‘Showstopper’ spoiler-free review!

This is one of the most fast-paced books I’ve ever read! Hayley Barker’s debut started at an absolute break-neck pace and never once slowed down. This, combined with the short chapters, made for an incredibly fast read. There were even moments where I was so caught up in the action that I found myself holding my breath!

Showstopper follows Ben, the son of a government minister intent on ridding society of ‘Dregs’. When the circus comes to town, Ben begins to suspect that the view held by his mother might be a bit narrow, and there may be more to these ‘Dregs’ than he first thought. Barker raised some very pertinent issues with this topic and there were definitely dark undertones to her thematic choices.

The novel alternates between the viewpoints of Ben and circus star Hoshiko. Barker writes very well from two different perspectives and I never once got confused about who was speaking, even with the story moving so rapidly. I was worried that, at such high speeds, it would become difficult to distinguish between the two narrative voices but I had no trouble whatsoever and found Ben and Hoshiko to both be very distinctive.

Barker writes action very well whilst still competently creating a range of characters, some of whom are endearing and relatable and others who are completely despicable. It’s definitely a sign of talent when a writer can make their readers feel such a wide range of emotions as I did when reading this book!


Showstopper is a refreshing and original addition to the dystopian genre. I love books set in the circus and this was no exception. It was super dark for a YA book and I really loved the themes that Barker chose to explore. I can’t wait for the sequel!

Has anyone else read this? Anyone want to fangirl with me?!

One thought on “‘Showstopper’ spoiler-free review!

  1. Pingback: July Wrap-Up! | the paperback piano

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