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The Mumbo Jumbo Circus (Mumbo Jumbo Circus #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This title is out of print.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 15th 2011 by Red Willow Publishing (first published March 28th 2011)
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The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternWater for Elephants by Sara GruenGeek Love by Katherine DunnSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyThe Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
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157th out of 331 books — 1,242 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lauren Suero
May 31, 2011 Lauren Suero rated it really liked it
Fact: I’ve never been to a circus in my entire life. Fairs and Carnivals are certainly not the same and apparently don’t bring the same amount of magical elements that come with attending the Circus. But as usual, I love living through books and THE MUMBO JUMBO CIRCUS was definitely a story that I got completely lost in it’s magical world.

All Evanja Leane wanted in life was to be loved and feel like she belonged somewhere after being separated from her mom when she was just a baby. Abusive Foste
Marik Berghs
Feb 20, 2012 Marik Berghs rated it it was amazing
I am really surprised this book hasn't been batted from tongue to tongue like the rare treat it is. The well drawn, sympathetic characters pull you in and keep you hooked. the story is original, fresh and full of mystery. This is something to share, for adults and teens. I love the metaphor, love the magic—morphing polar bears, mojo and the challenge of discovering the unique talent in each of us. The writing is clean and eloquent, really looking forward to number two.

I thought this was a middle
Lisa  Emma Kilgariff
Jun 03, 2011 Lisa Emma Kilgariff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
I’ve spent a while trying to express my wholehearted love for this book in a way that does not utilize capital letters, an overabundance of exclamation marks and the word awesome. I have clearly failed because I still want to shout: Dudes! This book is AWESOME!!!! *ahem* Right… having gotten that out of my system I can now attempt to tell you why you should stop reading this review and just go grab the book…

First of all, it’s set in a circus. Having been to a grand total of… 0 circuses in my lif
Jun 13, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who can appreciate circus magic
I picked up a Kindle copy of this book for free on It was well worth my time. While a good deal of the story's elements have been well-paved by other young adult novels, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Twilight, the writing is enchanting and infectious, and it had me turning pages from the beginning through the end.

The protagonist is the teenage Evan, and her story is a bildungsroman. Evan has a bad home situation, and runs away to join a magical circus, where she h
Beth Barany
May 30, 2011 Beth Barany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I really enjoyed this book. Jane George creates a compelling and sympathetic character in Evan. I was sad for her when she was sad and cheered for her when she managed to stand up for herself. The conflicts felt real and scary, and I really loved how magic was woven seamlessly into the fabric of the story. George's writing is vivid and compelling. Is there a book 2 in the works?! A bonus to the Nook version I read on my iPhone: George's color whimsical art that complements the story so well. I ...more
S.M. Reine
May 19, 2011 S.M. Reine rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Very imaginative, great characters, well-written. Highly recommended.
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Evan is foster care child, bouncing around from home to home pretty much ever since she was born. There have been good placements and bad ones, but this latest one (number eight) is pretty much the worst. So when she is called a freak and then says the magic words, Evan is approached by Compere, the Ringmaster of the Mumbo Jumbo Circus, about becoming part of the traveling show. That is when the adventure starts, because the circus possesses magic that Compere's Uncle, owner of a rival circus, ...more
Jenna H.
THE MUMBO JUMBO CIRCUS: an imaginative story of a magical circus, a teen girl w/a special ability & her journey to find a place to belong.

I requested to be part of this tour because the book synopsis said it was about a teen girl who joins a magical circus to get away from an abusive life. Really, what could be better than a circus and a magical one at that? Nothing apparently! THE MUMBO JUMBO CIRCUS was an adventurous novel that gave readers an inside look at circus life
15 year old Evanje Leane is approached by the mysterious and magical Ringmaster and asked to join his circus. She doesn’t hesitate at all to run away with him, as she’s been abused in many foster homes over the years. What she soon discovers, though, is this circus involves magic, and each teen in it has a donvrai, or true gift. Evan can read horses minds, even though she’s been terrified of them since childhood. The Mumbo Jumbo Circus is at risk of losing everything though, because of the ...more
Karen Toz
Jul 13, 2012 Karen Toz rated it it was amazing
The Mumbo Jumbo Circus by Jane George, is the story of Evanja Leane (Evan), a teen trying to get through one day at a time in a failing foster care system. When her foster mom calls her a "freak," little does she know she has spoken the final word in an incantation, which leads Evan into the magical world of The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. Although hesitant at first and in complete denial that she will have to work with the one animal she fears the most, Evan soon begins to feel that The Mumbo Jumbo ...more
A Book Vacation
Aug 02, 2011 A Book Vacation rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I was pleased to find that this is a really great debut novel by Jane George, complete with love, betrayal, action, and a very interesting, original storyline! George has created a world in which the reader quickly becomes immersed, a world in which the tastes and smells of the circus become palpable as Evan is whisked away on an adventure after running away from foster home number eight. I highly enjoyed this novel and found myself glued to the pages from the very beginning. The magic
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Meghan
Cover Story: Flea Market Find
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Somehow Straight Up
Bonus Factors: The Circus, Magic, Illustrations
Relationship Status: Coffeeshop Friend

