Circle Nine

Circle Nine

by Anne Heltzel


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Who was Abby then? Who is Abby now? An unsettling psychological thriller, seen through a lost girl's eyes.

She knows only Sam, a mysterious teenage boy. He is her sole companion; her whole life. She was born, already a teenager, lying outside a burning building in soot-stained clothes, remembering nothing, not even her name. He showed her the necklace she had on, the one that named her: Abby. Sam brought her to live in his cavepalace, where he gives her everything she needs. He loves her. He protects her from the world outside, from everyone who wants to hurt them, like the denizens of Circle Nine, Dante’s deepest circle of hell. But even in a charmed, brand-new life like Abby’s, change will come. Sam falls ill. A new girl comes to stay, and Abby begins to question Sam’s devotion. With doubt comes emotional turmoil, changes in perception, and glimpses of her past identity. In this courageous psychological thriller, Abby tells the story of living her new life and discovering her old one, while grappling with an ever-changing reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763653330
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/13/2011
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: HL710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Anne Heltzel earned an MFA in creative writing from the New School. She says of her debut novel: "I wrote Circle Nine shortly after moving to Mumbai, India, where I lived for a year and a half. It was a surreal and isolating experience at first, giving up my job and friends to move to a country I'd never seen before. Nevertheless, the magic of the city was ever-present; my reality had, in a sense, changed entirely. This all contributed to the creation of Sam." Anne Heltzel lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Circle Nine 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
iheartyabooks More than 1 year ago
This is not an easy review for me. When a story deals with abusive relationships, I normally don't read them. Books with sexual abuse or drug addiction usually a hard read for me. But this book was on my new release list, so I said I'd give it try. I'm so glad I did. I really did fall in love with the story between Sam and Abby. I would have liked to have known more of what happened to Sam, seen more of a resolution for him. Sam really grabbed a hold of my heart and I couldn't let him go. The choices he made took him down a road he could never return from, but I still thought of him as messed-up little boy that I wanted to love and fix. I was, however, happy to see that Abby's terrifying experience made her a better person from where she first started in this story. Anne Heltzel has an amazing way of writing about a subject I have a difficult have a hard time reading about. This is a very serious and dramatic situation between Sam and Abby, so be ready with the tissue box. I will definitely be reading more of Anne Heltzel's books. Circle Nine is an amazing story and a definite must read!!
nlsobon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Circle Nine¿ tells the story of Abby, a teenager who has no recollection of her life before Sam ¿ a mysterious boy she met before the fire. It¿s obvious from the beginning that the relationship between Sam and Abby is wrong. You know that he¿s hiding information from her, you know that he¿s hiding her from the world but you¿re never really quite sure why. Abby sees the cave, their home, as a palace. She doesn¿t see the mattress full of holes at first; she sees a king¿s bed. She doesn¿t see the roaches and the filth, she only sees the beauty. She doesn¿t really see who Sam is, not until Amanda shows up and forces her to start questioning things.Amanda¿s presence upsets Abby¿s world. She feels as though she¿s trying to steal Sam away from her. They go out late at night together, always leaving Abby behind. Then one night, Amanda and Sam get into a fight and something happens to Amanda. She knows about Abby, she wants to take her away from there ¿ from Sam ¿ but he isn¿t going to let that happen.As Abby begins to remember her life before Sam, as she begins to remember the fire, her parents, her sister, ¿Circle Nine¿ becomes impossible to put down. This isn¿t an easy book to read. Both Abby and Sam, although it¿s easy to hate him, are frail characters. They are broken, and for a while, they manage to complete each other¿until the truth comes out.At times its hard to follow along with the story, especially in those moments when Abby¿s perception of reality changes so quickly: one minute she¿s seeing the filth of the cave, of Sam, and the next minute she¿s seeing the `beauty¿ of their world. One sentence would state the ugly and the next would state the beauty she saw. Given that Abby¿s still grasping reality, I understand the purpose, but it changed too suddenly and sometimes it got to be confusing.Overall, I liked ¿Circle Nine¿. It wasn¿t what I was expecting, but I had trouble tearing myself away from the story. Note: Sam and Abby¿s relationship is an abusive one and there is drug use within the story, so it¿s important to note that this story won¿t be for everyone. If you decide to read ¿Circle Nine¿, which you should, I¿d suggest setting aside a few hours of free time to read it within a single sitting. I made the mistake of starting it late at night and staying up well into the morning hours because I needed to know what happened next. It¿s a difficult story to take in, and the ending leaves you with something to be desired, but it¿s a well written novel worthy of a read.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reason for Reading: The plot intrigued me.Generally, I think this is going to be one of those books that you either love or hate. I loved it! Upon closing the book, I spoke quietly to the empty room, "Wow...that was something." and gave the book a gentle reassuring pat. This is the story of an episode in Abby's life and then is divided into the following 14 weeks and then the next 30 days. Therefore normal plot and character development is not followed which may annoy some readers. However because of the intense focus on this period in time the book's unusual development provokes deep thought in the reader and great suspense in plot.Sixteen year old Abby wakes up. She is in pain, can smell smoke and a handsome young man is telling her to hurry up "they" will be here soon. So together they run fast and far to his glorious cave home. Here Abby realises she has no memory. She knows her name is Abby. Sam is calling her that, it sounds right and she is wearing a necklace with the name on it. She knows random bits of information, but she has no idea who she really is, where she came from, how she knows Sam, just that they love each other, or why she has nowhere else to be. Sam continuously reads to her from Dante's Inferno and calls the world outside their cave "Circle 9". It is a place that she should avoid and never go; it is a bad place and he will protect her. Abby is happy, safe and sound ... until memories start to come back. Short and small at first and with very painful headaches. Then she begins to realise that her world with Sam is distorted, not what it seems. Something is wrong, perhaps even sinister, and her reality begins to crack at the seams.A brilliantly written novel. Incredibly suspenseful. The reader is as much in the dark as Abby and it is only through careful attention to the details that one notices that what Abby is relating is not necessarily what is real. That what Abby talks about happening to her is not so innocent as she takes it to be. The book starts with the incident, though we only see it from Abby's broken mind. Then the book is divided into two parts, written from Abbie's perspective. First, the fourteen weeks before she gets her memory back and then the thirty days after she regains her memory. A fascinating story, highly suspenseful as the truth is slowly revealed and one which creates a lot of pathos for the only two main characters in the book. I highly enjoyed this read!
Jordan-Bankes More than 1 year ago
This story is a tragic narrative about trust and how you can never fully trust anyone but yourself in life. Circle Nine is exhilarating with its complex main character who sees only what she wants. The story is a bit creepy and daunting but its fun at the same time! I had a remarkable experience while reading it and felt everything that the main character did! I say read this story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was depressing. Definitely not what I expected. Not a bad read but much more serious than what I normally like.