Freaks

Narrated by P.J. Morgan
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Pub Date 01 Mar 2022 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

Hunted by monsters. Wanted for questioning. Late for class.

Four high-school friends suffer daily humiliation at the hands of three bullies. When the friends accidentally open a portal to another dimension, they unintentionally allow terrifying, other-worldly creatures to invade their small Arkansas town. Discovering that they are now endowed with strange superpowers, the four teens dub themselves “Freaks,” the very name their tormentors used to ridicule them. The Freaks must fight to save the lives of family and friends now in mortal peril and thwart a secret government task force that appears to be hunting them.

Hunted by monsters. Wanted for questioning. Late for class.

Four high-school friends suffer daily humiliation at the hands of three bullies. When the friends accidentally open a portal to another...


Advance Praise

“A great spin on the superhero story, told with genuine depth.”—Mark Waid, best-selling author of History of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange, and Superman Birthright.

  “A fun and fresh twist on the superhero story! Fast-paced, strong characters, and twists and turns make this a must read!”—Jennifer Brody/Vera Strange, author of The 13th Continuum Trilogy, Spectre Deep 6, and the Disney Chills series.

 “Adult fans of superheroes and fantasy books don’t miss out, you are going to enjoy this book as well. I couldn’t put the book down and can’t wait for the next in the series.”—Peter Thornburn, UK educator,

“With Freaks, Brett Riley has accomplished something very few YA authors have: freakishly good writing, freakishly relatable characters, freakishly awesome premise — all making for a freakishly great read.”—M. P. Kozlowsky, author of Frost and Rose Coffin

    “Freaks is propulsive and brilliantly written, with compelling characters and plenty of action. Brett Riley knows how to keep the reader’s attention.”—Scott Bergstrom, author of The Cruelty and The Greed.

“A great spin on the superhero story, told with genuine depth.”—Mark Waid, best-selling author of History of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange, and Superman Birthright.

“A fun and fresh twist on...


Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9781945501555
PRICE $28.00 (USD)
DURATION 7 Hours, 57 Minutes, 50 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 104 members


Featured Reviews

Not gonna lie, was very apprehensive when I first looked at this book. I thought it was gonna have a lot of plot holes and just kind of jump from place to place, but boy was I wrong! The different perspectives given in this book really helped me understand the plot and I think it overall enhanced the story so much more. I thought the end was a bit drawn out, but regardless I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation until the last minute. I also loved the complexity of the characters. At first I had some pretty stubborn views on each of the characters, but throughout the story those views developed and it was a lovely example of how people, much like most things in life, are never black and white, but there's a lot of grey that we have yet to be exposed to!

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Freaks is a book that portrays a group of "nerdy" kids that open a portal that allows otherworldly creatures into their community. It has all the elements of a real page-turner, but somehow misses the mark in a few places.

I agree with some other reviewers that the bullying is both graphically portrayed and a little dated. I can't imagine schools tolerating this type of bullying in the 2020s, but there definitely have been times when it would have. Setting the story in one of those times would have had a greater effect, I think, even in other aspects of the book: Videos are being uploaded from school to the Internet to shame these kids, but literally none of the adults whipped out a cell phone and started recording when things got weird? No home security footage to review? Okay... I guess?

There's a whole government agency (or at least sub department) dedicated to the supernatural in this book, but the agents are wildly incompetent and unprepared, too. I'll probably listen to the second book, the story was entertaining, and the reader was pretty excellent. However, I'm hoping that there is some shift that's made here - all of the grownups are awful. I understand that, at the end of the day, the "superheroes" will be the ones to fight the creatures and save the day, but the current trajectory is doomed.

Thank you to NetGalley and Imbrifex Audio for the audiobook ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Freaks introduces you to four high-school friends who are bullied on a daily basis. Some of which I can only assume weren't pleasant but then again - is being bullied ever pleasant? I think not. Then one day they accidentally open up a portal to a whole new world and they go on an adventure.

I'll admit that I got those Ready Player One vibes while reading this one. It definitely made this book a bit more interesting to me but that's basically it. The superpowers and the characters themselves could be interesting at times. It just felt like I either got too much information or not enough when it came to certain things.

Other than that, things did tend to end up being a smidge predictable here and there. I also liked how realistic the bullying was throughout this, but I do wonder why cyber was left out? Maybe Brett had a reason to do so? Maybe we will get another book? Who knows?

In the end, I'm happy that I got the chance to dive into this world and look forward to whatever Brett creates next!

