Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
When Portia Remini, the youngest in a gypsy family is dropped off at the doorstep of McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls she knows she won’t be there long. She just has to wait long enough to, not only survive, but gather enough information to piece together the puzzle that is her father’s disappearance.
But surviving in Mr. McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girl isn’t easy. Surviving means not being chosen to be creepy McGreavy’s wife. It means mending uniforms. It means cleaning and cooking for an ungrateful man. It means keeping your mouth shut.
While Portia is busy surviving, she’s even busier searching the depths of Mr. McGreavy’s hidden closet searching for any clues as to where both her file and her long lost father are. She doesn’t find much, but the longer she searches, the more she believes, in her heart of hearts, that her father is traveling the country with a circus. But which circus, she isn’t sure.
So when Portia is out, running errands for Mr. McGreavy, and happens upon a card full of dates and local cities, she knows it’s fate intervening. Running away is her only option, her only way out. Soon she finds herself in the midst of Mosco’s Traveling Circus, scouring the crowds day in and day out for the one familiar face she longs for. But as days turn into nights, without her even realizing it, Portia finds the family she’s dreamed of right under her nose.
Wonder Show is author Hannah Barnaby’s debut novel. Full of surprise and wonder, this debut will leave readers in awe.
Admittedly, as I reader I went into Wonder Show for one reason, and one reason alone: the circus. As a girl who is fascinated with in the inner workings of life in a working circus, I knew this book was going to be my kind of read.
But any expectations I had were surpassed. Barnaby’s writing is stellar. Her way with words is lyrical, sentences flowing into paragraphs, paragraphs flowing into chapters flow free and seamlessly.
Beyond this Barnaby’s writing is so vivid readers will be instantly transported into Portia’s life. They’ll experience the ups and downs alongside her as she’s living at McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls. They’ll feel the adrenaline pumping through their veins as Portia pedals hard and fast away from a life of misery and towards a hopeful future. They’ll befriend all the freaks and geeks that Portia soon considers her family.
Beyond the vividness of Wonder Show, this is a book full of unforgettable characters. Portia is a girl who readers will easily relate to. She’s feisty, headstrong, and a true heroine.
But Portia isn’t the only character that jumps off Wonder Show’s pages. All of the sideshow/circus performers Barnaby has created leap off the pages and straight into reader’s hearts. On the outside they may look different, but at their core they are people that readers will see a little bit of themselves hidden within.
From the outside Wonder Show appears to be a story about a circus and a girl living within the confines of said circus. In reality though, this is a coming of age story – the story of a girl coming into her own – finding, not only her place, but a family.
There’s a whole lot to love about Barnaby’s Wonder Show. With surprise and wonder found on every single page, Wonder Show will keep readers engaged and in awe.