The Mumbo Jumbo Circus by Jane George
The Skinny: After her latest set of deadbeat foster parents turn out to be a total bust, Evan Leane does what every kid dreams of doing – she runs away and joins the circus. But the Mumbo Jumbo Circus isn’t just any circus. While most circuses boast of dazzling and magical feats, the Mumbo Jumbo Circus is ACTUALLY magic. The Ringmaster, the mysterious leader of the rag tag circus family, takes in people he believes to possess magical abilities, something which he believes Evan has. But when the circus is threatened by mysterious accidents, a rival circus and Child Services searching for runaways, Evan must help to save the circus and her new family, even if it means facing her biggest fears.
BFF?: Evan was a sweet kid – okay, she was a teenager – and I really liked how even though she’d had a really crummy childhood she still managed to be someone I’d want to be friends with. She was funny without being cheesy or snarky; she was honest without being mean; and she had real fears with real reasons for them. But would we be BFFs? Evan didn’t seem to be too open to friendships; she didn’t seem like the type of girl who you could sit around, gossip with… However, if I ever joined the circus, I would totally want to be her buddy!
Readability: Finally! A book that WASN’T in first person! This was pretty easy to read while not losing any of the magic that comes with the circus. As I’m sure everyone knows, circus folk have their own language and terms for EVERYTHING. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get it, but luckily this book sort of skipped over some of the terms. I even felt like at some points a little bit of fun was poked at Evan because she couldn’t remember to call stuff by the circus name and all the circus folk kept correcting her. Overall, a great, easy read that’s filled with magic and fun talk.
Crush Level: 6ish
I really don’t know what to say about my crush level for this book. Wally (omg who names their kid WALLY?!) was, in short, wonderful. He is really great for Evan and is a genuine and sweet guy without being overly mushy. But… erm… he’s like mega-goth. I just couldn’t get over it. Until I realized that “hey! I can totally imagine him as someone else!” Which I did. And he gets a 6. But then I saw an illustration of him… so he got an ish.
Sure, what circus isn’t full of magic? But this isn’t your standard pull a rabbit out of a hat magic. This is REAL magic! Talking elephants! Were-polar-bears! China dogs that come to life! Come one! Come all! Magic!
How cool is it when books have pictures in them? What’s even cooler about these pictures is that the author drew them. Some of them are really pretty and just add a little fun and magic to the book.
Commencement Speech: I have been waiting, and waiting, and WAITING to read this book! I finally found it for my Kindle, on sale, for $.99! I’m so glad my anticipation was worth it. There were some slow parts, and at times I felt like “okay story, let’s go somewhere,” because SOOOO much seemed to happen. But overall, it was fun and exciting, thrilling and mysterious… JUST LIKE A REAL CIRCUS! The characters were really unique and well developed, all adding a little something to not only the plot but to the magic of this story. I loved how you could really feel the emotions of the circus family, how their dynamics affected the success and failure of the circus. Nothing was overly heavy, there weren’t any deep messages. This was just a fun, albeit a little more “adult” (while still being YA), read.
Superlatives – Most Likely to be That Weird Person who Loves Circus Peanuts