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Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  877 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Abel Dandy feels all alone, a normal teenager who lives in Faeryland, where his parents perform with other "human oddities." His extended family includes dwarves, fat ladies, and Siamese twins, and his first kiss was with Phoebe the Dog-Faced Girl. Everyone has an act to perform, for in 1899 there are not many ways for these "freaks" to earn a living. But what can boring A ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternWater for Elephants by Sara GruenGeek Love by Katherine DunnSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyThe Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
Circus/Carnival Books
64th out of 272 books — 610 voters
Freaks by Annette Curtis KlauseBlood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis KlauseThe Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldThe Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis KlausePersepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
Books for My Sister
1st out of 25 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,734)
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I'm trying to remember the last time I saw "loins" (and/or references to sexual organs and physical possibilities relating to them) this often in a YA ("recommended for readers 14 and up", it says) novel.

Right. That would be never. This book is smuttier than a, erm, circus full of, um, smutty things. We have a horny seventeen year old hero, an equally horny ghost, some bawdy freaks and other carnival folk (and lots of musing on their sexual physiology and what they can do with it), our hero bein
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
I could not get into this at all. I thought from the back cover that maybe it was going to interrupt the idea that people with disabilities are fuck-ups. But it actually served to re-centralize non-disabled normality/perspective because the non-disabled main character, a 14 year old boy named Abel, leaves the "freak show" community his parents are part of and that he grew up around, in order to stop being the "odd one out" and ignored because he *isn't* a freak. Couple that with an exoticized (s ...more
Elias St.septum
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read in an interview that the author was forced to do a rush job on this novel by her publisher. It isn't the best Klause is capable of but her less-than-best is still head and shoulders above many of the other books in this genre.
The plot revolves around so-called "human oddities" employed by traveling freakshows as well as reincarnation and a love story with an Egyptian mummy. This book poses sophisticated questions to the YA reader such as whether individuals with a strange appearance sho
Oct 25, 2007 Brittanie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Klause and the macabre
I'm going to start this out by saying the cover is beautiful and by one of my favourite artists.

That said, I agree with most of the reviewers of this book in that it does talk about the boy and his out of control sexual desires quite a bit. It doesn't make the book any less appropriate for an older teen audience (14+) but it does get a little tedious. We know how a boy his age would react to an enticing topless dance. We don't need to hear about it every time he has a dream, honestly. I did enjo
Hard to pin down an audience for this book, but it's very good. I enjoyed the period feel, the honesty of Abel's feelings, the relationships between all the circus folk. (It helps that I did a paper on the topic of circus sideshows in college - for instance, having seen Tod Browning's film (which Klause cites at the end), helped me visualize Klause's scenes.) I liked that she went beyond the "they're just like us" pablum to the real situations showfolk could find themselves in, and the real lack ...more
Not nearly as engrossing or sexy as Klause's Blood and Chocolate , but it has some entertaining aspects. I like the idea of exploring the lives of human freaks in shows and circuses of the 1890's, but Klause throws in a rather ridiculous and unnecessary supernatural subplot involving an ancient Egyptian mummy who comes to life as a hot teenage fantasy. The characters of the freaks, on the other hand, are interesting and movingly human. I wish she'd focused on them and felt free to step away from ...more
I liked the concept of the book ("normal" kid growing up in a late-1800's/early-1900's era freak show, clearly inspired by the film Freaks and Coney Island in its heyday), but I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd expected to. It feels overly sexual for YA novel, and, quite honestly, the mysterious woman subplot mostly just annoyed me. The heartwarming ending helped redeem it a bit,

I think I need to read some freak show/carnival histories next.
I was excited about this book, based on the cover and the back blurb which seemed to promise a different take on the sideshow story we normally see. But... eh, what we got was an unchallenging and needlessly easy book which left me feeling like the actual story had never really started.

