Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!” as Want to Read:
Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  984 Ratings  ·  97 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Freaks, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Freaks

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 13, 2007 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Dec 11, 2009 Angelc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2017 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! The characters were so completely different from each other, yet they all played an intricate part in each other lives
Elias St.septum
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan Currinn
I don't know what it is about circuses in books, but I find them magical and they always grip me entirely.

I loved the idea that Abel Dandy is brought up in a freak circus, when he is the only one that isn't a freak. He ended up getting visions that took him away from his family, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for his parents, and yet his adventure awaited him.

I loved the different types of circus he encountered, I felt like I was running away with him.

Friendship is an on going theme in this
Sep 11, 2007 Brittanie rated it liked it  ·  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
Jun 19, 2009 P rated it liked it
Shelves: genre-fiction
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
Jan 28, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it
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
Dec 21, 2010 Meredith rated it really liked it
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
Apr 27, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
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
Dec 02, 2008 Kat rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2008, ya
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.

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
Dec 05, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2016 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately it was not what I was hoping for. As I’m naturally drawn toward anything circus related, I had high hopes for Freaks. With its beautifully illustrated cover and interesting premise, I went into it assuming it was an adult book, but soon found out that it was young adult. And while I usually like young adult, its confusing themes made it seem like it didn't quite fit in with the genre.

The story follows a teenage boy named Abel who leaves his fr
Apr 02, 2011 Chalse rated it really liked it
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
May 10, 2011 Eden rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 10, 2014 Lissibith rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel, contemporary
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
Jan 12, 2009 Jaemi rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
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
Apr 25, 2010 M— rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Melissa Bennett
Jun 19, 2010 Melissa Bennett rated it liked it
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
Apr 11, 2011 Aviva rated it liked it
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
Mar 13, 2009 Cate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-books
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2010 Fatesocruel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
May 28, 2014 Nidah (SleepDreamWrite) rated it really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2009 Brandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
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
Jul 20, 2016 Alexandria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a Klause fan since ninth grade when I stumbled across Blood and Chocolate on my English teacher's bookshelf.

Klause is good - no, great - at delivering interesting plots that should be ridiculous but are so rooted in relatable characters that they ground the whole thing. The settings are well-rendered without being overdrawn, and Klause treats the history of "freak shows" with the complex lens it deserves. Given that this is essentially a paranormal YA romance (from a male perspective
Jul 23, 2011 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 26, 2007 Patrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: novelist-reviews
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Possible Combine 2 18 Mar 10, 2013 06:13PM  
  • Shadow in Hawthorn Bay
  • A Victorian Christmas
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to 2012
  • Love Underground: Persephone's Tale: (The Goddesses #1)
  • Haunted
  • The Utterly, Completely, And Totally Useless Fact-o-pedia
  • Mortebouse (Lou!, #2)
  • The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye
  • Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships
  • Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide
  • Pseudoscience and the Paranormal
  • Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal
  • Forbidden City
  • Cicada Summer
  • The Eyeball Collector (Tales From The Sinister City, #3)
  • The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History
  • Solstice Magic (A Calgary Stampede Adventure, #1)
  • Otomen, Vol. 11 (Otomen, #11)
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...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…