13/08/2013

Review: That Time I Joined the Circus {J.J. Howard}



 
When tragedy strikes New-Yorker Lexi Ryan is forced to leave the life she's known behind and track down her mother. Thing is, her mother is somewhere in Florida with a travelling circus.

When Lexi tracks down the three-ring reality she doesn't find her mum. Instead she finds tigers, trapeze artists and unlikely friends. And maybe even a place in this crazy world.

But when her past catches up with her, Lexi is forced to decide where her heart truly lies. 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0062347047?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=0062347047&linkCode=xm2&tag=litbirboo-21http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0990662624?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=0990662624&linkCode=xm2&tag=litbirboo-21 

At first Lexi (AKA Xandra or X or whatever else she calls herself when she feels like confusing me) was quite out-there and very likeable. Her dad was also an absolute joy to read, as was her relationship with her best friend Eli. But then things fall apart and Lexi leaves to find her mother and things just go downhill from there.

And by things, I mean the characters. Lexi lost her edge and became kind of boring and when she revealed more about her relationship with Eli and his girlfriend Bailey in semi-flashback scenes I lost all sympathy for her. She seemed really bitter and immature

The redeeming feature for this book was the location. I've always been really interested in the circus (having never been) and thought of it as this cool, magical place. When J. J. Howard takes the time to describe the wonders of the setting, I was enthralled. Unfortunately, she rarely does this enoughI would have loved more descriptions of the sights and sounds and smells and more of an insight into the world of the circus and I really think that could have brought the story to life.

I did enjoy the funny chapter titles and the music quotes that begun each chapter. They were refreshing and unique and I stalked YouTube so I could check out a lot of the songs – some of which have earned a place on my iPod. Aside from that, I finished this book feeling pretty disappointed.

It wasn't awful but there was so much potential that wasn't lived up to, especially with Lexi's relationship with her mum. Those issues (and a lot more plot points) are suddenly resolved in a couple of pages near the end and it just felt all the more unsatisfying. Like a lot of build-up to dessert and then the waiter tells me there's no more cake. And guys, I WANTED CAKE.

"I fell asleep in an empty field, but woke up at the circus." 

 
 

 

Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart.
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11 comments:

  1. Sorry this one left you disatisfied! I haven't heard of it but will prob skip

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    1. Yeah, I think maybe because I had such a vivid idea of what I thought it was going to be like that I was just let down. Other people seem to have enjoyed it though, so maybe I'm just being a grumpy old woman haha

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  2. Have you read the Nigh Circus by Erin Morgenstern? If not, you'll never die happy until you do. Seriously. It's all you wanted from this book and SO MUCH MORE!

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    1. That's supposed to be Night Circus :)

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    2. Ooooh I have not! Heading over to Goodreads now to take a gander :D

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  3. :( can't stand it when characters turn bitter.

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    1. Tell me about it! I just felt like I was reading about someone throwing a tantrum or something lol

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  4. I'm sorry this book just didn't do it for you. I read anoher not so steller review for it so i knew i had to stay away from it. I hope your next read is better!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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    1. I read Forbidden after this and that was just intense! Definitely an improvement :D

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  5. Replies
    1. It was one of my favourite things about the book! Just summed up the magic of the circus for me - there one minute, gone the next, just a fleeting experience :)

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