Win an ARC of Wonder Show! Details at the end of this post.

Wayward can mean a lot of things. It can mean lost, misled, unfortunate, left behind. That is how the girls at The Home thought of themselves, despite their best efforts to live some other way.

For the inhabitants of Brewster Falls, wayward meant wicked. Dangerous. Trash. And that is how they treated the girls on the rare occasions they showed their faces in town.

Portia was the only one who went on a regular basis — she did the shopping and stopped at the post office for letters and telegrams. She rode the red bicycle and did not cover her long dark hair, and sang old gypsy songs at the top of her lungs, and she seemed (to the residents of Brewster Falls) like a banshee coming to steal their souls. Mothers would hide their children indoors when Portia came whipping down the road.

They were a fearful group of folks.

Portia loved to torment them. And she loved the red bicycle.

Riding a bicycle was the only kind of freedom for Portia. It was something she thought she’d always known how to do, simply because she couldn’t remember learning, couldn’t place the first time she’d done it. Like laughing. Or eating an apple. It was so utterly normal that it didn’t even require thought.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Hannah Barnaby

About the book:

Wonder Show is the adventure of a young girl named Portia, desperate to escape a home for wayward girls — so desperate that she flees by bicycle to join up with a traveling carnival sideshow. But Portia soon finds that a freak show isn’t an easy place to hide, especially not for a “normal.”

What people are saying:

“I felt a cautious thrill after reading the opening of Wonder Show, that it might be what it hinted at: a discovery, a rare bird: a Book You Want To Tell Everyone About. And glory: IT IS. So, Hello Everyone. Read Wonder Show. Pass it on.”–Laini Taylor, National Book Award Finalist for Lips Touch Three Times

“Portia, the young heroine of this lovely novel, is described by her aunt as having a ‘generous heart and a wild imagination.’ The same could be said of the author, and the entire book. I loved it.”–Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

“I love this book! Wonder Show is just that — a shadowy world of wonders and marvels, galore. In the flickering fairground light one senses the shades of Edward Gorey and Chas Addams, standing amidst the rubes, listening to the ballyhoo with quarters in hand! Oh, it is all as darkly delicious as Devil’s food cake.”–Tim Wynne-Jones, winner of the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Blink & Caution

Released: March 20, 2012

About the author:

Hannah Barnaby has worked as a children’s book editor, a bookseller at independent children’s bookstores, and a teacher of writing for children and young adults. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She began writing Wonder Show, her first novel, during her time as the first Children’s Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. Ms. Barnaby lives in Connecticut with her family. You can visit her at


Hannah has been kind enough to contribute an ARC of Wonder Show for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

-Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].

Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on April 4th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!