Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Pub Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
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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 presences 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 chance the future forever.
I'd never read anything written by Amanda Hocking, but when I saw the cover of Freeks, I knew had to give this book a read. Judging a book by its cover is a bit of a gamble I know, but if a book even looks like it might have something to do with magic/the supernatural or have a some type of mystery/crime/thriller element, then I'm all in. I was totally getting the vibe that this book had a combination of all of the above.
Told in first person, Freeks is suspenseful, mysterious and dark. Nineteen year old Mara Beznik enjoys traveling around the States with her mom, her mom's boyfriend Gideon and their band of supernatural misfits, but she yearns to know what life is like not always moving from place to place living in an RV. She wants to be able to have a long-term boyfriend, put down roots and have all of the 'normal' young adult experiences that other teens are age are experiencing. Another reason Mara is eager to live the 'normal' life is that her mom's powers/abilities seem to be driving her mom toward insanity and possibly an early grave. You can't fault a girl for wanting to save her mom and only family.
Before the caravan of performers even hit Caudry something is off. Once inside the town limits though Mara gets a taste of what it's like to be a regular young adult when she stumbles across a wild party at mansion and meets Gabe (Gabriel) Alvarado and his sister Selena. From the moment they meet she knows that Gabe is hiding a huge secret and that there is a darkness about him. Despite the warning bells, Mara decides to ignore her intuition and enjoy one night of fun with Gabe.
It's not long before something starts haunting their campsite and hunting down Mara and her friends down one by one. Right away I had my suspicions about who/what I thought was behind the attacks on Mara and the rest of carnival crew. However, Hocking did add a twist into the mix and I was a little off about who/what the hunters were. Freeks is paced just right and not too slow or too fast.
There is a romance between Mara and Gabe but it's well balanced and in my opinion adds greatly to the suspense of the story as Mara gets closer to discovering his secret. Also, I loved the secondary characters. This book is roughly around 400 pages and Hocking did a great job of fleshing out each character to make sure that readers will get a feel of each character's personality.
The one thing I really appreciated about this book was the diversity. The main characters are of color/minorities. Mara and her mom, Lyanka, are described as having caramel/brown skin and being of Egyptian, Turkish, Filipino and German ancestry. Gabe's family is described as being of Latino descent on his father's side. There are also characters in this story who were part of the LGBTQ+ community and mental illness is touched upon briefly.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Freeks and disappointed when the story was over. I really wish it wasn't a stand alone read. I'm holding out hope for a sequel later on down the line.
About The Author
A Batman and Jim Henson enthusiast, Amanda Hocking is a New York Times bestselling author. She is best known for her Trylle trilogy, the Kanin Chronicles (this is on my 2017 TBR), and the Wateresong series. She's also written a host of self-published novels and made international headlines for selling over a million copies of her self-published works.
She is a Minnesota native and resident who enjoys watching cooking shows, drinking Red Bull Zero and taking care of her pets. Young adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance are her writing specialty. You can follow Amanda on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads and her official website.
Amanda Hocking and St. Martin's Griffin has graciously offered to give one of you a hardcover copy of Freeks. Use the giveaway widget below to enter for your win if you're a US resident 18 or older.