That Time I Joined the Circus: A Book Review

Hi!That Time I Joined the Circus

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

Summary: 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’ 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.

{kindly taken from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: What a captivating title! :) That and the synopsis drew me into reading That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard. This is the author’s debut, and I can happily say that I am looking forward to future books. It provided such an interesting look into the circus life, not to mention a fabulous story as well.

Lexi doesn’t know her mother very well, and has lived with her father, Gavin, her entire life. So, when Gavin unexpectedly passes away, Lexi is left without a home, without money, and with no idea what to do with her life. She still has her senior year of high school to finish and amends to make with her former best friends, but Lexi decides to leave that all behind and go in search of her mother. That leads her to the circus, which is surprisingly welcome. Despite some of her annoying personality traits, I really liked Lexi as the MC. I thought she was well-developed, and, like with every good protagonist, her growth as a person was clearly evident. Something even better than a strong main character was the fact that the supporting characters were top-notch too! I don’t usually pick favorites, but I adored the circus “family.” Reading about them all and how they work together was interesting.

The plot was solid, and I liked the element of surprise the author used. You never knew what was going to happen next, similar to how Lexi had no clue what direction her life was going to take her. The novel was fast-paced and hard to put down. I could easily have read it in a night had it not been for other commitments! One of my minor complaints was the ending. I wish that it closed up a bit better. I’m okay with having lingering questions at the end of a book {part of the fun is to imagine what happened!} but there were a few major plot lines that I felt deserved more closure. My only other problem were the very few phrases and/or words used that could possibly offend readers. There was literally only three to five, {and I am being picky here!} but I think replacements could have been used to deliver the same message.

Overall, this was a surprise for me! I wasn’t planning to like it as much as I did, and I am happy that I was able to snag a copy at the library. Definitely recommended!

Pros: Strong characters and fairly good plot.

Cons: The ending left me wanting more, and a few phrases could be taken the wrong way.

Heads Up: Romance mostly.

Overall: I give it 4 stars {****} and I recommend it for ages 13 and up.

Question of the Day! Would you join a circus? :) I would be a bit hesitant…

Have a terrific rest of the day!
Bella

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