Monday, May 13, 2013

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

Many people dream of running away and joining the circus. This book makes that dream a reality and helps one girl find out where she's supposed to be.

Lexi's world is turned upside down after her father dies and she's left homeless, penniless, and betrayed by her friends. With nowhere to go, she tries to find her mother who abandoned her as a child. She's led to the Europa circus, only to learn that her mother had come and gone with no forwarding address. Now that she's stranded in a new state, she pleads for a job with the circus and soon finds herself bonding with the cast and crew, from the trapeze sisters Lina and Liska to falling in love with two of the workers. Just as she finds her spot in the circus, her former best friend Eli suddenly appears, forcing her to confront the things she was avoiding surrounding her father's death. She knows that life in the circus is not her destiny, but does she have the strength to face reality?

I really enjoyed this novel. While life at the circus seems a bit cliché or stereotypical, there's nothing to say that's not how it really is. For the first half of the novel the chapters switch between now and the days leading up to her father's death. The transitions are relatively flawless and help build Lexi's inner-conflict without coming flat out and saying the problem. Each chapter started with a lyric from a song. This was interesting but the most of the songs were a little too obscure for me to make any connection with.

This book was a quick and enjoyable read. It seems a bit like a fluff book, but it has a lot of depth in terms of what you think you know about people and letting go of the things that will hold you back. This is well worth the read.

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