Book 2 Complete!

Posted on February 8, 2013. Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , |

Cover art for Wonder Show

I’m having a hard time describing Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby. I’ll start with what it’s about. Portia Remini was nine when her father left her with her Aunt Sophia (and even younger when her mother took off). Portia wasn’t a particularly easy child, and Aunt Sophia had no patience for a headstrong girl who constantly made up stories, so at the age of thirteen, Portia was sent to the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls, run by a man known only as Mister, who believed that the girls were there to be his own labor force. After all, none of their families were ever coming back. Portia, as always, maintains faith that her father will find her, but she soon realizes that she can’t stay at the Home. Remembering how her father loved the circus and learning that there was one passing through, Portia literally runs off to join the circus. She ends up with the Wonder Show, a sideshow group traveling with the circus, and they become her family.

Wonder Show is written in a very nontraditional style. Chapters go back and forth from first person, Portia, to third person, to first person, a different character. It makes for a constant readjustment, especially with short chapters, that might not be for every reader. For me, it made for a very quick, enjoyable read.

Wonder Show is a 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist, edged out by Seraphina. I can’t think of anything I’ve read that’s been quite like this book.

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