Show Stopper by Hayley Barker

Show Stopper by Hayley Barker

Release Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

Sabotaged high wires.
Ravenous lions.
A demonic ringmaster.
A circus without a safety net.

Ben, the teenage son of a powerful government minister, attends on opening night and falls under the spell of Hoshiko, the tightrope walker and star attraction.

But as he steps beyond the dazzle and spectacle of the arena, to reveal the horrors that lurk beneath, can he find the courage to resist, to rebel, to help end the cruelty and the carnage?

Before I got around to reading it, I thought Show Stopper sounded quite a bit like The Hunger Games. They both have the same idea of the rich upper-class watching the bloody sport and torment of the lower classes for entertainment. I couldn't wait to get to this one for that reason, as well as the fact that the tagline "the deadliest show on earth" sounds so ominous, so I knew I was in for a high-stakes read. My goodness, this one was PHENOMENAL. The plot was fast-paced, and every moment had me on the edge of my seat.

The story's content, despite the fantasy setting, was so true in depiction with regards to the attitude towards minorities, known as "Dregs" in this book. Barker clearly reflected today's mentality that unfortunately more than a few people have towards minorities, particularly in the western world. While I wish there was slightly more world-building–because I'm still a little clueless as to HOW different the world in Show Stopper is in comparison to our world today–the plot was packed enough to satisfy my appetite for this dystopian-esque world.

The characters were amazing; I enjoyed the dual-perspective narrative. Ben's storyline was pretty interesting, but Hoshiko's point of view is where it's truly at. It was quite harrowing to learn about her past, as well as the torture and torment she and the other performers go through on a daily basis. The only part I didn't really enjoy was the romance. It was slightly too insta-lovey for me. Like, if their romance had time to develop, then sure, it would make sense. However, Hoshiko basically goes from hating him to having conflicting feelings about him to loving him just like that.

When I got to the end of the book, it sounded like there might be a sequel. I guess it could work as a standalone, but how things ended left me wanting more. Nonetheless, Show Stopper was both terrifying and mesmerising–dark, lush and grim, this one had me flipping pages like mad. A sensational and allegorical narrative that mirrors attitudes in our world today, Hayley Barker's debut is one not to miss.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

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  1. This sounds pretty interesting, and I love dual perspectives. I think I might not care for the romance either. I might have to try this one!
    Deanna Reads Books

  2. This is the first I've heard about this one but it sounds kind of interesting! I'm always a little skeptical when a book is pretty similiar in theme to big name books like The Hunger Games but it sounds like this one is a good read!


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