Show Stopper by Hayley Barker


Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land are forced to sell their children to a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

When I first read the description to Show Stopper I knew that I wanted to read it, because it sounded like something I would enjoy reading. Now having read it I have to say that I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend it to others.

Show Stopper is set in a future England where there are two classes of people, the ‘pures’ and the ‘dregs’. The ‘pures’ think of themselves as the very best, and are the ruling class. The ‘dregs’ have not rights and are seen as servants and are treated as such by the ‘pures’. In some cases children are taken from their families and put in a circus where they are to perform for the entertainment of the ‘pures’. However the circus is not just any normal circus, this one is brutal and deadly. Ben is a ‘pure’ and when he visits the circus for the very first time he falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, who is from the ‘dregs’. They must work together to escape.

The story is told from both the perspectives of Ben and Hoshiko. I enjoyed reading from both perspectives, but if I had to chose one, I think I enjoyed reading Hoskiko’s perspective more than Ben’s. Even though I did find it hard sometimes to read about Hoskiko’s life because of what she and other people like her have been through because of the class system.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is the setting. I liked that most of the story was told and set within the circus. I love to read about circus and even though I wouldn’t want to attend a circus like the one in this book, I still enjoyed reading about it as a setting.

The fact that the story is set in a not to distant future England, was also a reason why I liked this book. It is not hard to imagine something like this happening and with the class system you could even see something like this in todays society. It is a little worrying that something so mean and horrific could be waiting for us round the corner, but it also makes this book a very intriguing read.

I really liked the way this book was written, I found it easy to read in most places. Sometimes the gory descriptions did off put me a little,  but I think that was because you don’t have much gory in YA books. Thats not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I just wasn’t expecting it. I managed to read the book in just a couple of sittings. I found it hard to put down when needed because the story was so gripping and intriguing. I did find the switching perspectives a little confusing at the beginning because I was trying to get know the setting and the characters. But after a while I just used to the dual perspectives.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who want something different and unique to read instead of normal YA books. Show Stopper is written wonderfully and will leave you on the edge of your seat throughout.

stars 1stars 1stars 1stars 1

I rate this book 4/5 stars

***I was sent a copy of this book to review. Everything in this review is my own honest opinions.***

1 thought on “Show Stopper by Hayley Barker”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s