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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Point
Format: Digital ARC
Pages: 272
Source: Received from the publisher for review, via NetGalley
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.

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, and the importance of an excellent playlist. (Summary from
 My thought process: A YA circus book? Heck yezzzz! Romance, tarot cards. Man this is going to rock the pickles off of me! In reality, this book is pretty good, but not nearly as dazzling as I'd hoped it would be. Basically, this book was sheer potential and lackadaisical execution.

I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. I may have liked them while I was reading, but all of them left me the minute I exited out of Adobe Reader. Lexi (Xandra, X, Lex) isn't awful to read about, but she sure isn't winning a Best Protagonist award anytime soon. She is a bit too angsty for my tastes: a penchant for fainting, crying, making things more dramatic than necessary. There were other characters, such as Eli, Jamie, Liska, and Lina, who I could have easily been charmed by but turned out to be sort of a let down because I could never really get a good enough feel for them. I guess Liska ended up being my favorite in this book, with her studious habits.

The writing was pretty mediocre most of the time. There was a large amount of telling, rather than showing. And through out the book I was like: Wait, what? You love him? When the frack did that happen? Or: When in tarnations did you guys become friends? It was like things just happened and I didn't understand when or how. Sometimes I wondered if the author was going to go a certain direction then changed her mind, not bothering to smooth over the abrupt jag in the story (not a twist in the plot--a jag in the entire story). And the romance? Miles and miles from being beautiful and heart pounding. I did enjoy the plot, for the most part, even though there were some things that were a little unbelievable (Okay, so my mom isn't actually at this circus, so I guess Ill just join it myself; What do you know, after a few hours of practice, I'm good enough to drive on the highway; Oh, look here! My mom really coincidentally shows up somewhere with a perfect explanation for everything she's done wrong. Even though I "hate" her and am still reluctant to accept her back into my good graces, we patch things up in one conversation.)

My initial response to this book after reading it: "Wasn't perfect, but it kind of made my heart happy, so that's good." I honestly can't remember what about it "made my heart happy." I do know that this was a quick read, though, and interesting enough for me to want to see it through to the end. I don't think I could really recommend this, because it was simply lacking in too many areas.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure if I want to read this book now.. I really dislike over-dramatic main characters.. And I'm not really into quick reads now. I am looking for deep books..
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl


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