I did a bad thing. Perhaps not a sin, but definitely a sin in the eyes of an English major. I judged a book by its cover. "The Charlatan's Boy" by Jonathan Rogers has a great circus-inspired cover. It's very reminiscent of the cover of "Water for Elephants."
However, the inside of the book lacks much of what made "Water for Elephants" great. No romance, no real drama, and no face-paced plot. Now, this isn't to say that "The Charlatan's Boy" isn't a good book. It is a pretty good book (3 on a scale of 1-5). It's a slow moving book and took me quite a bit of time to read, just for lack of motivation!
Let me share a synopsis. Grady is a side kick to Floyd. Grady is an orphan (at least he's never met his folks) and Floyd never seems to give him a straight answer about where he came from. They are hucksters, fooling people with their "Wild Man of Feechiefen Swamp" routine (Grady plays the role of the Feechie). People pay money to see this show, kind of like side shows in a circus. The bad part is that not a lot of people believe in Feechies anymore. There haven't been any sightings or scarings lately.
What's a huckster and his boy to do? Stir up a new Feechie Scare. So really this is a tale about a man and a boy trying to make it in a world without doing an honest day's work. You do come to sympathize with the orphan Grady. He's a good kid, just has grown up in a dishonest trade. The ending really is a good one; I won't spoil it though. It's definitely not one that you expect!
I have learned a valuable lesson. Don't judge a book by its cover, but do judge it by its ending (because it may just surprise you).
Disclaimer: I received "The Charlatan's Boy" in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not like the book or have the same experience(s) I've had with the book and/or its publisher.