Author: Amanda Hocking
Published: January 3, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Format: ARC Paperback
Rating: 5/5 stars
Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…
Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.
When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.
But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodies are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.
First of all, thank you to the publisher who sent me FREEKS by Amanda Hocking. I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to experience the world of FREEKS and I think she did an amazing job with this one!
FREEKS is a story about Mara Beznik, a teen who lives with a traveling sideshow. Among the bearded woman and a three legged man, are those members of the sideshow with paranormal abilities, one of which is Mara’s mom, a necromancer.
What I really enjoyed the most about this book is how real Mara is. She’s not the typical YA teenage, virgin girl who’s never kissed a boy and every little thing is something new to her. Instead, she has experience, she is strong because of the life she has had, and she takes control of every situation in the best way she knows how. I appreciate her not being this timid little girl, but instead, a woman who is navigating life based on her experiences.
Apart from Mara being a complete badass, the storyline is actually pretty creepy. As the traveling sideshow ventures into a new town that promises high profit, strange things begin happening. Those with paranormal abilities find that they aren’t working so well and then something begins attacking their camp.
The mystery and suspense is so real that I actually wasn’t able to guess what was really going on until it was explained, which is quite a feat since it’s getting increasingly more difficult to shockreaders with something new.
I really enjoyed the other characters that Hocking created as well. Her friends in the traveling sideshow had their abilities, but they were portrayed as normal people, which is how Mara would have seen them. Their abilities weren’t this overly important part of the story, but instead were woven into it, much like their use of their abilities in the sideshow; they aren’t telling people about them but instead using them to make things better.
Mara meets her love interest, Gabe, in the town they are working in. Gabe is someone who was a little easier to figure out. I won’t give it away but his plot twist didn’t surprise me at all. Still, he was a very likable character, especially in contrast to other “townies” we get to meet.
Overall, Hocking did a really great job with this one. As far as stand-alones go, I never really feel satisfied when I get to the end, but this one left me with all my questions answered. She really created something that had a great mixture of a cute love story and a thriller. FREEKS is a big recommendation from me!
Have you read FREEKS by Amanda Hocking?