Monday, April 12, 2010

Review of Freaksville

Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
Pages: 328
Genre:  Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Pub. Date: January 8, 2010
ARC Received Through Blog It Forward Tours
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Goodreads says, "High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived. Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?"

Kasey Maxwell appears to be a normal high school girl; however, she has a secret gift.....she has visions. The book starts off with Kasey having a vision of the dreamy boy at school, Josh.  Her vision isn't a positive one; she sees Josh suffering in pain.  Kasey ends up stalking Josh, because she is concerning about him, which leads her to the Romeo and Juliet play tryouts.  Kasey, who had no intention of trying out, gets casted and the rest is history.  Insert the usual paranormal drama, fling in some teen-speak and you'll get Kitty Keswick's Freaksville. It was a mindless fun read, but it completely fell short for me.  

I thought the premise of this book sounded compelling.  Visions, paranormal creatures, a hot guy, reliable BFF, ghosts, but I think it was the blog format that threw me off.  This book was written as if it was Kasey's blog. I had a hard time with it and the various illustrations distracted me.  I don't think it was really a blog, because it included dialogue.  I'm not sure it could even be considered a journal, because who writes down dialogue verbatim in their journal?  There were comments at the end of the "blog" entries, but that confused me even more. I thought Kasey wanted her gift to be a secret.....then why is this a public blog?  I think that the "blog" concept for a novel could be very cool in theory, but I'm not sure this worked.  On the other hand, I think some of my younger middle school students would really enjoy this fun format with graphics and illustrations.

I did enjoy the Kasey's best friend, Gillie.  Lately, as you know, I've been reading books where the protagonist's best friend is pretty much the devil.  She's disloyal, jealous and unsupportive.  However, I was glad to see Keswick created a reliable and supportive friend in Gillie.  I really enjoyed their interaction. I thought it was fairly realistic and it was nice to see a friendship between two girls that isn't entirely dysfunctional.  

The bottom line is that Freaksville was a bit disappointing for me.  I felt that there was much potential, but something was missing.  I think it was simply too young for me and since I am obviously not the target audience, I will still be recommending this book to some of my female middle school students as I think it's the perfect book for younger reluctant readers that enjoy the paranormal genre.  Fans of Kasey can continue on her adventure since there will be a sequel aptly named Furry and Freaked, which kind of reminds me of my dog when at the vet.  Sorry, I couldn't resist!  :)

Book Trailer:

Buy The Book Here:


  1. I agree with you that the summary sounds very good, and it's too bad you didn't enjoy it as much as you thought. Thanks for the honest review, and hey-maybe I'll even read it in the future.

  2. Thank you for your honest review, Christina. I think I'll steer clear of this one.

    I hope you're back up and running after the food poisoning =)

  3. The blog format does sound really cool. I LOVE art in novels and the use of Internet-related writing, like emails and texts, have worked well for other YA books in the past. I recently read a book that I didn't particularly love, but that I would still recommend to others, especially teens/tweens. I think it's great to point out in any review not just if we liked it, but who else might enjoy it. And your last :-)

  4. Morgan, Ladybug, and Kris- Thanks for all the comments. :) It was a tough review to write, but I know that some of my younger students will probably like it. It just wasn't for me!

  5. I am about half way through this one and I have to say, I agree with what you've said here. She seems really young, alot younger than 16...and I honestly am not liking the blog thing at all. I just can't buy into the idea of all of this being written on a blog when its suppose to be a huge family secret!

    And I can't get over her name---I know I'm probably not thinking of it correctly, but when I see her full name, Kassidea, my brain won't stop pronouncing it almost like the mexican food "quesadilla". LOL. :)

    But still, like you said, it's kind of a cute story for maybe the 12-14 age group.

    Great review! I know its hard to write an unflattering review, but you've done it very tastefully!

  6. Thanks, Becky! I appreciate your comment. That is too funny about "quesadilla"-- sooo true!


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