Lions and Tigers and Boys
Published: Jan. 8, 2018 (Entangled)
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Okay, so Ocean’s Eleven meets The Wizard of Oz . . . at the circus. Is your mind blown? That’s what I was thinking after the first chapter. But let me explain.
Dani Gale promised her dying mother she would pursue her dream of becoming a tightrope artist. A year later, she enrolls at the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts, OZ for short, where her Great Aunt Dottie pulled some strings to get her admitted. On her first day she walks in to an assembly, already underway, and trips over another student. She’s mortified, but on the plus side, that student is the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen.
Cai is a sophomore and a tiger shifter. He’s instantly drawn to Dani, but he’s not supposed to get involved. He and his adopted brother lion shifter Leander, along with the magically talented members of the faculty, are planning a heist. Using the school’s big charity performance as a diversion, they’re going to steal an artifact from a local museum, a pair of sparkly red shoes that can open a portal to another world. They hope to go there and search for their family members, including Cai’s parents, who’ve been taken by a villain known as The Wizard.
You’re probably seeing the Wizard of Oz connection now, but there is more. Like head mean girl Maggie West who’s Dani’s competition for a spot in the show, and Cai’s jealous ex. There may even be some flying monkeys.
Though Lions and Tigers and Boys isn’t labeled as a book one, it should be. By the end of the book, the heist hasn’t actually happened yet. And really, the heist prep isn’t a big part of the story either. What is a big part is a charming high school shifter romance with hints of other magic elements. That’s something I rarely see in YA, but I hope becomes more common. The circus setting does seem to be a trend, but this is a lighter take that feels more like a sports romance, with the dark magic elements secondary.
And I guess that’s what bothered me about it. While I loved Dani and Cai’s relationship, I felt like I was going to get more of the story. And then the book just ended. Maybe revealing less about the planned heist would have lessened my expectations, although there are already so many things that are hinted at and left unresolved. Or maybe the book could have been a hundred pages longer? It’s only about 250 pages. I definitely want more, so I’ll be on the lookout for book two.
Sexual content: kissing