top of page

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard

Years after her mother disappeared from her life, Lexi Ryan is searching for her long lost parent. After her Dad was killed in a tragic accident, Lexi had nothing left, except for the name of a circus where her mother supposedly worked. Following the only clue she has to where her mother went, Lexi embarks on a life-changing journey.


Suggested for ages 12+



Runaway Teen



Though the premise of this book was interesting, there were many reasons I couldn't enjoy it. I was continually shocked while reading by the ridiculously unrealistic characters, conversations, situations, etc. This book is all the reasons I often don't like YA novels. The book felt bland, and was painfully stereotypical. Some parts were also quite sexist, and there were a couple undealt with racist remarks, as well. The whole story feels very unhinged. If you can ignore all of these issues, and you want a quick read about a girl who joins the circus, go for it! Otherwise, I would skip this one.

PROS Interesting premise

Violence and Scariness 1/5 Briefly mentions domestic violence. Sex and Romance 3/5 Random spontaneous sex at the end of first chapter? Then some make-out scenes throughout the story with 3 different partners.

CONS Sexist

Stereotypical plot directions

Unrealistic Teens

A bit of racism

Not very well-written


Emotional Intensity 2/5 Mom left when Lexi was young, Dad is killed in accident. Teen left homeless and on the run. Parents had abusive relationship. Drinking and Drugs 1/5 Some smoking.


bottom of page