That Time I Joined The Circus, by J.J. Howard
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads 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. Rumour 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 humour, 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.
For some weird wacko reason, I expected this to be a magical supernatural book. Why? I don't know, I sometimes skip summaries. xD
Nope. This isn't a magical-supernatural book at all. Don't let the cover fool you. This is a heart-and-soul purified contemporary-romance. No doubt about it.
This book has been on my to-read and to-buy list for a long time. I recently remembered about it *chuckles* and decided to pick up the ebook because I couldn't find any physical copies anywhere. I expected something totally different, but it ended up definitely enjoyable and a light fresh read.
Summary: Lexi Ryan was just living an ordinary happy life in downtown New York with her loving-music obsessed father. Until he suddenly got struck by a car and died, and Lexi was left all alone. She goes out to search for her circus-crazed mother who left Lexi and her dad all those years ago, and it turns out that Lexi's mom isn't at the circus when she heard she is. Luckily, she is granted a job, makes friends and has food to eat. Soon later, Lexi's ex-best friend who she left behind shows up, begging for her forgiveness, and Lexi has to figure out what she really wants in life.
I really wouldn't say that this book focuses on its title and the circus at all. The circus is just the setting and where Lexi's life basically changed. It didn't upset me that this occurred, because in fact, I was afraid that it would be too kiddy and would focus on the circus and the animals and their names and all that. Now that's just immature, but who knows?
What did upset me with this book was that it was all too good to be true. Lexi went through too many tragedies, heartbreaks and all that. No one can go through that much, it's unreal. It is a contemporary-romance book, but it's too unreal. She's an outcast at school, her best friend is dating her other best friend, her dad just died, and she's out to search for her mother who even isn't there where she's supposed to be. Come on. *sighs* I felt as if the author personally added in all of these unjust tragedies and hardships for Lexi to deal with so that the book won't bore the reader, and I have to admit that this book didn't bore me at all. So you could say that this was a good thing. It's a mixed feeling idea to think about in this perspective.
Like I said- this was intriguing. J.J. Howard's writing was so light and gorgeous and you feel that you need to be in her writing world forever. I was enjoying it the whole entire time, and I finished it very quickly.
The characters were okay. I loved the side characters, especially Lina. These people were a crew, and they all made a large difference in this book, and you could definitely see that after thinking about the outcome of the book and writing a review, just like I currently am. ;) Nick was an absolute pleasure, *winks* but I really am sad to see him basically just disappear like that, after Lexi and him created such electrical sparks, I just couldn't keep myself together after that kiss. *squeals* It hurt me to see him go. :(
Lexi was... alright. She was whiny at times and didn't know what she wanted in life, and with basically everything, but she's very relatable and many teens today could relate to her and her situation. I would've liked a protagonist with another personality, but I guess you could say she's bearable.
Eli? Ew. He's such a tryhard and I didn't like him at all- never. Nick would've been a better match, and it basically love at first sight between them. I think it was dumb of him to go look for Lexi just to apologize, when we all know that she would find her mom sooner or later. He just wasn't thinking. If he loved Lexi so much from the moment he met her, then why didn't he make a move?
So everything equals a four star rating for me. This was a very enjoyable book with a few unacceptable flaws that just made me feel heartbroken, but what can you do? I recommend this for someone in search of something with a great message and something different. I finally read this!