished copies of this book, courtesy of Candlewick Press!

A beautiful story about growing up and coming of age, The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond follows narrator Dominic Hall from childhood to adulthood in taut prose brimming with lush descriptions and richly imagined characters.

tight rope walkersInternational award winner David Almond draws on memories of his early years in Tyneside, England, for a moving coming-of-age novel, masterfully told.

A gentle visionary coming of age in the shadow of the shipyards of northern England, Dominic Hall is torn between extremes. On the one hand, he craves the freedom he feels when he steals away with the eccentric girl artist next door, Holly Stroud—his first and abiding love—to balance above the earth on a makeshift tightrope. With Holly, Dom dreams of a life different in every way from his shipbuilder dad’s, a life fashioned of words and images and story. On the other hand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the brutal charms of Vincent McAlinden, a complex bully who awakens something wild and reckless and killing in Dom. In a raw and beautifully crafted bildungsroman, David Almond reveals the rich inner world of a boy teetering on the edge of manhood, a boy so curious and open to impulse that we fear for him and question his balance—and ultimately exult in his triumphs.

Almond’s writing is just lovely, transporting readers to the tiny town of Tyneside, England where we see Dom walking a fine line (as delicate as the tight ropes he balances) between light and dark. On the one hand, he is drawn – always – to his creative side: to writing and tightrope walking and the artistic girl across the street. On the other hand, he is tempted by the neighborhood bully and Vincent’s ability to satisfy Dom’s darker side. Much as Dom loves walking the tightrope with Holly, he finds himself more precariously balanced between his two selves.

I love that Almond’s story is more than just a story of adolescent coming of age; rather, we see Dom grow up — from childhood to adulthood — and face all the challenges that entails. The result is an achingly beautiful story that shows how the events of our lives, both big and small, shape who we become in this world; and how we will address each new challenge life throws our way.

With mass appeal for both teen and adult readers, The Tightrope Walkers is a gripping story, beautifully written, that will linger in your thoughts long after finishing the last page. Look for itin stores March 24th.

We’re giving away two finished copies of The Tightrope Walkers, courtesy of Candlewick Press. To enter, tell us in the comments why you want to read it & then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

Contest open to the U.S. only. Runs through midnight (PT) on Friday, March 20th.

Sara | Novel Novice

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6 responses to “The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond (Review + Giveaway)

  1. carlrscott

    This sounds excellent. The story is different than usual and I can already relate to Dom and his balancing act. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  2. Sunnymay

    Like other circus performers, the tightrope walker is skilled in concentration and self-confidence from practice; he visualizes his success in stepping across the rope and getting to the other side. It looks like a book that would have moments where I would be holding my breath hopeful that things would turn out right.

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