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So, I thought the premise of how these 4 kids unleash something horrible on the world was pretty interesting. The lead up and way it happens felt right for the story. I really struggled with these bullies. In today's world what school is allowing this to happen? Do they really get their face smashed into the toilet bowl? Maybe it does happen, it just felt like the 1980's version of a bully, and it didn't sit well with me.

The story was fast-paced and exciting though, and I think it was fun to read.

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This one had so much potential and I honestly wanted to love it so much more than I ended up liking it. At the beginning, I thought I would love this one but it kinda lost me and seemed to drag a little. I wish the characters had a bit more growth or more to offer but overall I would like to read something by Riley again to get more of a feel for their style.

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I'll preface this by saying that the book kept stopping for no reason so I had to keep going back to my phone and the app and rewinding 30 seconds so it could play another minute or two and then cut off again which was really frustrating and made it difficult to stay in the story.

That said, I didn't really find myself wanting to stay in the story. Initially it was intriguing - these kids. being bullied and then gaining powers unleashing some monster on the world but I didn't like them. I found them kind of annoying and I struggled to believe they were actually willing to go and try to hurt the bullies etc. If I hadn't been constantly jolted by the audio cutting off, I would have zoned out. Honestly, i think I still did because I really don't remember all of what happened

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I received this an ARC through Netgalley. Four friends that are have been constantly bullied in school, end up accidently opening a portal to another dimension. They release a monster into our world and end up getting powers as a side affect. I agree with the other reviews that the type of bullying that is described in this book, I really do not think continues in this day and age, I also work in a high school. I could get past that as maybe that was the authors own experience. However, once Micah, Gabby, Christian, and Jamie get their powers it seemed they were more interested in using them to get revenge on the bullies or so scared of them that, they tried to keep everything hidden. Not until people start dying do they even think to go look for the monster they also let out. While this was labeled YA I felt it read more like a middle school book. I really could not connect with any of the characters and was really hoping for more. PJ Morgan did do a wonderful job of narrating the story though.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this audio ARC. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

A group of friends get bullied daily. One day they accidentally open a portal that allows other worldly creatures to come through. They have also discovered that they now have superpowers. Together they fight against the creatures to protect their friends and family as well as trying to thwart the secret government task force that has popped up in town.

I was very intrigued by the concept of this and it definitely kept my attention! This was a fresh take on a coming of age story, especially with the fantasy elements. There was a lot of representation in this book, which I definitely appreciated! I liked that along the characters were so different.

The only thing I did not like was the characters. I just didn't find them likeable in the slightest. I felt that the characters weren't fully fleshed out yet so they came across very one dimensional.

I enjoyed the narrator of the story. They did a great job of being this book to life!

If you enjoy a little fantasy and coming of age stories then definitely give this a go!

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ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed how this book was written and all the characters and groups of friends were well developed. It wasn’t my personal favorite type of storyline as it’s been done a lot recently and I just didn’t find anything extraordinary about the plot. I found it predictable but the writing sucked me in and I had no problem finishing the book as an entertaining read. If the author ever released a sequel I would probably pick it up since I enjoyed his writing style and it was a fast read for me.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ALC in exchange for an honest review.

Freaks by Brett Riley is very interesting YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy with underdog characters, atmospheric prose, and fantastic narration. I loved listening to this book and am so glad that I gave it a try. This one is outside of my normal genre, but the way that the story is written by the author, told by the narrator, and comes to life through the characters that just jump off the page, I can't help but love this audio book! 5/5 stars

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Thank you Netgalley and Imbrifex Audio for the free audiobook in exchange for my honest review!

This book almost gives me the vibes of the show Stranger Things. Very spooky and mysterious, something I would see in a Dungeons and Dragons session with all the otherworldly monsters destroying the human race.

With the help of a group of of geeks who have been bullied since they were very young. Not only do they kind of get in a little trouble but, they become the heroes that you always wanted to see out of them.

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I usually don't go for books with similar plots, but I thought I'd give it a try since it was an audiobook, and I'm so glad I did. I freaking loved it !! This certainly won't be the last work I'll be reading from the author, rest assured of that.

The plot was great and nicely detailed, which made it quite easy to imagine the situation Mika and his friends were dealing with. I could keep on rambling on and on about how much I enjoyed this book; but first, let's introduce the characters :

★ Christian :
She's the toughest. The one who'd never let a single soul put her down, and would face her enemies with a smirk on her face, even if that enemy's a monster from other worldly origins. Even as the B3 humiliated her publicly at school, she refused to give them the pleasure of seeing her cry or feel uncomfortable. I really liked her character.

