Magical ability, or knack for trouble? Leondra and little sister Muse are young orphans in H. L. Burke’s young-adult novel Heart of the Curiosity. They both escape from a carnival and flee to the biggest theater in the city, the Curiosity. In a beautifully drawn steampunk world, everyone has a “knack.” Muse, a dancer, can levitate. Leo hates her own knack for influencing emotions— the carnival boss used her to get people to buy tickets. Surely it will be different at the Curiosity! Leo just wants to protect her sister, not herself, but as mystery and romance unfold it becomes apparent she needs inner healing from abuse. Can Paxton, part of the quirky family that runs the Curiosity, team up with Leo to find the theater’s fabled power-source, while helping her see her future? Biblical themes dazzle throughout the wonder at the heart of this tale.
Best for: Teen readers and older.
Discern: Violence and moral complexity, such as when people kill in self-defense but then hide the deaths from corrupt police.