Read the full book report here.
Jul 10, 2011 Carma rated it really liked it
Very fun summer read. I've never really been a "horse" girl, and wouldn't have thought I'd love a story about the circus, but this is a fun read with characters that stay with you. Fantasy with street cred...? Is maybe my best description. I just met the author who is very cool. You can find it on Amazon, probably not in bookstores (yet?)...
Cecilia Gray
Jun 18, 2011 Cecilia Gray rated it really liked it
Scrappy heroine? Check.
Fascinating world-building and circus setting? Check.
A paranormal take I haven't read before? Check.

Delightful illustrations? TOTAL BONUS!!!

A magically fantastical and richly developed story that was a treat (especially for someone who grew up always wanting a pony...)
Read for your future!
Dec 26, 2012 Read for your future! rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-by-fhs
Feb 16, 2012 Jaime rated it really liked it
This book is a refreshing read! The characters are well rounded and believable. The story is quick and exciting. All a round a GREAT READ for young adults and adults a like!

Apr 15, 2012 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, america, kindle, z2012
I really enjoyed this. It had a great heroine, who is real, conflicted and interesting, and the story contains some very unique and quirky ideas. Lots of fun.
KelCee Wayland
Jun 10, 2011 KelCee Wayland rated it it was amazing
adorabley magical. Could not put it down
I can’t visit a circus in real life–the sight of a clown brings instant tears and freaking out–so, what do us bookworms do when we can’t go somewhere? We read about it! I haven’t had the best luck with circus books, at least of the magical variety, but I did think that The Mumbo Jumbo Circus was pretty good. It’s definitely a lot different than the others I’ve read. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter actually. Evan has been bounced from foster home to foster home, but during her stay with “Num ...more
Nicole Harris
I was hoping for a little more out of a book about a magic circus. It was entertaining but I felt the book was a bit repetitive. For example, the phrase "true gift" and "donvrai" were repeated endlessly. We understand, people are looking for their "true gift". Some of the characters were interesting (like Nan and her family) but we are only given a little time with them. Some names are repeated but I had forgotten who they were, like Chuck.

I felt some of the references were forced or didn't mak
Apr 15, 2012 Janet rated it liked it
The Mumbo Circus, by Jane George: *** Okay. I wasn't blown away by the characters or the circus setting, though. I would start to connect to a character then something (an accident, innuendo, a fight, etc) happens and I was pulled out if it. Basically, the book is long enough to either like or hate a character, like Evan, the main one, but a lot happens (plots, bad luck incidents, etc) in those pages to keep you distracted enough not to come to a conclusion. I wasn't totally charmed or carried ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Caitlin rated it liked it
If I were thirteen, I would have given this a much higher rating. It was a cute book with a pretty original premise. For the most part, I enjoyed it, though some parts could have been more detailed--Evan's time at Cirque Patron--and others should have been trimmed back--the additional time in Vegas. There was the occasional editing error, which may have just been poor transfer to ereading edition. Overall, it could have used some work, but I enjoyed it enough. I'll probably read the next book in ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
3.5. TBR Challenge also works for dredging up books that have been sitting on my Kindle unread forever and ever. This book is one part Night Circus, one part runaway story, one part Island of Misfit Toys, and pretty fun to read. Sadly, I don't seem to have access to the second book which isn't available for Kindle.
Jul 06, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
There is an interesting concept at work here, though I felt that sometimes the execution was too rushed and frenetic. However, the characters are not your usual YA fare, and I really wanted to believe in the magic of this circus.
Apr 11, 2012 LindaW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-ebook
Rounded up to 4 stars. Fun YA fantasy story about a teen who has been bounced around in the foster care system and is rescued by a magic circus. She learns a lot about her abilities, conquers her fears, and finally finds a place where she is wanted and loved for herself.
I won this book on Goodreads Firstreads. This would be an interesting read for anyone that loves the circus, with some magic thrown in.
Christa Lynn Sapp

This book is fun, touching, and compelling. I loved it! A glimpse of circus life. I could almost smell the popcorn and sawdust.
Mick rated it it was ok
May 16, 2012
Kirsten Rodgers
Kirsten Rodgers rated it liked it
Nov 20, 2012
Emily Rice
Emily Rice rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2011
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Jane George is an author and award-winning illustrator living in San Francisco, CA with her family. She is a graduate of The California College of the Arts and is an eternal student of the sublime and the absurd. When not writing or painting, she can often be found at an indie rock concert. She writes books for young adults, new adults, and adult adults, often with a tendency toward the romantic ...more
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