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Sleight (AVRA-K #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  313 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Her mom is dead.
Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.

When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns.
Paperback, First Edition, 328 pages
Published March 23rd 2011
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,041)
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Apr 18, 2011 Britney rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. It had everything that I love to read about--paranormal, romance, adventure, and strong female characters with great writing.

A girl who grows up in the circus? And can see ghosts? I'm all in! At first I wasn't sure what to expect because I've never read a book that had a circus setting (even though people keep telling me I need to read Water for Elephants) and ghost stories can either work really well or not well at all. Sleight worked amazingly well! Jennifer Sommersby knows
Lisa  Emma Kilgariff
Jun 19, 2011 Lisa Emma Kilgariff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
Originally posted at

While Jenn sent me a copy of Sleight for (the now cancelled) Indie Author Month, I will admit that I’d already bought a copy and was just waiting for an excuse to read and review it. After finishing Sleight, I don’t know why the hell I waited so long because it is perfect. There is so much to love and I don’t know what my favorite part is so I’m going to break it down:

Characters: I loved how we are introduced to the characters and their worlds. While t
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
Apr 07, 2011 Jaime (Two Chicks on Books) rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of Sleight to review from the author Jennifer Sommersby and was very excited to dig into this book. I love stories that have magic in them and I also love the circus setting.

In a nutshell Gemma is grieving her mother's death when her whole life us upended. She soon comes to learn that her travelling circus life will stop that she has to attend a real high school and deal with all that comes with it. She is a very strong character and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty
May 11, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Gemma Flannery is used to living a life on the road. Traveling with the Cinzio Traveling Players Company involved just that. Traveling. But for the first time in Gemma’s life the show has decided not to leave town.

Staying in one place and attending a regular high school is enough of a hurdle to overcome. Being gawked at or labeled a freak by the locals is nothing new for circus performers. But if her secret ever got out that she had the ability to see the dead, she would become a freak on a whol
Heather Hildenbrand
Mar 28, 2011 Heather Hildenbrand rated it it was amazing
Oh. Wow. This book, Jenn's way with words, the descriptions, the story-line, Gemma's snarky sarcasm, Henry's devotion, Lucian's deviousness... ALL of it is 5 stars. I picked it up to support Jenn and then I couldn't put it down because it was awesome!! I cannot wait for Book 2, and Sleight has officially crept into my list of top 10 favorite books of all time! Go and read it. Now.

The story is fresh and original and a new twist on "I see dead people". Gemma is likeable and relatable from chapter
Apr 25, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is a truly great story, the idea is superb and the execution is clean and bright. I loved every minute and couldn't wait to get back to reading whenever I had to put it down to face reality. We are treated to the sometimes snarky but often vulnerable inner thoughts of Gemma as she faces first the ordeal of not fitting in at her new school and then a whole spectrum of catastrophes and new experiences that are thrown her way. And let me just say it was refreshing to read this often told story ...more
Missy (Two Readers Reviews)
Apr 22, 2011 Missy (Two Readers Reviews) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, ebook, signed, favorites
Sleight was unlike anything that I have ever read before. The story line, characters, basically everything was completely unique to me. Have you ever read something that you loved so much you didn't even know how to describe your love for it? Well it's kinda like that with for me with this one.

Let me start with the characters. First and foremost we have Gemma. She is troubled from the start considering, as the story begins, her mother, Delia has just committed suicide. Delia has been in and out
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Jul 13, 2011 Tee loves Kyle Jacobson rated it it was amazing
Warning: This book is very addictive and you will not be able to put it down!

My Rating:5 Elephants!

I absolutely loved the cover of this book. There is this beautiful girl with long red curly hair lying with her eyes closed relaxing on the green grass.

Let me start out by saying this was a wonderful read from what I had been reading. This is a story set in the circus. I have never read a book that had that scenery so it caught my eye. I absolutely loved the book.This is a story that takes you thr
Jun 23, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! I want to join the circus! WOW! When I first read the Blurb I was like .. "My best friend is an elephant?" Weird! But nope not at all! At least not when you grow up in the circus!!

This book is an awesome PNR for YA (or my age :)

The book starts off as we meet Gemma and her unfortunate bad luck - seems like this poor girl can't get a single break. Her mother just died. She didn't know her that well. She was sick - seriously sick. Like Gem, her mom was able to see Shades (Spirit
NightlyReading Heather
Sep 29, 2011 NightlyReading Heather rated it really liked it
I find this cover fascinating! The color of Gemma’s hair is bright and wonderful! Just as described between the pages of this book.

