Monday, April 29, 2013

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

That Time I Joined the Circus

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I enjoyed this book! It was very short (well, shorter than what I am used to), but I think the story itself was excellent. I haven't read a ton of books dealing with circuses (I haven't read any?), so this was new to me. The characters, the plot, and the setting was pretty well constructed! Especially the setting - I loved how the author made the setting an integral part of the book.

Lexi is an awesome protagonist to follow. The book flips between what happened before she goes off to find her mother, and what happens as she goes to find her mother. I like Lexi's way of thinking, and her attitude towards achieving her goals (mainly, finding her mother). I also loved how Lexi was so invested in music! The author knows her music well, because Lexi had a vast knowledge of music! It was an interesting aspect of the heroine that made her all the more real and likable.

There are many, many characters in this book, as is expected, as the majority of the book takes place in a circus! I loved how the author characterized each character differently and clearly. I really liked Nick the most. Nick is one of the love interests in the book (yes, there is a love triangle). He's also fantastic. I love the scene where Lexi and Nick meet. What a way to meet a guy!

The story itself was great! Lexi went to find her mother, but instead, she found a circus. She wanted to escape from her best friend Eli and his girlfriend, Bailey, and she did just that. She even met a guy! But I won't tell you how everything wrapped up. 

Speaking of the ending... I cannot decide if I liked it or hated it. Seriously. It was good, but then, I was expecting something else to happen. I was disappointed when that thing did not happen. I am okay with the ending, but I did not see it coming. Again, for most people, that's either a really good thing, or a really bad thing. That is the source of so many good or bad reviews on Goodreads.

There is a love triangle. And I am oh so let down by it. I like one party more than the other, but by the end, I sort of liked both parties (still liked that one more than the other). In the end, I was disappointed by one guy, and slightly mad at the other guy. But you decide!

What I Did Not Like:

The love triangle, like I mentioned above. I did not like the presence of the love triangle, and I did not like how the love triangle was resolved. I am trying to tell myself that everything was more realistic that way, but I still cannot decide if I really liked the ending or not. I think I do. Eh.

I did not have too many problems with this book. I enjoyed it while I read it, but I probably will not read it again. It is definitely worth the read though!

Would I Recommend It:

Yes, sort of. It is a fun, quick read that I liked, but if you skip it, you are not missing the next big thing. I liked this book, but I would go shouting to the masses that they must read it.


4 stars. This is a great coming-of-age story! If you have the book or ebook, it is highly worth the read!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I have only read one circus related book (Water for Elephants) so I think I might try this one, since you said it was a quick read. I'm not a fan of love triangles but they are so prominent in YA now that I hardly notice most of the time, lol. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I don't think I've read any besides this one! And I know what you mean about love triangles - it seems like EVERY YA book has one. *sigh*

      I hope you like it if you read it! And thanks! :)

  2. I haven't read books about the circus either, so glad to hear the main character is awesome, but sorry that the love triangle takes away from enjoyment.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. The protagonist is awesome! And the love triangle was slightly disappointing, but eh. Whatever!

  3. Ooh! This sounds really good! I liked your review. And, I haven't read any circus books either, lol. I guess it's not a very prominent subject. :)

  4. I have this book on my TBR list, and I'm probably more likely to read it now. :) I really loved the circus setting in Water for Elephants, and was absolutely fascinated by it. The author actually did research here where I live because of the Ringling Circus here in Sarasota. And love triangles are my guilty pleasure. LoL. So thank you.

    1. YAY! I've never read Water for Elephants, but hey, if you love this setting, then this is a great read for you! And I'm glad you like love triangles! They are not for me lol :)

  5. I just finished this yesterday and I knew all along who she would end up with.(Much to my dismay, since I think we're both on the same 'team'.) I was kind of bummed by the end myself.

    1. Yeah... unfortunate, but that's okay. I really liked the other side of the love triangle though :\


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