Show Stopper

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Hayley Barker's debut, Show Stopper, which was published by Scholastic on the 1st of June. After being sent a copy of it to review in the post, I promised myself I'd savour the story and read it over a set amount of days. Unfortunately, when it comes to books, I have absolutely no self control, so I ended up reading it in two sittings (woops). To say the least, it was a strangely addictive read. 


Set in a near-future England, Show Stopper is a dystopian novel where the poorest civilians in society - Dregs - must sell their children to a travelling circus. In the circus, the children must not only appease the tyrannical ringmaster, but also perform acts that are so dangerous, they can result in immediate death.

The elites in society - the Pures - visit the circus to escape from the stress of their high achieving lives. As spectators, they enjoy making a mockery of those inferior to them, and will watch every performance, eagerly, in the hopes of witnessing some form of bloodshed.

Ben, the young son of a high profile government minister, visits the circus for the first time and immediately finds himself drawn to Hoshiko, a beautiful tightrope walker. But her beauty doesn't stop him from noticing how badly the Dregs are treated, or questioning how Pures - how he - can just sit by and watch as humans around him suffer for the sake of entertainment.

Ben and Hoshiko are from two different worlds, but together, they may be able to shut down the circus once and for all. But how much will it cost them?

Favourite quote:

'Saying goodbye, remembering and celebrating a life that's been snuffed out too early, it's a part of what makes us human.'

Favourite character:

My favourite character in the book was Hoshiko, AKA The Cat. She was extremely defiant, and defiance is one of my favourite traits to see in a female protagonist (yay for girl power!). Another reason why she was my favourite character is because she didn't let herself fall apart in the face of oppression; she constantly fought for her survival and the survival of her friends around her.

3 words to describe the book:

Thrilling, gory, addictive.

Rating:

✮✮✮✮/✮✮✮✮✮

Even though Show Stopper was a lot gorier than I anticipated it to be, I really enjoyed the story. The dual narrative between Hoshiko and Ben was something that intrigued me, and I felt like the short chapter lengths set the book up to be a fast-paced read from the beginning.

For a debut, Hayley Barker has excelled herself, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for her!

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