In the publishing world, certain books tend to get a lot more buzz than others. But sometimes, all it takes is one person’s suggestion to help you find a true gem. That’s what happened to me with Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught.
I was at BEA earlier this summer, and was chatting with a publicist at the Bloomsbury booth, in search of an ARC for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas — which was getting tons of buzz, and which I certainly wanted to read. (And which I enjoyed immensely, if you read my review). But it was during this conversation that the publicist offered up another book — Freaks Like Us. “This one’s my favorite,” she said, and proceeded to give me the elevator pitch.
I was sold. So much so, that it was the first BEA book I read — devouring the whole thing on my flight home.
Freaks Like Us is a very special book. I understood immediately why the publicist handed it to me — it’s so good. A book that is different and unique and touching in many, many ways. Dark humor, an unreliable narrator, a coming-of-age story. This book nails it.
When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his own impressions. But his deep knowledge that he would never hurt his friend, plus the faith of his parents and a few others in the town bring him to the point of solving the mystery. In the end, it’s Sunshine’s own love for Jason (Freak) that persuades him of his own strength and goodness.
Vaught cleverly combines the mystery-thriller genre with a psychological bender. The narrator’s own schizophrenia makes it impossible to trust him as a narrator — and yet you understand his dilemma, so that you want to believe him. Freaks Like Us is a gripping read — difficult but full of rewards to the reader who can stick with the harrowing narrative. I understand exactly why the publicist adored it so much. This little darling of a book will easily captivate readers.
Freaks Like Us is in stores September 4th.