Angie's Reviews > Wonder Show

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-debut-author-challenge
Read in February, 2012

Original review at Beneath the Jacket

First, I love the cover by Evan B. Harris. It's beautiful and I think it definitely draws the eye. I also want a print of it to hang on my wall. Someone make this happen. Please.

Second, I enjoyed the book! From the first page, I was transported to the Depression era. I was drawn in by Barnaby's wonderful writing style, the story, and the colorful cast of characters. Portia has a fire and passion that I liked. No one, not even the creepy Mister is going to stand in her way! The narration style is different than any other book I've read recently (or that I can remember right now). It goes back and forth between third-person omniscient and first-person. The first-person is normally a page or two where the reader gets an inside glimpse of Portia and the other circus characters. I would expect something like this to throw me out of the story, but I really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. I also don't think it happens enough to be a hindrance to the storytelling. I think of it as an enhancement. Especially since the reader learns more about the histories of the characters at these points.

If I have a big complaint, it would be that the end felt a bit rushed to me. The entire book I was waiting for an amazing climax and I feel almost like nothing happened. I was left with a "wait, that's it?" It's a very easily solved ending. Too easy, in my opinion.

Wonder Show reminds me a bit of Moon Over Manifest (a book I love!). Yes, they are both set during the Great Depression, but they also involve two strong female characters who will stop at nothing to find their fathers. I think Wonder Show will find its place in the MG/younger YA audience. Though, it would suit a more mature middle grade reader as it is a dark book that deals with some issues like abandonment and suicide.

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