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4.6 12
by Amanda Hocking

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Step into a wondrously strange new world with this dazzling new standalone novel by Amanda Hocking, New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles!

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate


Step into a wondrously strange new world with this dazzling new standalone novel by Amanda Hocking, New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles!

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry, and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

In the pages of Freeks, Amanda Hocking once again proves her ability to create amazing characters and enchanting worlds that will capture your imagination and never let go.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A traveling supernatural sideshow has just arrived in a sleepy Louisiana town, and Mara Beznik, daughter of the troupe’s fortune-teller, quickly becomes smitten with Gabe Alvarado, a wealthy local boy. But her family of misfits is falling prey, one by one, to a beast that is stalking the campsite, and a series of shadowy encounters and twists builds to a battle-driven reckoning. Mara and Gabe’s whirlwind, class-crossing romance plays an important role without drowning out other central relationships. Hocking (the Kanin Chronicles) takes time to examine Mara’s complex emotions regarding Gabe, her ramshackle life on the road, and her mother. Although Mara doesn’t seem to have the same gifts as her fellow travelers, she is strong, independent, and pragmatic—no damsel in distress. The story is set in 1987, allowing for playful nods to the pop culture and fashion of the day. Important questions about poverty and privilege are at the core of this standalone novel, and they’ll keep readers hooked just as much as the paranormal peril. Ages 12–up. Agent: Steven Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"Mara is strong, independent, and pragmatic...and her family of misfits is falling prey, one by one, to a beast that is stalking the campsite, bulding to a battle-driven reckoning. This standalone novel will keep readers hooked." --Publishers Weekly

"An interesting cast of quirky characters, a unique spin on a carnival freak show setting...and the variety of supernatural creatures will delight fans. This fun paranormal romance, wrapped up in a circus-tent setting, is recommended." --School Library Journal

“Amanda Hocking always has interesting, intense and beautiful storylines. This trilogy is a must-read for people looking for something a bit different. We have a beautiful heroine ... and trolls! Trylle fans will also love the crossover of their favorite characters and seeing them interact with Bryn. All in all, Bryn's story is engrossing and will keep readers clutching their books and e-readers.” —USA Today.com

“Hocking is a paranormal YA favorite, and her latest does not disappoint. Readers will feel transported by this beautifully written story. There's adventure, heart and thrills. Protagonist Bryn is filled with such power and determination, she will do whatever it takes to follow her dreams -- and her heart. Hocking's latest will have no trouble keeping the rapt attention of thrill-seekers and romantics alike.” —RT Bookreviews on The Kanin Chronicles

“Returning to the troll world of her Trylle trilogy, Hocking explores another tribe of trolls in this first book in the Kanin Chronicles. The novel's lingering questions and the author's knack for cliffhangers are reason enough to anticipate the next installment.” —Publisher's Weekly on The Kanin Chronicles

“With a thrilling climax and a haunting resolution, Frostfire brings us back to the world of the Trylle with a bang. Fans of Hocking's previous titles won't want to miss it. I can't wait to see where Bryn's story takes us next!” —The Teen Bookworm on Frostfire

“Drawn in from the first page, this was an exciting, action packed story with intriguing characters and an extremely enjoyable plot. If you're after a great read, be sure to pick this up.” —Head Stuck in a Book on The Kanin Chronicles

