Google+ Reading Teen: Circle Nine (9) by Anne Heltzel

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Circle Nine (9) by Anne Heltzel

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press (September 13, 2011)
Buy the Book:  Amazon

When your whole life has vanished and only one person knows who you are . . . don't you have to believe him?

Abby doesn't remember what happened the night she woke up in soot-stained clothes, lying next to a burning building with an unfamiliar boy at her side. But her connection with Sam is immediate and intense. And she has no one else: no family, no home, not even a last name.

She and Sam start a new life, just the two of them, and Abby's deliriously happy. Until memories from her past begin to haunt her and suddenly everything she's learned to love turns sinister. It's only a matter of time before her reality cracks apart. 

What on earth do I say about this book. It is without a doubt the strangest book I’ve ever read. Yes, that title was formerly held by Bumped by Megan McCafferty, but now it belongs to Circle Nine by Anne Heltzel.

I really can’t tell you anything about the book in detail, because it would just give away everything. The only thing you know going into it, is that there was some sort of fire, and that Abby doesn’t remember who she is. She is rescued by Sam, who takes her to a mysterious cave “palace” where he takes care of her, protecting her from Circle 9, and the horrors of that world. She thinks that Sam is/was/could be her soulmate, and everything in life revolves around him. But soon she starts questioning everything: the things he tells her, what she believes about Circle 9, where she came from, and even her own sanity.

I wasn’t planning on reading this. I brought it to my mom’s house for her to read, along with about ten others, but it was sitting there and I started reading the first page and was completely SUCKED IN. I loved the writing! After page three, I looked at my mom and said, “Uh….I think I’m reading this book….sorry!” Before I knew it I was half way through. It was intriguing and mystifying, and I just wanted to know what on EARTH was going on. I love a good mystery.

However, I also had a lot of frustrations with this book. Though I won’t say much, this may get a little *spoilery, so skip this if you want to go in blind. I had so much trouble with Abby. I just couldn’t connect with her at ALL. I feel like she was just the most willfully blind, weak-minded girl I’ve ever read about. She drove me nuts! I mean, did she have a backbone at all? Not to mention that she’s obviously psychotic, and never gets any help for this. I just felt the ending to this was so unresolved. I think if she had somehow gained some strength, or gotten some help at the end, I might have been ok with all this…..even though it was still really bizarre, but as it stands, I feel pretty depressed about the whole thing. *End of spoiler

Overall, this is certainly different than anything I’ve ever read. It is seriously eccentric……peculiar, preternatural, odd, bizarre, curious, weird……but kind of beautiful, totally frustrating, absolutely psychedelic, the writing was poetic, with a majorly disappointing and unsatisfying main character and ending. Will you like it? Your guess is as good as mine….I don’t even know if I liked it! :D

(P.S. Fans of Stolen by Lucy Christopher may appreciate this book.)


  • Sexual Content:  Heavy inference
  • Profanity:  A small amount of heavy profanity
  • Violence:  Moderate
  • Other Notables/Possible Triggers:  Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Drug Use, Cutting, Eating Disorders, Mania, Alcohol Use, Death

For more details, check out Circle Nine on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. I loved Stolen, so I might just add this to my TBR list!

  2. I think I might be even more confused about this one than before. I'll have to read it to see what you mean. Thanks for the review!

  3. Sounds great - tahnks for the review :d

  4. I think you may have convinced me to read this book. I received an ARC of it... but I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. Thanks for the review! Unfortunately, I'm just not a fan of weak protagonists. So I'm still on the edge.

  5. Wow! I am definitely adding this to my TBR pile. The only thing I'm worried about is the protagonist problem...


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