Gemma’s story is very different and I have not come across one like this in the YA genre as of yet. I enjoyed the whole circus scenario. Who doesn’t love the circus? It was interesting to see how some things were actually run under the big top.

The characters are very enjoyable. The book is full of some strange characters that you would definitely expect to find in th
A Book Vacation
May 18, 2011 A Book Vacation rated it it was amazing
Sommersby is a fabulous storyteller, roping in the reader in the very beginning through her pristine use of prose and characterization. I was enamored by both the characters and the writing as I read. Sommersby has a wonderful gift with words, and she captures the true nature of humanity as she creates life-like characters right on the page. Each character in the novel was created with love and care and, as you read, they become extremely real. Sommersby develops her characters so magnificently ...more
May 03, 2011 Danny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: signed, imm-june-2011
Well that was a ride! This is the story of Gemma and Henry. Gemma lives with a circus and this setting alone is unique and fresh since I cannot recall any other book that is set around a circus. I was however skeptical in the beginning, but I turned out to absolutely love this story and world building. Gemma just lost her mom and never knew her father. She lives with her Aunt and Uncle at the circus and never knew something else. The kids were of course home schooled since the circus moves to ne ...more
I am baffled by the number of great reviews this book has received. I don't understand. This book was nothing amazing and did not hold my interest at all. It became a chore to read it and finish it. I had wanted to like this book a lot (especially after reading the acknowledgments page) but sadly I can't even give a 3 star rating because honestly this book was "just ok". Yes the idea was sort of original (the magic and seeing dead people part was kind of a bore). The part that really had me intr ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Sandra rated it really liked it
What a great read! It's so different from all the other YA saturated on the market, but at the same time it is equally enjoyable.

Gemma has lived the with circus since she was a child, but since her mother passed away there have been some changes. The circus is staying in one spot longer, they have a new wealthy financier, and Gemma and the other circus kids are being forced to attend public school. There she meets Henry, the financiers son; they fall in love and discover they are heirs to a 300
Aug 12, 2011 Marcie rated it really liked it
Sleight is a wonderfully written novel by Jennifer Sommersby. Sleight is about a girl named Gemma Flannery. Gemma has had an unusual upbringing. For most of her life she has traveled with the Cinzio Traveling Players which is a traveling circus. Gemma is raised by Marlene and Ted. They've cared for Gemma since she was little. Gemma's mother recently committed suicide after suffering for a long time with mental illness. Gemma's father is unknown. Gemma also has a secret, she can see dead people. ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: x, dac-2011
Sleight is the first self-published book I’ve ever read. It would have completely escaped my attention, had I not seen two fellow book bloggers discussing it’s awesome-ness on Twitter late one night. After reading a few reviews on Goodreads, I immediately downloaded it from Amazon to see for myself.

The story itself is one of the more original plots of any YA novel I’ve read lately. Gemma is part of an extended circus family, but just happens to have a “crazy” mother, and the ability to see shade
Jun 23, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Sleight was a wonderful, unique tale and I can't wait to see where it goes with the next book. It is about Gemma, a young girl who knows no life beyond what she has while traveling around with circus. They have become her family and that is more important than ever since her mother just passed away. But things are more complicated for Gemma because she can see ghosts.

Soon Gemma learns that the circus will be settling somewhere for a while, which means Gemma has to go to school. Fitting in isn't
Aug 17, 2011 Patricia rated it it was amazing
This book had been in been my TBR pile for a while and now I wish I'd pick it up sooner.

The circus atmosphere was impressive. I could clearly envision the big top or the elephant pen. I could almost smell the popcorn and the cotton candy. That it was set in the wonderful and glorious state of Washington was a total bonus for me, having been raised in the Pacific Northwest I could totally picture every scene and I loved the descriptions of the areas in around Seattle. Every time Jenn would say th
Ana Lucía
Jun 26, 2011 Ana Lucía rated it really liked it
Sleight is a beautifully written story and is one of the most original plots I've read so far. The idea of growing up in a circus surrounded by all kind of things, traveling around the country is very appealing and makes you wonder: how would that be?
The first chapter is the hook for the rest of the book, the funeral of Gemma's mother. She doesn't even know how to feel about this, she spent her life seeing her mother in and out of psychiatric hospital and dealing with her mental illness. That is
Nov 23, 2012 Jagged rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-have
Okay...the description on this book said that Gemma was best friends with an elephant....yeah, it lied. From what I read--and perhaps my book was a dud--Juniper was Gemma's best friend, and the elephants only showed up on a few occasions.