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Tired of living in a strange and paranormal world, all Mara wants is an escape from the carnival sideshow she's known most of her life. She thinks she might have it in a boy named Gabe whom she meets at a party when she arrives in town. Unfortunately, there is a gut feeling among many in the sideshow that something sinister is lurking. After her friends and fellow carnies are attacked by a mysterious beast, Mara must embrace the part of her identity she's tried to hide, make use of her otherworldly abilities, and save those she cares about. Hocking has crafted an interesting cast of quirky characters and a unique spin on a carnival freak show setting. The variety of supernatural creatures, from the familiar werewolf to a different take on necromancers, will delight fans of paranormal romance. The protagonist's struggle with her identity provides needed grounding in a story that largely requires readers to suspend disbelief. Some awkward pacing and heavy-handed foreshadowing make major plot points predictable far before their reveal. The climax and the conclusion, though, are ultimately quite satisfying. VERDICT This fun paranormal romance, wrapped up in a circus-tent setting, is recommended where the genre and the author's books are popular. Hand to fans of Twilight and MTV's Teen Wolf.—Kristee Copley, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
In 1987, a traveling carnival sideshow with supernaturally gifted performers faces a deadly threat. The traveling carnival that Mara calls home has seen better daysa dry spells left them in danger of completely running out of funds. Luckily, they have a gig booked in the small town of Caudry, Louisiana. Right away, though, the supernaturally sensitive pick up on something strange. Mara has a chance run-in with a hot local, Gabe, but what chance does love have when she knows she will move on at the end of the week? That is, if she survivessome mysterious creature is attacking the campground where the carnies are staying in ways that increasingly seem to be targeted. Sometimes the plot seems to be in a holding pattern (as, after attacks, the carnies and performers reiterate the fact that they need the money too badly to leave), but that works well in the buildup to the physical consummation of Mara and Gabes relationshipless well, though, in the climax, final reveal, and seemingly stand-alone ending that passes too quickly. Though the immediate setting reads more generic small-town than southern Louisiana, the overall magic world is entertaining. Both of the romantic leads are people of color: Mara is mixed race, of Egyptian and Indian heritage; Latino Gabes father is Venezuelan. The magic-and-carnival combination make for a pleasant if not spectacular diversion. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

AMANDA HOCKING is the author of the New York Times bestselling Trylle trilogy, the Kanin Chronicles, the Watersong series, and six additional self-published novels. She made international headlines by selling more than a million copies of her self-published books, primarily in e-book format. She lives in Minnesota, where she's at work on her next book.

