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That Time I Joined the Circus

That Time I Joined the Circus is a YA contemporary novel by J. J. Howard.

Lexi Ryan has lost everything.

Her friends, her school, her home… her dad.

As a last resort to get back some semblance of her life, Lexi takes off from New York to follow a slender lead on her mom’s location.

A mom that abandoned her and her dad a long time ago.

That lead brings her to a circus, which her mom is no longer at.

But since Lexi has no money, no shelter, and no food options – she accepts a job at the circus and finds herself immersed in a world extremely different from anything she’s ever experienced.

A new life begins to be built – she friends, a new type of family… maybe even new romance.

Then her ex-best friend shows up and Lexi is reminded of all she left behind…

First of all, I primarily decided to read That Time I Joined the Circus because the title drew me in and the cover had an enchantment to it. The vibrant colors, the sense of near-fantasy while still grounded in reality – it just looked cool to me.

But those very things that drew me into the That Time I Joined the Circus, in my opinion, were lacking in the actual novel.

Except for loving Lexi’s taste in Jane Austen books and finding her romance novel nerdiness (can’t stop herself from reading those terrible Regency romances) sort of refreshing, her narrative kind of bored me.

I absolutely hate saying that, because I know the author worked hard on this book – and there will be many people who love That Time I Joined the Circus – but my reaction to the writing was very ho-hum.

With the voice and plot being surprisingly blah, I was tempted to skim. But I did not.

Despite being in a crazy circus environment, I never really felt like I was there – it didn’t evoke the same emotions and interest as the cover.

Also, the novel is set up to glimpse into the recent past to see how everything fell apart in Lexi’s life, and for me the time change of the chapters was not done well to enough to differentiate them and seemed almost pointless as the big revelations weren’t that big.

Though I liked that Lexi was a “normal girl”, I found the situation she was in to be hard to believe. Her new romances and friendships felt sort of cliché, and it never felt all that inspirational or touching, though I felt it was trying to be.

In the end, That Time I Joined the Circus was not entertaining enough to be as unbelievable as it was – and sadly I was not a fan. It just didn’t do anything for me but perplex me a bit.

Hopefully you’ll feel differently! Read it for yourself!!!


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