Freeks – Amanda Hocking (Review & Blog Tour!)

Title: Freeks
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2017 (Jan 3)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal

**I received a copy of the book free from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

First of all, love this cover. Totally gets the vibe of the book. Then again, all Hocking’s books have amazing covers. I’m a big fan of hers. When I was asked to be part of the blog tour, I jumped at the chance. And I hadn’t even read the book yet. 

I knew I would love it. I just knew.

Let me just dive into the premise so you can see how cool this book sounded to me…

So Mara travels around with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend Gideon during the spring of 1987 (I was four years old, btw, so I feel really old now). They are a group of carnival workers and “freaks.” However, the freaks in this show aren’t exactly just run of the mill people. When the money gets low, they load into the Winnebago and travel to Louisiana where a friend and old sideshow member suggest they can make some major money. And the one thing Mara and the other carnival workers need is money….even though once they enter the town, they can almost feel a creepy presence in the town.

Mara mainly just helps her friends and family as she has no gift. Her mother is a Necromancer and can speak to the dead. Gideon can see the future. One friend is a pyrokinetic whiz, and another can self-heal. They are perfect for Gideon’s Traveling Sideshow…but Mara has no gift. 

While in the town, Mara meets Gabe, a sexy townie. And though their relationship cannot last, as she is only passing through, Mara and Gabe get closer than they should.

Then the attacks start.

A mysterious beast is attacking the carnival worriers. No one can get a good look at it, but the workers’ lives are in danger. However, they can’t leave because their contract stipulates they stay for so many days. And they are flat broke. So they do what they can and try to be wary. Mara is a little distracted by Gabe, who seems to have secrets of his own. One thing for sure: she doesn’t want Gabe to know she works for the carnival.

But as more people get hurt, the people of Gideon’s Traveling Sideshow start to wonder: what is going on in this small town in Louisiana? And why are the carnival workers a target? 

Could Gabe be a part of the evil that lurks in this town?

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Hocking’s books aren’t always PG (the Wake series has some steamy scenes and some swearing, but if you read the series you would understand why). But this one is totally clean. I can’t really see much use for this particular book in the classroom, but it would definitely make a good recommeended read for outside class reading. There is nothing offensive that I wouldn’t want my students to read. And just because there isn’t something that I can see, others might find a use for Freeks in the classroom: there is a theme of prejudice against anything “different.” And I loved the 80s references.

Age Range

I will once again have to guess because Freeks isn’t listed on (they really need to include more in their book catalogue). I would recommend it for ages 13 and up, though I think mature 12 year olds could read it as well. There isn’t anything really too inappropriate beside one scene with innuendo about a sleepover…but it’s implied. So I’m comfortable saying 13 and up, but also it depends on a case-by-case basis for younger readers. I’m more cautious than others, so for some I might be a little conservative. If that’s the case, then I would recommend giving it a read first before handing it off to anyone younger than 13.

End Result:

I liked Freeks a lot. I wish it was a series. I wouldn’t mind learning more about the freak show and the people in it. Alas, it is a standalone, so I give it ★★★★☆. Which mean…

For reference, see my rating system on the sidebar. 😉

Oh…but I’m not done yet! How about some Q & A with AMANDA HOCKING HERSELF???

                                                                                           AMANDA HOCKING Q&A

1. Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins? 

If it’s just the characters from FREEKS, and only one could win, I would put my money on Luka or maybe Roxie. Luka because he can heal from injuries, which gives him a crazy advantage, but Roxie is smart and she’s a survivor. Plus, she has the power of pyrokinesis, which I think I would come in handy in a battle to the death.

2. What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence? 

I almost always listen to music when I write, unless I’m writing a really difficult scene. Sometimes the silence helps me focus, but most of the time, I prefer music. For FREEKS, I got to make a really fun 80s playlist, so I especially enjoyed working to that.

3. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think the government has maybe flagged you for?

There are sooo many things. For FREEKS, I had to do fun stuff like, “What does a dead body smell like?” and “How much blood can a human lose?” And then after those macabre questions, I did a bunch of googling on fireflies and tarot cards. My search history when I’m working can be pretty exciting like that. 