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Freeks 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous 17 days ago
I just couldn't put it down and it kept me guessing til the end. Although the ending seemed a bit rushed it left me wanting more . Another amazing read from Amanda!
MeganSmith 21 days ago
***This ARC was received from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review*** I have been looking forward to this book for a while and was so ecstatic that the publisher granted my wish for it! It certainly did not disappoint, I was hooked from the first page and had to force myself to put it down when I realized it was past my bedtime. Mara is a smart, strong girl who knows no other life than the road. She has a strange fascination with houses because of it. She takes a stroll around the new town they are performing in and finds not only a fabulous house but a delicious boy to boot. She tries to avoid telling she is with the circus because she is afraid he will react badly. He gets upset when he finds out, but not because of what she is but because she lied. Only to find out towards the end of the books that he kept something from her also. Gabe is beautiful, funny and respectful from the minute Mara meets him. He is fine with the fact that she is with the traveling carnival but not with the fact that it means she will be leaving soon. There is some sort of strange creature that is taking out members of the circus one by one but cannot be seen well enough to identify. Mara finds out that her mother and Gideon are equipped to hunt the creature but will need her help. She is willing to do anything she needs to, to help her family. She seems to be slowly coming into powers that she never thought she would actually get. I was stunned at the end to find out who was behind everything and that they knew about the creature the whole time and never said anything! And I am glad that Gabe stood up for himself in the end.
Anonymous 7 days ago
I really enjoyed the characters and storyline. I think there has to be a sequel that shows the development if the main characters abilities and plot, but there is lots of room left for many books to come! A great exciting read with just enough omance to keep your heart on edge too!
Lisa-LostInLiterature 12 days ago
Freeks was my very first Amanda Hocking book. I'm new to the fantasy genre, so I haven't read very many books outside of my little contemporary bubble the last few years. Recently, however, I've really come out of my shell and have been reading many books that I normally never would have even considered... and I'm really enjoying them! Mara's life has always been one with the circus. For as long as she can remember, she's been traveling with her mother and close family friends, all performers in Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sidehow. From town to town, they drive in their Winnebago, staying for short week-long periods of time at each place. Mara has always longed for a "normal" life, but she's never been so lucky. When money is tight, it means her and her mother must pick up and move on to another job. This time they end up in a small, slightly-strange town of Caudry, Louisiana. After Mara stumbles into a teenage house party her first night there and meets the rich and handsome Gabe, Mara starts thinking that maybe this trip won't be so bad. That is until she starts having feelings for him and realizes that eventually, in a matter of just a few days, she will be picking up and relocating once again. She never stays in one location long enough to form any real relationship or even a friendship. Her entire life is based about the performers and helpers that travel along with the sideshow. But when very strange things start happening in Caudry that end up turning extremely scary and hurtful, the group must decide if they can stick with it long enough to be paid for their work in Caudry, or if they must up and leave asap to escape danger. This read was a lot of fun to me!! I really enjoyed getting to know these performers and their unique talents throughout the story. I also liked Mara and felt bad for her, never getting to live a "normal" life, like she so desired. Gabe was a fun character as well, and I loved the interactions he and Mara had. At times they felt a bit insta-lovey, but never overly so. Freeks was a unique and entertaining read. Nothing really stood out as being exceptional, but it kept my attention nonetheless. I felt at times it did run a bit slow, and the anticipation for answers lasted until the very end, which wrapped up a bit too quickly for my liking. I suppose I would have liked answers a bit earlier-on in the story, rather than waiting until the last few chapters to explain everything in a short span of words. Overall, a great escape from the daily grind. I'm glad I took the time to read this story and dive into the world of these circus performers, even for just a short while.
Deb-Krenzer 14 days ago
I really liked this book a lot. Even though it does have a certain animal character that I think has been way overused. The author did a great job with it and doesn't make it the whole story. This is the second book this week that I've read about circuses and I've loved it. This one pretty strange as the performers were being mauled. They thought it was the tigers, so they took the tigers on to the next town. However, it kept happening. And that's all I'm going to say about that. There's also a love story going on with the daughter of the tarot card reader and a local townie. I really enjoyed reading this book and would like to thank St. Martin's Press for approving my request and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 14 days ago
