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FREAKS by Annette Curtis Klause


Alive, on the Inside

by Annette Curtis Klause

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-689-87037-X
Publisher: McElderry

Abel finds his fortune with freaks in this unexpectedly comfortable coming-of-age tale. In 1899, individuals with severe deformities are known as freaks, fit only for the circus or the asylum. Fourteen-year-old Abel has no physical disabilities, but his parents do. He’s been raised as a circus child in the Faeryland Freak Show, friend to dwarves, Siamese twins and Apollo the Dog Boy. There, Abel’s unusual; without any entertaining deformities, he’s never allowed to perform. But when he runs away to find his fortune (and a girl who’s not a freak), Abel discovers the outer world is cruel. He finds one circus that despises freaks and imprisons those with deformities, then joins a freak show where those displayed are prisoners living in filth and fear. It’s up to Abel to empower the poor wretches to rescue themselves and form a new community. The unusual setting of his adventure is treated with respect and affection. Only the romantic plot line, not developed as richly as the rest of the thoroughly compelling tale, weakens the offering. (Fiction. 12-15)