★ Jamie :
He's the brains and leader of the group. Smart and realist. He always tries to find a solution for every problem they would have to face. He tried his best to stay calm and be rational in tough situations. He was a great leader, but seemed a bit clueless when it came to dating a girl for a boy his age - but I guess that was intentional -.

★ Gabby :
She seems weak and fragile on the outside, but she'd give up her life in order to save her loved ones. She would fight with fear eating her insides, and wouldn't give up trying. She kept on putting herself down, and thinking she was not worthy love, friendship and so on. Even though she could kick some a**es if she really put her mind to it.

★ Mika :
I low-key HATED his character. All he cared about was getting even with the B3 ! I get they made him go through hell, but he was OBSESSED with having his revenge. He made his friends go through a hell lot of trouble, and he wouldn't even admit he was wrong or try to understand his friends' points of vue. I despised his character even more than the B3 all combined.

★ Kenneth :
It was nice watching his character slightly improve, though he and Mika still couldn't stand the sight of one another. He really got on my nerves when he kept on blaming the others for everything as him, and his friends were to blame as well. But, at the end he agreed to open up a bit more to the idea of interacting with the group, and the change in his personality was discernible.

★ Braden :
In my opinion, his character could've been improved a bit more. He didn't seem as cruel and malicious as Gavin and Kenneth were. And at the end, he really cared about his friends and hated to seem them part ways.

I'd say all of the grown ups' characters were unlikable, except for the parents who cared about the safety of their kids. Mika's mom and Gavin had quite the cruel ending, but life is never fair is it? Over all, I loved the book, and If you guys are fans of Stranger Things and the Marvel universe, then this book is for you.

I truly hope it'll be the first in a series, and that it'll be turned into a tv show ❤

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I did not love this the way I wanted to. The story fell a little flat and I found myself kind of bored along the way. I could sympathize with the main 4 characters as I was bullied myself. The plot didn't feel like it was done to its full potential, and I didn't connect enough with the characters to really care about what was happening.

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Book Review: Freaks – Brett Riley

Freaks follows four high school friends that have been bullied all their lives. One day they are messing around and accidently open a portal to another dimension. In the process, they develop superpowers, but this portal also leaves an opening for a dark entity to creep through. Now they must decide whether to use their new found powers to get revenge on their school bullies that have tormented them for so many years or if they will use their powers for good to help defeat the monster that has crept through the portal and been wreaking havoc on their town.

The premise of this book is what drew me in. It’s reminded me of the TV series Stranger Things, and I am a huge fan of that show so naturally I was so excited for this book.

The writing is easy to follow, and the story progresses at a great pace. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. They felt very 2D and didn’t feel relatable. Its very plot driven and there is not much character development. Gabby and Jamie were the only two characters that I actually cared about but not enough that I would remember their story after I had closed the book.

The time period of the book was also very confusing for me. This story was supposed to be set in the modern day, but it felt very outdated and unrealistic. The friends are bullied for being ‘superhero’s’ and called ‘geeks’. There is also not much mention of social media at all. This made me feel like the story was taking place in the past and not the present time.

The main element that captured my attention was the monster and its origin. Sadly, we didn’t get to learn much about the monster or its origin, however, this is said to be a series so maybe we will learn more about the monster in the next installments.

This book is for you if you like:
• Coming of age stories
• Superhero’s
• Found family trope

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I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. What drew my eye to this book was the amazing cover and the description! I was so thrilled to read this book, but I will admit that some of the languages were outdated and the bullies bland. I could see that the author was open with a lesbian character, but I grow tired of the lesbian stereotypes by not being like other girls and that she is so different. What's the point of that? Like okay, we get it. But besides that, I think that this was a solid plot and the action was good. I enjoyed this book a lot once I got past the annoying Cliches. I would recommend this to readers.

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Freaks by Brett Riley is a story about a group of friends who are the outcasts of their school who rip a hole into another dimension giving themselves superhero abilities as well as inviting a very bloodthirsty creature who won’t stop until they all are dead. I was given access to the audiobook via NetGalley, and I think I would have enjoyed the book more had I read it as opposed to listened to the audiobook. The person reading the story was portraying Arkansas accents, but it was very distracting from the story.

