Smoke has come to the Cirque Magnifique. And Sasha Brown is sure it is her fault.
Sasha has always loved the Cirque, a place filled with sequined costumes, dazzling spotlights, and magnificent tents. But when she starts fifth grade with the Islanders—the ordinary folk from the other side of the Island—for the first time, she starts to question her home and her Cirque family. Is the magic real? Are the stories even true? Faced with the Island kids’ bullying and scorn, Sasha isn’t so sure she wants to be a Cirque kid anymore, and the swirling, blue-gray Smoke appears.
One night in the big tent, Sasha’s dad performs, twisting his body through the air as the lights dance. Sasha is supposed to be helping, but instead she sits beneath the bleachers, seething. She wishes for the Smoke to come and make it all disappear: the Cirque, her family, the Island with its mean Island kids. And the Smoke does come. As Sasha watches her dad, he flips and raises his arms out for the bar that is supposed to meet him, his bright grin confident and sure. But there is only air…and Smoke.
Both of Sasha’s parents disappear that night, and it’s all Sasha’s fault. What can she do but try and find them—even if her journey takes her to the end of the world?