FREEKS - by Amanda Hocking

Freeks - Amanda Hocking
Year Published: 2016 - by St. Martin's Griffin.
Genres: Young adult / paranormal / romance
Pages: 400.
Source: Thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible? Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

When you pick up an Amanda Hocking book, you know you're in for action, romance, and an utterly fun ride.
While this book had its faults, I still enjoyed it :)

The atmosphere was fantastic! Dark, creepy, and deliciously hypnotic, the world of Freeks captivated me.
The mystery aspect of the story kept me guessing right up to about the last quarter of the book, when Gabe's secret became very obvious.  It was constantly gripping and I found it almost impossible to put the book down. I just had to keep reading; it wasn't boring at all. It was exciting, easy-to-read, frightening, and beautifully creepy.
The characters were brilliantly diverse, and such a refresher from the "all white" casts we so often read about in YA. Mara's world had characters from all different backgrounds and cultures and it was such a delight to read about them. I particularly like the character of Roxy; she was my favourite character. She was probably the most three-dimensional character in the book, and she lit up every scene she was in.
Mara was a wonderfully strong, feisty heroine. I adore, adore this particular quote:

YEAH! Girl power! Mara was a wonderfully strong heroine :)
The only thing I didn't like about her was that she was obviously the kind of girl who slept around a lot and had been through a ton of boys. That wasn't cool, and I couldn't respect her for that.

What I Didn't Like So Much:

- The romance between Gabe and Mara was very "insta-love". It was very, very insta; on page 32 they were already kissing! I just couldn't ship the romance in this book :(   
- The dialogue wasn't great, and when the characters talked they didn't sound all that different from one another; with perhaps the exception of Roxy.
- Hocking's writing is rather clumsy. She has an amazing way of carrying you into her story, but her actual writing isn't mind-blowing.
- Personally, I didn't like all the dark occult stuff and spell casting. As a Christian, that just didn't sit well with me, and so I didn't like it.
- The ending was very rushed. Mara was awesome and the action was good, but it was over too quickly.

Freeks was a deliciously atmospheric, hypnotic YA fantasy packed with diverse characters and rippling with dark, forbidden undercurrents. The dialogue and romance weren't great, but it was still an exciting read. 
Do I recommend it? Yes. 
If you like fun, gripping stories and refreshingly diverse characters, Freeks is for you.