4. What was your favorite part of writing FREEKS?

I love Southern Gothics and I love pulpy 80s horror movies, so I was excited to be able incorporate those things in FREEKS. But my favorite part was actually Mara and Gabe. I think they complement each other well, and it was fun writing their banter and flirtations.

5. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from FREEKS?

For Mara, I envisioned Cassie Steele from the start. I used to be a hardcore Degrassi fan, and I loved Cassie Steele on that. For Gabe, I like Ryan Guzman. I saw him in a Jennifer Lopez movie, and I was like, “Yep. That could be Gabe.”

6. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? 

I usually write between 11 am and 7 pm. I’ve tried to write earlier in the day and have more of a 8-5 type schedule, but I am not a morning person. My brain just doesn’t want to work much before noon.

7. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I usually have a goal in mind before I start writing, but it varies. Some days, it’s slow going and I hope to get at least 500 words out. Other days, I fly through with thousands of words. So it depends on where I’m at in the book, when it’s due, and how I’m feeling about the whole thing.

8. When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are before you write or do you let them develop as you go?

With all my main characters, I have a really good idea of who they are, and it’s just a matter of showing that to the readers. With the side characters, they tend to be rather one-dimensional, and they grow into the story as they’re needed.

9. How did writing Freeks differ from your writing your previous novels? 

FREEKS was the first thing I had written in awhile that was started out just for me. For most of the past ten years, I have been writing my books with the intention of publishing them, with the audience and readers and trends in mind. I think I had gotten a little burnt out on trying to make everyone happy (mostly because it is impossible to please all readers all the time), and I just wanted to write something that for the sake of writing it. 

And that turned out to be a gothic love story about a teenage girl travelling with a band of misfits in the 1980s. It was a very cathartic writing experience for me, and it reminded me of exactly why I loved writing in the first place – I love getting lost in the world, with the characters.

10. If Freeks had a theme song what would it be?

Either “Hush” by Limousines or “Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears.

11. Can you please tell us a little bit about Freeks and where you got the inspiration to write it?

I was going through a rough patch, creatively speaking, and so I just sat back and tried to think of my favorite and what I loved most that I would want to write about.

When I was a kid, I used to get old books at garage sales all the time, and I distinctly remember getting Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King and a few old V. C. Andrews novels, (I LOVE THESE!! – Steph) which are pulpy Southern Gothic-esque novels. I also watched The Lost Boys and Pretty in Pink over and over again (I think I literally ruined the old VHS of The Lost Boys from watching it too much).

So I basically threw all those things together in a soup, and I picked apart the things I liked and wanted to explore more. That became a travelling sideshow in the 80s stopping Louisiana, where a supernatural monster is afoot, and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is smith with a local boy with secrets of his own.

12. Freeks is full of many amazingly talented characters and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?

Mara and Gabe are my obvious favorites, since they’re the main characters because I was drawn to them and their story the most. Both of them of them have complex feelings about family and personal identity, and their instant chemistry was fun to write.

But I think Gideon – the namesake and head of sideshow – was actually the biggest surprise, which made him fun in a different way. In the original outlines of the story, he was much a different character – very one-note and cruel – but he completely changed and evolved as I was writing.  

13. The book is based off of a type of traveling circus that is full of many mysterious acts. If you were to attend a Freekshow, which act would you want to see most?

My favorites are usually the acrobatics, but I think if I attended Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, I would be most excited to see Gideon’s magic act. With his skills and knowledge, I think it would be a really amazing show.

14. What do you hope readers will take away from FREEKS after reading it?

With some of my other novels, I deal with heavy themes like life and death, identity, honor, mortality, classism, and family. And while I do definitely touch on those themes in FREEKS, I mostly wrote it as an escape for myself, and that’s what I hope it is for other readers. Life can be hard and frustrating, and I just wanted to write a fun book that readers could get lost in for awhile.