I found that I liked Henry more than I liked most of the other characters in the book. I, too, am not a fan of Shakespeare.
He wound up having more depth than any other character, and for the most part his personality kept pace with his development. The same cou
Apr 28, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it
The first chapter of this book is exceptional. We meet Gemma at the funeral of her chronically mentally ill mother. Gemma doesn't really know how to feel about this; which is understandable. She is of course sad about her mother's death, and sad about how she died, but at the same time she didn't really see her mum or know her properly as she was hospitalised for most of Gemma's life. I love Gemma's family, the circus performers that took her in as a child. They're so realistic and they obviousl ...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
A surprising little gem. Really liked it. The characters were smart, witty, and just the right amount of screwed up. Henry and Gemma are adorable together (history being made, I don't use that word very often), and I really enjoyed the pacing. I liked that I didn't spend the entire freaking book wondering when Gemma and Henry would get together. Oh, I don't want to give anything away. I'm not going to say you'll like it, but I certainly did and I'm not real easy to please. I've gone back and for ...more
Bewitched Bookworms
May 21, 2011 Bewitched Bookworms rated it it was amazing
You barley have time to breath since the plot moves forward so fast! I love thick and layered plots that is full of secrets for me to discover. Sleight definitely has such a plot. The world building is fantastic and the characters wonderful, deep and genuine. Even the secondary characters clearly were loved when developed and not just side objects in a novel around two main characters. Also, Jennifer Sommersby doesn't spare the reader big emotions which I always welcome, as hard as it might be.

Nov 01, 2011 Bella rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
WOW this book was breathtaking. Form the start to the end and I still want more!! It was for sure a page turner and a must read. Lots of love, actions and just all you want in a book!! There was just so much story and I really related to the characters and each of there stories, I am SO excited for the next book!! This is a must get and a must read! I hope you fall in love like I did!!
Rebecca McKinnon
Jul 08, 2011 Rebecca McKinnon rated it it was amazing
This book snagged be from the moment I saw the cover; I knew immediately that I had to read it. It certainly didn't hurt that the story was good! Looking forward to book 2.
Lisa (A Life Bound By Books)
REALLY GOOD! The last few chapters I was on the edge of my seat! And that ending.... Jenn? NEXT BOOK IS NEEDED ASAP! :P

Review to follow soon.
Stories & Sweeties {Becky}
Oct 28, 2011 Stories & Sweeties {Becky} rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Sommersby has an amazing way with words and descriptions that just pulls you right in. The storytelling is fast-paced and exciting and chock full of magic, ghosts (called Shades, some scary, some not), plenty of intriguing family secrets and a cruel, conspiring villain.

Gemma Flannery, a fiery red-haired circus musician who has just lost her mother and has always had the ability to see Shades, was a fantastic character. She was principled, smart, and very much shaped by the unusual life
Melissa-The Book Addict
Wow how have I not read tons of raving reviews for this book? The fact that I really hadn't hear much about this book had me little wary. But WOW! This was an action packed story. Gemma is a newly orphaned circus child. She has spend most of her life with her aunt and 2 uncles at the circus because her mother was mentally ill. We start off at Gemma's mothers funeral, and soon move to Washington where the circus is scheduled to stay for quite a few months which is strange enough since they only s ...more
Cheryl M-M
Aug 02, 2012 Cheryl M-M rated it it was amazing
I knew after reading the first few chapters that this was going to be a gem of a story (pardon the pun). It kept me captivated and made me grumble when it ended. The circus setting within the folds of a mysterious ancient magical set of books,which in turn are connected to the individuals who created them, thousands of years ago, is an interesting and amusing choice of scenario. Although perhaps sometimes reminiscent of Darren Shan (Vamp. Assistant) at times. The villian is portrayed by the desc ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Aimee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
What a fantastic read! I was instantly pulled in and couldn't put this book down. I love how different it is, from most other YA and paranormal type books. I loved the Circus aspect of Gemma's life. It was a great background for this character and it's so unusual that it really helps the novel stand out.

This had a lot of world building to it, and most times that can make a book a little sluggish, but Jennifer Sommersby nailed this perfectly. We got the story without any part of it being overwhe
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I am a writer, copy editor, lazy photographer, and mom of four living in the Great White North. Originally from Portland, Oregon, in 2002 I relocated from Los Angeles to the suburbs of Vancouver, BC, with my Canadian husband and miniature humans. I studied English, political science, and criminology through Washington State University, as well as copy and substantive editing (2005-06) through Simo ...more
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“You know what they say. When God slams a door on your fingers, he opens a window so you can scream for help.” 14 likes
“I've never trusted calm; there has always been the hint of a gathering storm just around the corner.” 11 likes
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