Freeks is another fabulous addition to Amanda Hocking's greatest hits! It's captivating and intriguing and all that you would expect from her: characters that are unique and colorful personalities and a story bursting with action and emotion. The year is 1987 and Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow has just arrived in Caudry, Louisiana. There's a chill in the air as something dark stalks the performers. Mara, who has longed to settle down in one place and live a normal life, explores the town on the first night and meets Gabe, the epitome of teenage normalcy. Or so Mara thinks. He becomes integral to the story in a surprising manner as Mara and the other sideshow residents fight to protect each other from a mysterious dark force. The pacing of this novel is very steady, so the mystery isn't drawn out so long that you'll want to pull your hair out, but it reaches it's peak at the right moment. There's just the right balance of getting to know the characters and their backgrounds and seeing them interact throughout the course of solving whatever mystery looms before them. I wasn't expecting the novel to be set in the late 80's but it was an easy adjustment. Amanda writes with such clarity and detail that makes any setting believable and real to your mind. She has always been excellent at world building, a fact that can be attested to by her successful Trylle Trilogy, and she continues the trend in Freeks. By the end of the novel I was searching for any indication that there would be a series to follow, but I can understand if Freeks is left as a standalone. The final outcome remains and, as usual, readers will be left craving more Hocking! *ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
Mayathebookexplorer 19 days ago
I have to say that I'm very impressed with how this story turned out. I wasn't expecting it to be so interesting. The plot is a mixture of mystery, romance, fun and violence. And somehow that combination is what I like to see in my books. Yeah, I know. I'm weird... I've never read a book by this author and after reading this story, I think I'm going to enjoy reading her other books. Despite being YA (although some scenes were almost NA) this story would appeal also to more mature readers. Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act… With this sentence the blurb sums up perfectly what you can expect from this story. Also the name of the story, Freeks, is quite accurate. But not only you get a story about people with special abilities, you also get a creature that will make your nightmares look like a joke. And what would a good story be without a murderous plot where the heroes have to fight for their lives, right? This story has it all. It's such a fantastic tempo and also great plot twists that make you want to read the story in one sitting. At least that's what happened to me. Mara and Gabe are at first sight you typical teenagers looking for a good time. But underneath, both hide some big secrets and both fear that that will come in between their new growing friendship. Add to that the mysterius attacks at the Traveling Sideshow and things get complicated real fast. Mara and Gabe's characters are obviously in the front of the story but I felt like all the characters got a good piece that told their story. You could fall in love with each character because you knew them so well. The same can be said about characters that make you dislike them. And there were a few of those. Just saying... I'm really happy I gave this story a chance. It's fun and entertainig till the end. Simply a great read!
BookwormforKids 19 days ago
In a place where mysterious powers and oddities claim the norm, the dark shadows and creepy moments unfold into an intriguing adventure which captivates until the last page. The traveling side-show is Mara's whole life, and although she sometimes dreams of a little more 'normality', her heart and soul belong to the freaks around her. When money forces the show to a small town, a strange, dark aura hangs over their heads. Strange beast attacks and missing performers are only the beginning of the sinister darkness the side-show must face. The cover and blurb draw attention and mark the atmosphere of the story. There's mystery, oddities, a lovely sprinkle of the unknown and a lingering darkness which hangs as a continual, light fog. Then, in complete contrast, there's the real world, and that adds a nice twist of familiarity and light. Mara is a teenage girl, and pretty normal in almost every way. She's hard working, caring, and protective while still being a little cautious and mistrusting. She loves her odd family, but still would like to fit in sometimes with regular teenagers-something which is hard for her to do. A steady pace holds from the beginning of the book to the end, marked not only with tense moments, mystery and danger, but also with a large variety of characters, which add extra spice at the right moments. Each personality has its own quirks, keeping the plot on its toes. There's a romance, which is a bit sudden and takes flight quick. The background surrounding this also adds a few layers, which are not only unexpected but almost weigh down with too many variables. The last chapters are chucked full of different angles, which follow logical order but stuff the plot box pretty full. The end wraps up everything nicely, leaving no loose strands, although it was a bit sudden as if something still should have come. Summed up, this is an enjoyable read with tons of delicious paranormal aspects and eerie dark shadows. I received a complimentary copy and found it creepy and delightful enough to want to leave my thoughts.
Arys 19 days ago
**4.5 Stars** Freeks by Amanda Hocking is a standalone YA novel filled with suspense, danger, and the allure of the supernatural. Against the backdrop of a mysterious small-town and a traveling carnival, Ms. Hocking invites readers to a strange and intriguing world where everyone is more than meets the eye. The story follows Mara Beznik and her friends and family of Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival. Without any known supernatural powers like her mother or the other performers in Gideon's sideshow, Mara has spent her life traveling from town to town amongst the extraordinary. Longing for normalcy, Mara is excited for a taste when she meets a local, Gabe Alvarado. However, what seems like a regular stop in a new town for the carnival soon turns into anything but, especially when something not at all normal starts attacking the sideshow performers in the middle of the night. Caudry is hiding something dark and sinister, and Mara only has a week to figure out what and how to stop it. As I was reading Freeks, in my mind, I kept envisioning a mix of the tv shows Carnivale and Grimm, especially the latter once Mara finds out more about the power she didn't know she had and her family's legacy. I really enjoyed the paranormal mystery surrounding Caudry and the carnival, as well as, the building of suspense as the characters faced their unknown threat. Ms. Hocking does a wonderful job in her world-building and giving life to her characters. I liked Mara as a heroine. She was strong and relatable. I also loved the romance between her and Gabe. Furthermore, with an ensemble of more than ten characters, Ms. Hocking does a great job of giving each their own personality and providing backstories for some without the story losing its pacing or feeling overloaded with information. My only qualm about the story was how fast the ending occurred. Overall, Freeks by Amanda Hocking is a great YA paranormal novel that had me riveted from beginning to end. I happily recommend and look forward to reading more by Ms. Hocking. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.)
Faerie-bookworm 20 days ago
