That Time I Joined the Circus - J.J. Howard Originally at:

Actual Review: 1.5 stars

Oh God I hate giving negative reviews. This pains me, I’ve literally put off having to review this for a month and half s i g h

THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS and I did not get along very well.

Here’s a thing you need to know about me: I love the circus. Love. As in, When I Was Younger I Trained To Be A Trapeze Artist sort of love, and that all didn’t work out i know you don’t care i’m stopping now, but it left me with a deep appreciation for the art and a chronic need to see the Cirque du Soleil whenever it came to town aka broke.

All of this to say that when I heard of CIRCUS I was beyond excited. YA + Circus + Pretty Cover = Yes, please!

I want to sat it was my high expectations that stopped me from liking this book… but I don’t think that was it. CIRCUS just angered me.

Here you have Lexi (or X or Xandra or whatever deer gawd just pick a name and stick with it), who is pretty meh about everything. She has two best friends: one she likes and one she, well, doesn’t really like. Her friends are, of course, a couple, which makes her the third wheel. Ok, good stuff, I like drama.

Then her Dad who is like super cool and not like a Dad at all omg so great Rufus is that u dies and (even though he’d pre-paid for her whole high school education) she ends up homeless, kicked out of school, basically penniless, and in an entirely crappy situation.

Wait. So the principal wouldn’t let her in the school because she didn’t have a guardian present? And wouldn’t give her money back? I’m sorry, what. The legal details here are as fuzzy as my vision.

So our super special X/Lexi/Xandra/I don’t care sets out to track her Mom (now her guardian) down. Her Mom supposedly joined a circus because she was a free spirit and what have you, but when she gets to the circus: no Mom. Lexi gets a job instead (this was actually very sensible. Why didn’t you stay like this?). And thus appears the one character I like: Costi. Oh, Costi, come back to me.

He has exactly 1 scene, and about -.9 lines.

Anyway, so Lexi starts working in the CIRCUS, some girls hate her, everybody else things she’s awesome and absolutely 0 fucks are given about finding her Mom until the last chapters of the book.

Did I miss something? WASN’T THIS THE PLOT? Ok, maybe not. Nvm.

This books has exactly 20% to do with the circus, by the way. It’s actually just used as a setting, which is fine, but we don’t really get any circus-y goodness and details, which, considering the title, is pretty sad.

So, Lexi is now in the circus, she’s having to do all sort of random stuff for her job and, somehow, even though she has the quirky personality of a peanut and talks about herself as plain and, quote, invisible, she ends up on the radar of 3 guys. Did you read that right? THREE GUYS. Apart from like the older men who think she’s cute, whatever.

So the Love Interests: Eli, Jamie, Nick (Nikolai? Nicholas? I don’t remember). I would tell you about them but they’re so one dimensional and irrelevant that I don’t think I can.

I don’t even know why they liked Lexi. They had about 0.5 interactions with her before they started pursuing her. Except for Eli, who was a little shit and not in a good way. I have never read a book where I didn’t want the main character to end up with ANY of her love interests. Until now.

Actually, it’s because she drives to another state pursuing one of her love interests while the other two are with her in the car that she ends up finally finding her Mom. I’m sorry, no. She didn’t find her Mom. SOMEBODY FOUND THE MOM FOR HER AND LEXI ACCIDENTALLY STUMBLED UPON HER WHILE GIVING CHASE TO ONE OF HER NOT BOYFRIENDS.

So after all that, you would think I’m done, yes? Yes?


I’ve saved my biggest issue with this book for last. Oh, yeah. Get ready: portrayal of women.


Basically, every girl that’s not Lexi or is presented as an obstacle for her harem was a bitch. From her ‘best friend’ to Lena (before she started to like Lexi) and those two random girls who were with Nick at the club. You aren’t Lexi + You don’t like Lexi = Bitch. They were described negatively, calling them ‘sticks’ or emphasizing how they wouldn’t let go of Lexi’s men (Lexi had exactly 0 claims to them), how they were fake, etc. It made me so mad. This is a book about a girl, written by a woman, that trash talks other girls.

No. Just no. I can’t anymore.

I’m gonna stop because this is seriously long and all the negativity exhausted me.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.