Freeks by Amanda Hocking

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Freeks by Amanda Hocking

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A fun, scary and retro trip into the 80's, with a strong lead and a compelling story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Pan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1509807659

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In the spring of 1987, the carnival comes to small-town Caudry, Louisiana. Then events take a dangerous turn. For Mara Beznik, the carnival is home. It's also a place of secrets, hidden powers and a buried past - making it hard to connect with outsiders. However, sparks fly when she meets local boy Gabe Alvarado. As they become inseparable, Mara realizes Gabe is hiding his own secrets. And his family legacy could destroy Mara's world. They find the word 'freeks' sprayed on trailers, as carnival employees start disappearing. Then workers wind up dead, killed in disturbing ways by someone or something. Mara is determined to unlock the mystery, with Gabe's help. But can they really halt this campaign of fear?

Amanda Hocking is a writer based in Austin Minnesota. She'd not sold a single book before 2010 – and has now sold over a million! Hocking has a huge love for the 80's, and is a big fan of the films of John Waters, which I think translates well into Freeks - a book that read like a mash up of Pretty in Pink and Twilight.

Mara is a young girl who travels with a freak show – a freak show full of characters who harbour hidden powers that allow them to make the freak show a success. Travelling the country and helping out with the Freak show, Mara never stays anywhere for long – but meeting a local boy soon brings out new feelings in her, and makes the thought of moving on unbearable. As if that's not enough drama, carnival employees start winding up dead – so it's down to Mara to figure out who is killing the freak show, and how to stop them before they get to her…

This is an extremely fun read – Mara and her love interest Gabe are well developed characters whose blossoming relationship is both believable and easy to root for, which is hugely important in a book of this nature. In fact, Hocking has a real skill for character, making even the smallest of the bit part characters in the freak show memorable to the reader. The author keeps the plot moving at a rapid pace – going from 80's style romance scenes in one moment, through to horrors and murders the next. The climax is strong, if a little predictable, and this is a book with enough plot twists that I was able to read it in one go, swiftly pawing through the pages in order to find out who or what was doing the killing, and how the characters would put an end to it. However, the pace of the book does mean that there are a few weak points in the book – Mara and Gabe's love story, whilst believable, does feel a little rushed, and there's little to no development for the majority of the characters. That doesn't take away from the fact that this is an immensely fun read though, and for those who have nostalgia for the '80's, or love a fun read with scares and romance, Freeks is definitely worth a read. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I recommend Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Not a book I'd normally recommend, but it ties in well with the themes of the supernatural and romance that are present in Freeks, and whilst no classic is certainly a fun, escapist read.

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Buy Freeks by Amanda Hocking at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Freeks by Amanda Hocking at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Freeks by Amanda Hocking at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Freeks by Amanda Hocking at


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