Jenna Anderson's Reviews > Freaks Like Us

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught
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's review
Sep 02, 12

bookshelves: netgalley
Read from July 09 to 11, 2012

My Thoughts for Parents and Teachers

If you are looking for a story that will keep you up into the night or make you late for work or school, then Freaks Like Us is for you. I found myself not wanting to put it down. I had to know what happened to Sunshine.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Children’s Books for the complimentary review copy of this book.

Other reviewers will most likely recap the plot and characters. What I’d like to focus on is the content. I’m doing this to help teachers and parents decide if the title is right for their kids.

** Spoiler alert

At the time I received this ARC the description indicated it is for kids ages 12 and up. I think at least 14 is a better age for intense storyline and subject matter of this book.

The plot is a heavy one – a seventeen year old girl is missing. The suspects are many – bullies, a creepy teacher who stands too close, a brother who has done time in jail, a step father who disappears from time to time, and even two best friends who know her well.

This is not a cheery story. Freak, the main character whose real name is Jason, tries to communicate to others. He tries to help find his friend. But who will listen to a freak?

There is a fair amount of swearing in this story, fights, dark repetitive thoughts such as “loser, freak, idiot, kill, die, etc” These broken record thoughts play over and over again in Freak’s mind all through the book. The underlying story of sexual abuse lurks and makes itself clear at the end.

I’m awarding this story four stars for its intensity. It kept me glued.

Young readers may find: the ending confusing and somewhat vague, the swearing and constant negative talk to be too much, and Sunshine’s secrets sad or disturbing.

* * End Spoilers

Part of me wanted to award this story three stars. The ending climax was off. I felt as if I’d spent two days slowly climbing a huge roller coaster hill. Click. Click. Click. I waited for the excited whoosh and thrill ride to the bottom. Instead, we reached a pivotal part of the story, stopped, then slowly clicked backward back down the hill. I felt cheated. The story was resolved. I just didn’t like the path the author brought us on.

For teachers and parents looking for a similar story, told from the perspective of a child with a disability, I suggest Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. It covers a serious storyline but has an uplifting, feel good ending.

I will recommend Freaks Like Us to others. I just feel it is more appropriate for older teens – ones at least 14 or 15.
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Reading Progress

07/09/2012
9.0% "Received as an ARC via NetGalley."
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