15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Probably how chronically shy I am. Writing is a weird profession, because a good 90% of it is perfect for introverts – you sit alone by yourself and make up imaginary friends to go on adventures. But the last 10% – which involves introducing the whole word to your imaginary friends – is the most exciting and rewarding part, but it’s also the most difficult when you’re as shy as I am. 

So that’s it, guys! Hope you enjoyed reading my review and learning a little about Amanda Hocking and Freeks!

Seriously…check it out. 

I leave you with the awesome Pan Macmillan cover, that I think is beautiful in its own way:

Happy Reading, y’all! Now here’s me in Powerpuff form!

75 thoughts on “Freeks – Amanda Hocking (Review & Blog Tour!)

  1. Georgiana Darcy

    Sounds so exciting! I love the premise.
    Also, a) the MC’s name is Mara and that’s my favorite name ever! b) there is a guy whose name is Gideon and that’s the hottest name ever ahaha would love to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Georgiana Darcy

        Of course I did! One of my favorite series ever!
        Also, there is a Ruby Red trilogy and Gideon is one of the main characters. I used to be obsessed with it, so you should totally check it out. I think the series were originally written in German but it hit big later and was translated into English as well.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, I know which one you’re talking about: the one with Red, Green, and Blue, right? I haven’t read that yet but I’ve been eyeing it for awhile. It’s good?
      I haven’t finished Mara Dyer…I still need to read Retribution. Going to be reading a lot of books this year to catch up with my old books bc of the Beat The Backlist Challenge! I need to make my post on that and my Netgalley challenge, too.
      But first I have to write a review of The Bear and the Nightingale because that comes out today! Today’s going to be a busy blogging day! (I hate to make multiple posts in one day, so I may have to write them and then schedule them so I don’t have four posts or something today!)
      Was I right on the series you mentioned? (Sorry, I tend to digress easily…) ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Georgiana Darcy

        Yes yes yes! That’s the series! The books were adapted for the movies as well and the actors are so goddamn good looking! 😻😻😻
        As for Mara, I was in a similar situation. I was in China at the time and could only get the first two books and fell in love with them. I think I got my hands on the final installment this summer and that’s after a year-long break…what can I say, was pretty disappointed with it. Still loved the characters and my baby Mara but the way things developed …in a nutshell, Retribution is my least favorite book out of three.
        What’s the Netgalley challenge about? And yes! I know the struggle! Things pile up!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve heard that with Retribution…almost don’t want to read but kinda have to in order to finish the series, lol.
      I know nothing about a movie!
      I’m participating in two challenges this year: Beat the Backlist, which I think is hosted by Novelknight (not sure but a google search will bring it up, and I have it bookmarked), and Netgalley/Edelweiss challenge. The Beat the Backlist challenge is about focusing on books that you already own or that already came out (like my purchased books from Amazon that I bought on sale and never read bc I owned them and there was no deadline), and the Netgalley challenge is about finishing any outstanding titles on Netgalley to clear it out and not have so many titles. My problem was that most of my Netgalley titles weren’t published until this month or later…so this challenge is perfect for me! And it ensures that I read the ones I have before I request any more of them…especially since I have a bunch of authors sending me books lately to review! (My blog is going well now and I’m very happy!)
      There are a lot of options for challenges this year…will you be doing any? I wasn’t blogging this time last year so this is all new to me!


      1. Georgiana Darcy

        Oh god!!! You must have a lot of titles to read then! Following this challenge is so hard since there are so many new awesome books coming out and the temptation is hard to resist!
        Yay! That’s so great! Keep the good work going! As for the challenges, I need to look into that a bit more. The Beat the Backlist sounds like a good idea since I am usually pretty diligent with Netgalley as I don’t request THAT many books 😂 but we will see how it goes!
        I haven’t been around this time last year as well. We started out in late August, so still plenty of room to grow and learn!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. You said “we….” is there two of you and I never realized it? That happens a lot with me as I am getting old. Lol.
      That Beat The Backlist just sounded really good to keep me incentivized to read the books I own…and then Netgalley one is good bc then I can still request new books! Lmao it’s like I’ll be doing the same thing I’ve been doing for the new books, but just making sure I read some books that I don’t “have” to read. Like I started doing that when I have down time in between reviews but I haven’t done it this year yet.
      Hopefully I will read some of them
      Bc honestly I have some good ones, like ACOMAF, that I haven’t read yet. And Six of Crows! (Well, I don’t own that one, but I can get it from the library), and I have some good ones from sales that I really want to read or else I wouldn’t have bought them!! 😂🤣😂
      I have a spending prob when it comes to $1.99 books on Amazon and for every one physical book I could theoretically buy, I have 10 new titles from Amazon that I happened to catch on sale for a day only. So though I love physical books, I also like to be able to own a lot of books…and with my funds being low, it’s just cheaper to buy and save them for later reads!


