Review: Show Stopper by Hayley Barker

44606CB3-F309-4BD4-93D3-0C1F3FF0A88ASynopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My rating:


I LOVED Show Stopper! I was hooked from the first page. It’s gripping, brutal and thought provoking. Set in a futuristic dystopian Britain where white people are known as ‘pure’ and people of colour are called ‘dregs’ and are banished to slums and forced to perform in the Cirque. The story is told through dual narrative and follows Hoshiko and Ben. Ben not only is a pure, he’s as pure as you can be being the son of the cruel Vivian Bains. After attending the Cirque, Ben becomes fascinated by tightrope walker Hoshiko. Unable to resist the lure of the Cirque Ben returns and begins to understand the cruel and brutal reality of the world he lives in, setting off a chain of events that could change world for the better.

Firstly, I really liked how relevant the story is to the society we live in, its corrupt side and how it highlights racism and the poor treatment of ethnic minorities. One things that makes it so scarey Just how similar it is to our world. The storytelling is brutal, a much needed slap round the face and shows that is a fine example that “ignorance is bliss” is definitely not true.

The plot and character development is brilliantly written. I found watching Ben grow as a person fascinating, how he thought for himself and stood up to the people filling his head with lies. I particularly loved Hoshiko’s development, she’s strong, resilient and witty.  Anyone who knows me will know I love a villain and Silvio is just brilliant, he makes your skin crawl. He’s no black and white villain I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Honestly, just read it. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

published by: Scholastic

published: 10/07/17

Pages: 400

Buy from: Waterstones Book Depository

Have you read Show Stopper? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

15 thoughts on “Review: Show Stopper by Hayley Barker”

  1. This book sounds so good! I’ve gotten a little bit sick of dystopian fiction and the rigid structure and plot it follows but this one sounds a little more imaginative! Great review too 😘😘


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