That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J Howard

e-ARC, 273 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Published by: Scholastic Point
Source: NetGalley*
For fans of: Sparkly Covers, Contemporary, Romance, Interesting Topics, Music, Chick lit

     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. (From Goodreads)

     When I think about the circus, I think of clowns, and tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, and cool animals. Not once have I ever thought about the work that goes into putting it together; let alone joining one. But this book made me do just that, think about leaving it all behind and joining a traveling circus. 
     I admit, when I heard of this book, I was only interested in seeing if the story would live up to the cover and how the circus was going to be incorporated. I really was expecting it to be a light funny read since it is about the circus. But it turned out to be so much more than what I thought. And I mean that in the best way possible. It wasn't so much as Ringling Brothers and clowns, but Lexi's tale of growth and love. 
     The best part was all the plot twists. There were so many that I hadn't seen coming and I loved that. Especially with this being a contemporary. There was so much going on and none of it was expected. And with the easy to love characters, it was hard for me to put the book down.
     The characters in this story were another favorite part of mine. I felt every emotion possible for Lexi. From happiness, to sadness, to giddiness. It was an emotional ride that I was glad to take on with her. With everyone else, I'll let you make your own opinions so I don't spoil anything for anyone. But I will say, don't judge anyone off the bat as I did. You'll be sorry in the end. 
     The writing  itself was a huge part of why I enjoyed the book so much. I found myself swept into the story and reading it every chance I got. From my phone, from the computer. Anytime I had down time, my eyes were glued to the book. I honestly was surprised to find out this was really a debut. I cannot wait to read more by Howard.
     Especially if it'll involve music like this one. I was very impressed to see some of the songs incorporated in this novel. I'm one of those people that likes ALL types of music and can tell you lyrics, song titles, and the artist. I'm very artsy. Just like Lexi, so it was easy for me to connect with her. 
     Howard's debut novel was a huge winner in my eyes. It was a sweet read that left me breathless with its unexpectedness of music, love, and funny little lessons about the circus. I ordered a finished copy from Barnes and Noble before I had even finished the galley. I found myself devouring it in two days, being transported all the way to sunny Florida to watch the superb three ring act that Howard had created. 
Overall, I give this

*A huge thank you goes to Scholastic and Netgalley for this galley in exchange for an honest and just review. 

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