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Wonder Show


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About the Author

Hannah Barnaby holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. Formerly a children's book editor, she has also worked as a bookseller and a writing instructor. Hannah was the first writer to earn the Children's Writer in Residency at the Boston Public Library. Visit Hannah at hannahbarnaby.com, or follow her on Twitter@HannahRBarnaby or Instagram@hannahbarnaby.


Nominated for the William C. Morris YA Debut AwardA Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012 Broken but resilient, Portia is a sympathetic heroine whose simple, unadorned need for love and acceptance will be immediately recognizable to any young reader.
--Bulletin This will appeal to readers looking for something a bit different than most YA fare.
Booklist Through skillful description, the dreariness of the Home and the fantastical nature of the carnival world comes vividly to life.
--Horn Book This predominantly third-person narration is richly textured with psychological tension, complex characterization, a vivid setting, and a suspenseful plot . . . one will be spellbound by this intriguing reading experience.
SLJ * Infused with nostalgia and affection, this celebration of the deliberately constructed self will hold readers in its spell from beginning to end.
--Kirkus, starred review

Gr 6-8-In this tour de force set in 1939, Portia Remini, 13, burdened with guilt over the death of her friend, escapes on a stolen bicycle from the McGreavey Home for Wayward Girls to search for her father. Believing Max departed their Gypsy camp to follow the circus, she joins a carnival and finds a family of sorts in Mosco's Traveling Wonder Show. She shares a trailer with Violet, a restless teenager whose parents and brother are albinos; trains for the ballyhoo under Jackal, who lures spectators to the sideshow of "freaks"; and enjoys the protection of Gideon, a young man whose father was impoverished by the stock-market crash. On the lam from sinister "Mister," who runs McGreavey's, Portia learns the stories of some of the carnival's strange troupe, among them, eight-foot-tall Jim and Jimmy, the midget he carries on his shoulders, and Polly and Pippa, beautiful conjoined twins whose naked dance is the sideshow's "blowoff." But her search for Max is turning up empty, and when Mister's dragnet closes in, Portia decides that to find the answers she seeks she must return to the horror of The Home. Melodrama aside, this predominantly third-person narration is richly textured with psychological tension, complex characterization, a vivid setting, and a suspenseful plot. Information in context and an author's note provide insights about circus life. Dark themes, some steamy elements, and a generous dose of swearing suggest a mature audience, but one that will be spellbound by this intriguing reading experience.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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