I'm the author of the ASHFALL three-and-a-half-ology: ASHFALL, ASHEN WINTER, SUNRISE, and DARLA'S STORY.
This is easily the most-hyped middle grade novel so far this year. And I'm pleased to report that the hype is right. I read a library copy, but loved it so much that I immediately texted my mother (who owns a bookstore) to see if she had any first editions left in stock. I'm certain I'll want to reread it, so ordering a copy to own is a no-brainer.
Circus Mirandus is also a beautifully designed book. The artwork, cover, and font fit the story and enhance the magic of the reading experience. This is truly a work of art, both as a physical object and as a piece of writing.
It's by a debut author who graduated from the MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. It seems like every other debut I read is by a VCFA grad. If you're considering studying to write middle grade or YA fiction, VCFA is by far the best choice. (You don't need an MFA--I don't have one. But if you're going to get one, go to VCFA.)