      1. Georgiana Darcy

        Haha yes! Indeed, two of us! Hi, I’m Asiya and mostly I’ve been talking to you ✌🏻️Has nothing to do with you getting old and besides, I’m pretty sure you are not THAT much older than us!
        Basically, both sound like a good idea to sort of declutter ahah
        Omg you haven’t read ACOMAF yet? Are you kidding? I refuse to read Six of Crows because it will definitely give me so many feels about Alina and Darlking. That ship will sail forever for me 😂
        I am actually trying to get ebooks lately since due to my constant moving around, I have to either bring the books in the suitcase or give them for storage. So physical copies are not a very good choice for me ugh

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Well, that explains the WE! 😂🙌
      Though I do love the convenience of ebooks, there’s something so awesome about seeing physical books on people’s shelves on Instagram…makes me want to have a bookshelf of my own, lol!
      But I do like knowing that I have a whole library at my fingertips! It makes reading so much easier!
      And yay! We can be kinda old together! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one! It did raise my curiosity when I first read the synopsis & was offered a spot on the blog tour. Just wish I had more reading time to have accepted 😦 in any case, I’m probably going to pick this one up. The google search question made me giggle, this book had her looking into some dark things lol. So are there going to be 2 different covers on release day?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know, honestly…it’s release day today as I am the last stop on the blog tour…I think that one might be for UK or AUS readers bc it’s Pan Macmillan? I just found it and though it looked cool as well.
      I’ve always liked Amanda Hocking. She is so down to earth. And did you know she started as a self-published author?
      I do wish this was a series, though, because a lot more could have been done, and I think that’s why it has gotten some negative reviews. It just needs more to it, that’s all. I liked it, and I think you will too. You know, since we have similar taste and all…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I hope so…it just needs a little more, you know? There’s so much that could be explored: back stories, powers, Mara’s mom, Gideon’s origin story…I hope she expands on it…I could see a lot of good come out of that!


    1. Thanks, lol! Some of the questions were pooled together, but I love that one!
      I love making people excited about a book…watch out for my review of The Bear and the Nightingale bc it was AMAZING!!


  3. Great review for this book Stephanie. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and, even though it’s already on my to-read list, you made me much more excited to pick it up than I was before! I love books like this; with circuses that are full of wonder and magic but that are slightly creepy as well, I just wish there were more out there than there currently is! 😀
    Also I loved the questions you asked Amanda Hocking as well, did you come up with them yourself? One of my friends is writing a book and her Google search history is a lot like that, including questions she was worried were going to send the police to her door. The perils of being a writer right? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I missed this comment in my massive email pile!
      I think Hocking is a fun writer…I’ve liked everything by her so far. I hope this gets turned into a series bc so much more could be done with it!
      The questions were all lumped together…but I’m sure you can tell which ones are mine, lol! I hope to read a review for this book by you! Especially if you are in the mood for spooky but light reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, I’m sure I’ve missed some comments once or twice, I guess it happens every now and again! 🙂
        I haven’t read many of her books but I think the one or two I have picked up I quite enjoyed, and this one sounds amazing.
        I kind of can tell! 🙂 And don’t worry, I’ve already added Freeks to my to-read list! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, I wish they would STOP IT! Lol!
      It’s confusing. ☹️
      And you’re right…though I’m also thinking that they believe the tastes are diff between the US and UK/AUS. Which might be the case…idk. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I attempted a copy of this on NetGalley.. I can’t remember, but I think I actually just never heard back? Which was odd. I have been shifting away from YA but this one grabbed at me. I may still pick it up. So I know you suggest mature 12 and up.. do you think the writing would snag the attention of a 16 yr old? Haha, sorry.. always looking for good reads for my daughter. It is hard to capture her attention with books. This one has potential though 😉

