After high school senior Lexi’s dad dies, she’s forced to head for Florida, where her long-absent mother might be working for a circus.
Another compelling reason for leaving New York City—besides being evicted from her apartment and kicked out of her private school because she now lacks a parent to sign her in—is that the night of her father’s accident, she slept with her best friend Eli, even though he was dating her other best friend, Bailey. Since Eli didn’t come to her desperately needed rescue after her life started to crumble, she’s pretty certain he’s chosen to stay with Bailey. In Florida, she’s quickly hired by the circus and finds devoted friends among the cast and crew. This makes it easier to ignore the mess her life is now in: no school, her still-missing mother and unresolved issues with Eli. Moving smoothly between chapters set in Florida and flashbacks to the days before her father’s death, debut author Howard effectively depicts an attractive heroine with a notably sarcastic but nonetheless charming attitude. If things fall apart a bit too fast in the beginning and are resolved a little too facilely at the end, Lexi’s narration is entertaining enough to forgive those minor shortcomings. Since Lexi says her “life has a soundtrack,” each chapter begins with pertinent and pithy lyrics with band attributions.
For any reader who ever has felt like running away to join the circus. (Fiction. 12-18)