That Time I Joined the Circus

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard, Point (April 1, 2013). ISBN: 9780545433815. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS


Lexi Ryan was blindsided several times. The earliest one happened when her mother left her with her musician father with no explanation. Next came the romantic relationship between her two best friends, Eli and Bailey that made her feel like a fifth wheel. The two most devastating events happened on the same night. She let her feelings for Eli overpower her common sense and her dad was killed by a drunk driver.

If all that wasn’t enough to shatter her emotionally, she soon discovered that her father apparently directed that any money he had was to be sent to Lexi’s absent mom, at least that’s what the lawyer handling her father’s estate tells her. Left with no money, no friends, loss of her place at the fancy private school and her apartment, Lexi does the only thing she can think of. She buys a bus ticket and heads south to find her mom and confront her about why she abandoned her.

All she has to go on is what the lawyer told her—that Mom was working as part of a traveling circus. When Lexi finds the circus, Mom isn’t there, but the possibility of a job and a place to live are. Despite having to deal with odd characters and animal poop, Lexi discovers that she feels pretty good as part of the show and when she breaks through the icy reserve around the owner’s daughters who are trapeze artists, she also discovers that family is a lot more than blood.

Her voyage is far from over. It involves falling in love, not once, but twice, pushing through a web of lies she believed were truth, as well as learning how to forgive other people. Following that journey makes for a very satisfying read.


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