Title: Freeks Author: Amanda Hocking Genre: NA Paranormal Romance Format: Ebook Pages:400 Rating:5 Heat: 3 Thoughts:Ok, so that was a blast!! I'm not sure what to focus on first, the traveling carnival, the awesome characters, or the paranormal part. Add all that with a bit of mystery and suspense and you have this book! It wasn't that the story was that unique, but there's a freshness to it that pulled you in. Usually there's more knowledge about the monster that terrorizes a town/county/city/whatever and the reason that a carnival would go to that place is because they are some secret organization that takes care of stuff like this. This story did not have any of that and it was so sneaky. It wasn't until writing this that I realized that I've heard similar stories but this one blindsided me with it's uniqueness. I highly recommend you read this! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work and chose to write a review.
Rosemary-Standeven 21 days ago
This is a great Teens/ Young Adult tale: a cast of wonderful unique characters of all ages, a gorgeous rich mysterious young man in a new town; a bit of romance; a large dose of the supernatural; and a lot of danger and terror. Mara is a relatively ordinary girl, but the same cannot be said for her colleagues in the travelling circus. For Mara, the circus folk are her friends and family, who just happen to possess supernatural powers that complement (or are intrinsic to) their stage acts – nothing abnormal or threatening. The book introduces the characters in lovely understated ways, as though their powers were every day occurrences: “the only downside was her snoring. Well, that and the telekinesis”. Unfortunately, the general public do not always see them in such a benign light, and their lives are often blighted by bigotry, discrimination, verbal and physical attacks by intolerant and ignorant people: “Spray painted in neon green on the side of Gideon’s trailer was one word: FREEKS. It wasn’t even spelled right, but I’d come to learn that the people who usually defamed our trailers very often had poor spelling”. So, when the circus arrived in Caudry, antagonism from some of the more red-necked inhabitants was not entirely unexpected. What was unusual – and terrifying – was the suppressive effect the town had on their gifts, and the brutality and extent of the physical attacks on individual circus performers. Especially as those targeted would have been able to defend themselves against any normal human or wild animal attack. The police are no help and want to close them down, but somehow someone in the town wants them to stay for their full contracted ten days – and the circus desperately needs the money. Mara meets the gorgeous Gabe and tries to conceal her link to the circus, in the hope of a brief, but enjoyable affair, before the circus moves on. Experience had told her that boys general reacted badly when they discovered her secret: “What hurt the worst was knowing that he wouldn’t think of me the same way. For a while, he’d seen me as a real person. He’d really seen me, and he’d liked me. But now I was reduced to disposable, forgettable, dirty freak”. But Gabe has his own secrets, and would that make him more open-minded? There are no really big surprises in the book for readers familiar with this genre, but the story is very well written and paced, and holds one’s interest throughout. I really hope that the author writes more books with these characters, as there must be so much more to tell of life beyond Caudry. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
onemused 21 days ago
"Freeks" is a captivating paranormal mystery. Mara has lived all her life with a circus, traveling from one place to another. This circus contains not just performers, but individuals with special abilities. For instance, her mother is a fortune teller who is able to do so through her gifts as a necromancer (she speaks with the dead who sometimes know the future). Mara is not always proud of her life (townies never let them forget that they are different- e.g. the spray painted "FREEKS" their first day open in town) and wishes she had a normal home, but the people there are her family. Things become strange when they arrive in Caudley, a small town excited for the rides, games, and interesting shows and people they bring. However, strange things start happening- performers are mauled and everyone's powers are going wonky. This is a mystery that doesn't get solved until the end of the book. I had a guess, but I was only half right. What a journey! The events happen quickly and with enough going on that it's easy to lose an afternoon reading this fascinating book. I was not sure about star rating, as there are some things I liked less about the book, but because I just could not pull myself away from this book, I'm giving it 5 stars. I was not disappointed in the least. Mara and Gabe (a townie) have a really fast romance. They get together and start making out in the first few pages. At first, I figured it was just a fling, but then it starts to become something more. I assume Mara must move so fast because she never stays in a place for very long, and Caudley is no different- they are only supposed to be there for about a week. However, Gabe really grew on me and I ended up loving them as a couple by the end. His secret wasn't so great- I figured it out quickly- but it was overshadowed by the bigger secret around the town, so it wasn't a let down (and I didn't figure that out entirely). I really enjoyed it- it's interesting and quite a quick read! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.