Saturday, March 2, 2013

That Time I Joined the Circus

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Keywords: circus, road trip, friendship
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley  

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. With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, last heartaches, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

i’ve got several things i want to run through about this book. when it kicked off, i was immediately hooked. couldn’t read it fast enough. the chapters begin with some song lyrics, and i knew i was going to like this book because i LOVED all the selections. my taste in music exactly. the chapter titles were also hilarious, one of which being “things were going pretty well for about a minute, so it was time for a mean but gorgeous guy to start yelling at me for no reason.” i loved the clarity they provided, and it made me get excited for the chapter to come. another thing i loved right off the bat were the alternating chapters between present day and the previous summer. this allowed howard to only reveal bits and pieces of why lexi’s friendships were in shambles and she was so defensive. i also thought howard got lexi’s new york personality wonderfully. one of my favorite quotes?
"I'm a music snob, and proud of it. I'm a New Yorker; smugness is my birthright." (and from an entirely different chapter) — "It takes a long time to make the perfect playlist. I don't believe in that little Genius button they have on iTunes. That's cheating."
the writing was just funny, and i loved the one-liners. i also really liked lexi’s character for the most part. other than the weird name-changing business and the fact that she’s a little “my life sucks.” i mean, i can forgive her for the most part because her dad died and her mom’s nowhere to be found and she had to quit school and her life actually does kind of suck.

Other characters I loved? Jamie and Nick. they appear later on in the book at the circus. these are two friends she meets there, and they are each funny and lovely characters in their own way. and i’m not going to say who this is, but i loved this:
"Was he flirting with me? Or did he just have so much male charm that the excess just flailed out of him and landed on any girl who happened to be there?"
it’s great! i was totally into the whole book. UNTIL THE END. I CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE HOW PISSED I AM ABOUT THE ENDING. like the last 40 pages. i loved the way the whole thing was going, and i am just frustrated how everyone dealt with the whole situation. and i can’t say much more without giving it away, though i am still just so sad. and mad.

but it’s still definitely worth the read. a nice quick one with humorous writing and pretty awesome characters. and i suppose maybe i was supposed to be mad about the ending? (i don’t think so, though. i hated what happened. ergh.)

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