"Freaks: Alive on the Inside"
by Annette Curtis Klause
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Abel Dandy is the only "normal" person at Faeryland, a circus of oddities, or Freaks, at the turn of the century. Even his doting parents are freaks. Abel's only hope for being in the show instead of being an errand boy, is to hone his skills as a knife thrower. He's always wondered what it would be like on the outside, to be like everyone else instead of being the odd one out.
I loved the characters in this book. Abel was a strong main character, he never failed in his support of the people who were family to him, but bashed by the rest of society. All of the supporting characters were based on real circus acts from history. My favorite character was Apollo, the 12 year old puppy boy, who followed Abel when he ran away. He wanted to escape his abusive father and looked up to Abel. Apollo's wide-eyed innocence and optimism was quite similar to an actual puppy and he was a lot fun to read about.
The mysterious ring and the dreams that Abel had about the beautiful girl seemed somewhat disjointed from the rest of the story. The way that his dream girl reveals herself at last is very odd and wasn't believable to me. I would have rather had the entire book be about the circus and Abel's adventures on the road.
I picked up this book for the cover, and my appreciation for the artwork grew as I read the book and realized what all of the elements represented. I love a cover illustration that is truly made for a specific book instead of a manipulated stock photo. All of the main characters and story elements are woven together in this gorgeous illustration.
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Bottom Line: This was a very unique, enjoyable read with a great message and colorful cast of characters.