07 June 2013

Review: That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

Published: 1 April 2013 by Point

Pages: 259 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary

Source: Own library


Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake--and facing a terrible tragedy--Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi's mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn't there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus's fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi's ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it's Lexi's own future that's thrown into question.

My Thoughts

I have a (bad) habit of using a lot of cliches and cheesy sayings - and one of my favourites is 'I'm going to run away and join the circus' - it pops out of my mouth at least once a week (especially on Monday mornings).  So as soon as I saw the title of That Time I Joined the Circus, I knew I had to read it.

Lexi is your almost-standard teenage girl, with an intense love of music - every chapter opens with lines from a song, and I was pretty chuffed to realise I either know most of the songs, or at least who the band is and some of them were even my favourites as a teenager.  This was by far and away my favourite part of the book, and I loved seeing which lyrics were at the heading of the next chapter.

I liked Lexi as a character, and despite some initial bumps, she does become pretty independent, despite the fact that I felt she was a little too reliant on men to protect her and make her happy.  In that way, That Time I Joined the Circus doesn't always give the strongest message of being self-sufficient, and one of them in particular I found a little intense and almost creepy.  I also found the friendships that she formed with some of the other circus performers a little too 'easy' - despite some initial dirty looks and cold shoulders, it never escalates into the intensity that it felt like it should.

The ending also felt a little bit too neat and tidy, and it did feel like some of the plot lines were glossed over a little for the sake of making everything 'nice'. 

That Time I Joined the Circus is an easy read, the characters are interesting if not altogether unique, and I loved the circus setting.  I still want to run away and join one!


  1. Oh a new blog design? I like how simple it is! And glad you liked this book I really enjoyed it. It was light and fun and I have a thing for circus books! >.< I actually knew almost none of the songs but I still liked that part! :) Great review, doll!

  2. I've been dying to read this one. I really should just buy a copy. Great review!



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