    And that Pan Macmillan ❤ ❤ ❤ Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I think a typical 16 year old would like it. It’s not too risqué. It barely scratches the surface. Which I always think is best when reading any YA.
      This has gotten mixed reviews, though. So I’m unsure if she personally will like it. I think really if it had been a series, it would have had more potential. But it was just too short for any cool development. I gave it four stars bc I like Hocking. Her writing is a little fluffier, and not as detailed. So if she’s an advanced reader, skip this one, and if she’s a reluctant reader, I say it is a go. 😉👍
      Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s so true. Sometimes something too heavy can be too much for me. If she likes dystopian, I loved Under the Never Sky. And I loved Suzanne Young’s The Treatment series. If you’re looking for a release from this year or really recent, I liked Ever the Hunted.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Spooky, huh?
      Oh, I liked the Immortal Rules series by Julie Kagawa! That one is amazing!
      Hotel Ruby is a good one, though Young renamed it “Hotel of the Lost.” Really creepy and good. And there’s one I’m trying to think of and it is on the tip of my tongue…oh yes, it’s called Deadgirl and that one was really good! But I don’t remember if it was Teen appropriate.
      I definitely think Immortal Rules or Hotel of the Lost would be good ones. I am not into horror but I like good paranormal books. And those were excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the first I’ve heard of this book and I am officially adding it to my TBR. I love how some of the characters have a psychic like gifts. Maybe because I’ve read The Bone Season and then The Raven Boys but anytime something like that is mention it automatically makes me want to read a book lol. I haven’t read a lot dealing with circuses but it’s definitely an intriguing setting. And with a creepy mystery type element too. Also, I love how the author was obsessed with Degrassi! That show was one of my all time favorites and Cassie Steele is definitely amazing so. Great review, Stephanie! ♥😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, tbh I think I stopped before then…I don’t even remember who JT was anymore!! I think my last real memory is the colored bracelets Emily was receiving for hooking up and being a skank. That’s my last real memory of the show, lmao!! 😂🤣😂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I only remember that bc it left a major impression…I was thinking, you give bjs for colored bracelets? Really? Emma was being a ho. That’s truly why I remember that!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Some of the best things came out of 1987… myself for example 🙂 I have seen this cover around, but never really gave it much thought. It gave me a horror vibe, and I’m not much for horror…. basically because I’m a huge wuss. I am fascinated with eerie though… and freak shows. I may decide to give this one a go after all!

    I thought your interview questions were very interesting! I liked how you asked some “odd ball’ ones along with the typical author questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I can’t take credit for all the questions…they are a collaboration of other bloggers on the tour, but the weird ones are mine. Lol.
      I was born in ’83, so I’m an 80s baby, too! You were born in ’87? Then you are way younger than me! I feel old. Lol.
      Hope you do give this a try because it is a fun read and not too serious while being a little mysterious and having a lot of potential. I hope she writes a sequel. I really hope so. This would be one of her only standalones I believe if she doesn’t write a sequel.


    1. Thank you!! That’s nice that you’ll have a physical copy! I love Hocking and her books. She’s fluffy and fun…I really enjoyed her Wake series.
      I hope you like it. Can’t wait to see your review! 😉


    1. Thank you! I wish I could lend you my copy!! If I had it from Amazon, I could just lend it to you!! I know how hard it can be acquiring money for books…I know from experience!
      She’s also super nice and I appreciate all the giveaways she is running!! 😊😊😊


    1. I had some help, but also I’m going to do more Q & As since people liked them so much!!
      Thank you! Feel free to the interview questions…they were collaborative with the blog tour…but most people can tell which ones are mine, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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