Abel Dandy (yes really) is the normal person working in a sideshow of people with unusual features or abilities. Feeling left out and having weird dreams of a beautiful woman who makes him feel horny and wants onl
Emily Contreras
To me, this book was very entertaining. This story follows Abel, a "normal" young man raised in a freak show. Because everyone else around him isn't normal(as we would put it), Abel feels as if he doesn't belong. Since he is normal, he feels as if he should be able to live a normal life like the rest of the "normal" people. Also since his first kiss was with Phoebe, the dog- faced girl, he feels a need to find a regular girl not just a face full of fur. Soon after he gifted an ancient ring, he h ...more
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Oh boy, not only did I love reading vampires, still do, but there was that dark carnival/circus stories as well. Who doesn't love reading those? Nope, still haven't read Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I hear is that kind of story. Oh and of course Cirque du Freak. Can't forget that one. Then there's that creepy episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark...sorry getting off topic.

Anyway, this one, by the same writer as Blood and Chocolate and Silver Kiss, was I don't know, what I was expecting
bel Dandy grew up in Faeryland, surrounded by the most unusual people, right down to is legless father and armless mother. To him, oddities were the norm, and it was he, with his own human unoriginality he saw as the lack. While he was a decent knife-thrower, he felt unspecial, surrounded by the inhabitants of the Faeryland show. When the departure of the Siamese twins, and the souring of his dealings with Phoebe the dogfaced girl, Abel grows restless and angry. At night, his dreams are filled w ...more
4Q 3P JS

Meet Abel, a seemingly ordinary 17-year-old living in 1899. He and his family are performers and most of the people in their show have some sort of physical difference, such as Phoebe and her brother who are covered in fur. Though many might think that his life seems interesting enough already, Abel is feels like he just doesn’t fit in and longs to get away. He decides to seek adventure by running away with the circus. Along the way, he encounters a traveling freak show where he befriend
Melissa Bennett
I would have to say that this book was just okay. It was good enough to keep me reading until the end but not good enough to make me dwell on it or want to read it again.
It's about a 17 year old boy named Abel that grew up in what was referred to as a Freakshow. His mother had no arms, his dad had no legs but Abel was considered "normal". Because of this he felt like he didn't fit in there and set off on his own to make his fortune. He is followed by the puppy boy and from there their adventure
Able Dandy goes out to seek his fortune amid a sort of ghost story. I loved Klause' return to the theme of the seventeen-year-old protagonist first beginning to tread the waters of adulthood, and it's notable that this is the first of her novels with male main character.

The setting of this is genuinely fascinating and I liked it loads better then Alien Secrets, so that's a big plus. I've come to conclude Klause' books have to be judged each individually on their own merits; it's of no use trying
Abel Dandy is the only normal person at Faeryland. He doesn't seem to have one odd thing about him - and although he has grown up around these people, he suddenly doesn't feel like he belongs.
Abel decides it's time for him to leave and find his fortune. But the world outside Faeryland is quite tough and Abel feels even more alone and like he doesn't belong than before. The only thing that seems to give him a bit of comfort is his dreams of a beautiful dancing girl from Egypt.
On Abel's adventure
4/02/11 I'm finally getting started on this book which is saying something because I only picked it up because I am a crazy Blood and Chocolate fan... and I was majorly engrossed in the war diary I was reading, but anyways, as for the book, it's alright so far and could definitely be better. The main character Abel Dandy(who by my standards isn't so dandy) is trying to find a girlfriend, of dog-gene-less variety, but oh,don't get me wrong she's a nice girl Even if she does have some false illusi ...more

It's so weird to me, when I come across a book that is almost exactly like something that I would write myself. This story could have been plucked right out of my brain, really-- you've got your freaky characters, adventure, and an undertone of the supernatural and the incredible. Like, dude. Annette Klause has totally been spying on my brain.
But this is not about me, this is a review of her book, so... First off, I have to say that it's over the top. To a kind of startling degree. And I don't m
Got this book about the same time I picked up Geek Love and really it's kinda the young adult version in that it's also about a bunch of circus freaks. But that's where the comparison really ends. Freaks is about Abel Dandy, a boy who's the only normal one in the freak show where his parents live. So Abel runs away to seek his own fortune. He falls in with a traveling freak show run by a total ass hole and discovers this Egyptian Mummy. It's actually pretty period for circuses in the early twent ...more
I really enjoyed this one! I want to give it 4.5 stars, but since there is no option for that I went with 4.

