Freeks was kind of a mixed bag for me but on balance I liked it. Carnivals and circuses are fabulous settings for an urban fantasy story and this one is no exception. In fact I thought Amanda Hocking did a good job here making it seem realistic- while it didn't get into the nitty gritty details it definitely felt like the carnival was a well realized setting. The book has a lot of atmosphere and I saw a review that mentioned an "eerie vibe" to this one- I think I agree with that.
Mara travels with the carnival because her mother is a performer, and the secret of the carnival is that almost everyone in the sideshow act is a paranormal. They're broke though so they accept a gig in a small town in Louisiana. Almost immediately the sensitives among the cast sense something odd about the town, and strange things start happening, not the least of which is a shadowy creature that starts targeting performers. Mara meets a guy named Gabe who seems to be more than he appears, and that is one of the mysteries of the book as well.
Let's talk about Mara and Gabe for a sec. A lot of the reviews on Goodreads talk about instalove, and on one hand I agree. I mean she meets him, is attracted, and it's not long before they're kissing. That's not love though, they're just hot for each other. Over the course of about a week though they develop feelings- is that instalove? I don't know, it seemed a little fast but not a dealbreaker. One word of warning though- this is a YA book and there is a sex scene, it's not graphic but it's also crystal clear what they're doing. So heads up.
I thought most of the supporting cast were good. Roxie is a lot of fun, she's a pyrokinetic and like I said most of the sideshow people have unique abilities- the carnival is a refuge for people who don't fit in anywhere else. I liked the sense of camaraderie but I thought the town was pretty superficial- not a lot of development there. Gabe's family are prominent in the town (of course) and there may be more going on there too- there's nothing really new here but it is entertaining and kept me turning pages.
So if you like carnivals or a circus mixed in with supernatural this may be your jam. It's YA so it focuses a lot on the teen romance but there's an edge to it too, and the writing is good but not amazing. It feels a bit average but again if the premise sounds good it might be a great one.