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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blog Tour Review and GIveaway: That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
Expected Publication Date: April 1st, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Page Count: 272 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads | Books Inc.
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.
I think everyone can make the claim that at some point, life just gets so hard that all we want to do is run away and join the circus. The flashing lights, clanking rides, jarring music, musty smells, and carnies are both alluring and terrifying in their own ways. When life kicks Lexi while she's down, she makes the decision to take what little possessions she has left and skip town, headed for the Circus Europa. Once she's surrounded by the mystery and intrigue of circus life, things can only go up, right? That Time I Joined the Circus is a heart-warming and musical story about finding yourself in a mixed up world. Quick, witty, and emotionally appealing, J.J. Howard had me from page one.

Lexi is definitely a character that I could easily relate to. Her teenage struggles are universal in the sense that we all experience a time in life when things seem hopeless. Although it seems like she gives up at one point, I really admire Lexi's ambition and fortitude. Her unwillingness to let life bring her down is inspirational. Sometimes all we really need is an adventure to bring us back down to earth. I have to warn you, there's a bit of a love pentagon going on in this story, and I didn't particularly care for any of the love interests. I understand that a bit of romance is somewhat necessary in most stories, but I felt like the romance was just a distraction from Lexi's real motivations. However, I am happy that she didn't let any of them completely control her choices.

The story itself is quirky and fun; I mean, who doesn't love a good circus tale? As someone who has recently gone through some major life changes, I really appreciated Howard's focus on the steps that need to be taken to really find oneself. The message she highlights is incredibly encouraging. I love the sense of adventure that Howard imposes on readers - taking chances is the best way to figure out who you really are and what you crave out of life. Also, the way that the inner workings of the circus are displayed really grabbed me. It was interesting to see how the circus performers interacted with each other, forming one giant family in a place where everyone has lost something. Howard's writing style is great, simplistic and witty, she really captures the teenage voice.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed That Time I Joined the Circus. The story itself is fast-paced and fun, and the characters are all easy to love. If you're looking for something to spark inspiration in your life I'd, without a doubt, recommend this one. Lexi takes her struggles and overcomes them, using her hardships as inspiration to find happiness in other parts of her life. Life can be tumultuous and as someone who has experienced the trials and tribulations that it throws at us, I definitely enjoyed this great novel about simply running away and finding yourself in a completely different world. I think that most of us would choose circus life over high school any day.

About the Author:
J.J. Howard is wearing headphones right now, most likely. She grew up in York, Pennsylvania, obsessed with music, movies, television, and pop culture. You can call her if you ever need to phone a friend for trivia on any of the above topics, but don’t ask about sports, because she is hopeless at those (along with math). J.J. graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in English and Tiffin University with an MH in Humanities. She has been some of her students’ favorite English teacher for a quite a few years (she even has a mug somewhere to prove it). THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS is her first young adult novel. J.J. would love to hear from her readers and is always ready to trade playlists.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

3/27: Blog Tour Kick Off – Through the Looking Glass
3/28: Literary Exploration: Book Review
3/29: The Book Cellar: Author Favorites List
3/30: Nick’s Book Blog: Guest Post – Top Five YA’s and Top Five TBR
3/31: The Hollow Cupboards: Guest Post - Authors/Stories that Inspired Me the Most
4/1: Forever 17 Books: Top Ten Guilty Pleasures
4/2: Emilie’s Book World: Favorite Circus Attractions
4/3: Novel Sounds: Author Playlist
4/4: Nawanda Files: Author Interview
4/5: Hobbitsies: Advice for Teen Writers
4/6: Through the Looking Glass: Book Review
4/7: The Book Vortex: Guest Post – Seven Random Facts about JJ Howard
4/8: Stalking the Bookshelves: A Day in the Life of JJ Howard
4/9: Word Spelunking: Author Interview
4/10:The Busy Bibliophile: Top Seven Things I Would Like to Collect
4/11: Through the Looking Glass – Wrap Up Post


  1. I would love to be an acrobat! I totally don't have the talent for it, but if I DID, it would be awesome. ;) Great review!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Probably a lion tamer. I love animals. Thanks for the giveaway! (:

  4. I would love to work with the elephants so an elephant trainer or the one that does acrobatic tricks on the elephant! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I would work behind the scenes as an animal caretaker. That seems to be a popular choice though.

  6. I am not sure I have a desire to join the circus. But if I did I would definitely do something with the animals. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  7. I would love to be the fortune teller, but of course if that wasn't avalible i think I would be in the acrobat catagorie, like trapeze or contortion! :) I'd be good at all that stuff!

  8. Something with the animals! I love animals.

  9. I would love to be an acrobat! But I suppose I would have to get over my fear of heights. :^} Thanks for the chance to win this awesome sounding book!

  10. I'd want to be a fire breather :)

  11. Ride the Elephants! Anything that involves the animals. I am scared of heights, so a lot of the jobs are out. And clowns terrify me. I may have to wear a blindfold!

  12. Fortune Teller - only because I've always wanted my fortune told. ;)

  13. I ADORED this book!! ADORED!! So I'm glad to see that you really enjoyed it!

    (And I would totally be a Fortune Teller - especially if I could have my own Nick! LOL!)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  14. I really would love to have that book

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