The world of sideshow/carnival 'freaks' was really well researched. I got a real sense for the world at that time, and how a show that exploits the physical deformities of its performers could actually be an understandable way to make a living in that time period. Because the protagonist, Abel, grew up in a circus with two freaks as parents, he has a unique viewpoint for someone who is pe
Although it is not quite what I expected, I found this an enjoyable read. It's a fascinating subject and one that I rarely see explored in as much depth and variety as this book. The freaks themselves are the heart of this book and make it worth reading. The crocodile woman, Miss Lightfoot, and the man with two heads, Mr. Ginger, are particularly well-written, and their side relationship interested me much more than Abel and Tauseret. I also enjoyed the little girl Minnie. The time period is cap ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annette Curtis Klause touches an interesting part of the past in her book Freaks: Alive on the Inside. In this book, Abel Dandy is a freak. But the term "freak" is in the eye of the beholder for Abel is the only normal person living in a freak show amusement park called Faeryland. Abel's dad has no legs, his mother has no arms, and his first kiss was with Phoebe the Dog-faced girl. Aspiring to be a knife-thrower, Abel takes off to join a circus. Abel begins having dreams about a mysterious Egypt ...more
Hmm... This book was interesting. I liked it more by the end than I did in the beginning/middle. At first, I was incredibly annoyed at the main character. Abel was ridiculously selfish and self-centered, and everything he had one of those- Why me?! What about me?! thoughts, I wanted to smack him. Life is not just about you and your convinience buster, so get over it! However, by the end, he did seem to have grown up some. I also liked that he tried to be courageous and strong as a person, but he ...more
Klause reworks the mummy legend of ancient love that burns across the ages against the backdrop of an 1890's traveling carnival. There's plenty of humor, especially at the beginning of the book as Abel, the perfectly normal teller of the tale, describes his nuclear and extended "freak" family. Like any good YA novel, it's a coming of age story as Abel hits the road, joins up with a circus, then another freak show, and even lives for while in a brothel. Along the way, Abel meets those who help hi ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to everyone
This novel starts out as a very strange story and that doesn't really change, but it was such a fantastic story, with the most amazing characters that I just couldn't put the book down. The protagonist is Able, the only son of a couple who perform in a "Freak Show" You see his mother has no arms and his fathers has no legs. Able though was born "normal" and because he lives in a place where everyone has a talent and a deformity, he feels like an outcast and decides to runaway. He joins a circus ...more
A lot to like in this mix of historical fiction and fantasy, but it was very ambitious-- to the point of being overly busy with the various plotlines. Recommend it to older fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Miss Bookiverse
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Possibly the best opening line I've come across in years, followed by a fascinatingly drawn view of early 20th century carnies, falls victim to a somewhat silly plot line. Actually, leave out the somewhat - it's a very silly plot line. In fact, didn't I see this on The Mummy once? You live with it for the writing, since Klause, as always, is good, but this is far from her best work. A pity, as the characters and setting dazzle, and the idea of having the protagonist be, by virtue of his very no ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Possible Combine 2 18 Mar 10, 2013 06:13PM  
  • Freaks
  • Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century
  • Weird Ohio
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  • The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton: A True Story of Conjoined Twins
  • Very Special People
  • Grimoires: A History of Magic Books
  • A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities
  • Shadow in Hawthorn Bay
  • The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror
  • Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit
  • The Eyeball Collector (Tales From The Sinister City, #3)
  • A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State
  • A Victorian Christmas
  • Graffiti Knight
  • Dark Shadows (Dark Shadows, #1)
  • Love Underground: Persephone's Tale: (The Goddesses #1)
  • Haunted
Annette Curtis Klause broke new ground in young adult literature with The Silver Kiss, a book that is at once "sexy, scaring, and moving," according to Roger Sutton writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. A vampire love story, Klause's first novel is a darkly seductive thriller with heart and message.

Born in Bristol, England, in 1953, Klause became fascinated with grisly thing
More about Annette Curtis Klause...
Blood and Chocolate The Silver Kiss Alien Secrets Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5) The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural

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“When a boy's first romantic interlude is with Phoebe the Dog-Faced Girl, he feels a need to get out into the world and find a new life.” 3 likes
“When a boy's first romantic interlude is with Pheobe the Dog-Faced Girl, he feels a need to get out into the world and find a new life.” 2 likes
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