The story itself was entertaining. The kids were terribly bullied and because of this you really rooted for them when they got their superhuman capabilities. They were very bonded due to the hardships they faced within their school, and I could really see it speaking to anyone who sees themselves as an outsider. When they feel out their superpowers it is exciting and the final culmination when they beat down the creature who has been killing people in their town, you are cheering for their win.

I think overall it will be great for young adults which is the age it is marketed towards.

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Let me start off by saying the side references in this were great! I love when books mention my favorite sci-fy movies or books. I didn't really like the way that when I tried to speed up the pace of the book it sounded funny. I do like to listen at a little bit faster of a pace so it would have been nice have the fluency match the voice. I liked the book overall and think that a more mature audience would appreciate it. I do not think I will recommend it to the fifth graders that I work with however.

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Freaks is an interesting new novel revolving around friendship, power dynamics, and social standing. I really enjoyed the relationship between The Freaks, and the different ways in which they dealt with their individual struggles.
There was enough blood and suspense to keep my interest. The occult spin was a nice addition to the typical high school story.
P.J. Morgan’s narration style was pleasant. The voices for each character were different enough to bring each character to life.
I would definitely read more from Brett Riley.

I received a copy of this audiobook for free via NetGalley and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Relatable, fantastical, gruesome and emotional. Really great story line has everything you would want in a dark YA fantasy. Narration was perfect. Already looking forward to the sequel!

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(I listened to the audiobook version)
I was invested at first, a group of teens that are bullied for liking anime and roleplay, sure why not?
But then superpowers and monsters show up? . . . ok, its fantasy, nothing wrong with that I guess, I like fantasy.
Look I'm sure the author had a good idea here but the writing its just not that good.
Also the narrators accent distracted me and pulled me away from the story instead of making me part of it.
So I think its an ok story that definitely had potential at some point, but it just didn't work in combination with that narrator.
Ive seen other reviews that are not that bad, perhaps the written book is better.

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3.7/5

🌱THE EXCELLENT
~ Excellent set up of the underdogs
~ A full mystery in a VERY small town in the US
~ Weird giant vampire monsters

When reading a randomly found grimoire, four young teens (geeks/nerds 🙄) summon aliens instead of demons 🤦. (The kids are HIGHLY questionable - one on the verge of being a murder3r, one female ALWAYS questioning every breath she makes, the others somewhat enablers of bad behaviour and bullies you seriously want to send to the desert). Not only do they summon a giant vampire freak monster, but they also develop superpowers reminiscent of MHA (My Hero Academia). Things start going to hell as the monster starts eating people, as the bullied ‘geeks’ get powers they want to use against their tormentors, as inept officers pop up to find out what is happening and as teenage hormones roar and rage.

✨Give it a read.

🌱THE MEH
~ I despise the irresponsible parents of these bullies in this book 😒
~ VERY unlikeable characters - the narrator did a good job though
~ 😬 VERY stupid detectives, because wtf were those conclusions?!

♡🌱 But that’s just me ;)

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Actual rating 3.5

This was definitely a fun book that I think my students would love! It has superhero vibes with a dash of creepiness, so it is appealing to teenagers. I enjoyed the premise of the book, a group of outsiders. all friends, who stick together. They are bullied a lot so they need to take solace in one another.

I always love when the underdogs get the superpowers...but also accidently let something loose out into the world. Now the bullies are the least of their problems as they try to track down a monster, hellbent on killing people.

There were a few scenes that I thought were dated or made me uncomfortable. However, I do think if we had a better understanding of the time period of the setting, it would have helped the situation.

Definitely a fun read!

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I recieved an ARC (Audiobook) of this in exchange for an honest review, thank you to the publisher and Netgalley.

This is an extremely fun superhero origin story!
A group of 4 friends who are the outcasts in this small town school where football players rule the school, want to get away from it all one afternoon and decide to begin a L.A.R.P. using an old book from one of the families freaky uncles.
The L.A.R.P. goes south when a portal to another place opens. Letting all hell loose in this small town.
Amidst bullies, police and federal agents investigating can our 'Freaks' keep their identities a secret?

This book was adorable however, it was kinda hard to place what time period this takes place in. The bullying was something like out of a 80s movie, but I don't think that it detracts much from the story, I still think it was very cute.

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Book Review:

FREAKS by Brett Riley

This was a fast, fun read. Bullied teens, small town Arkansas high school drama (been there) & multidimensional magic. What could go wrong?

This is one of those “the cover made me do it” Netgalley requests. Once I started listening, I didn’t wanna stop. At first, with the bullying & helplessness of the characters, it seemed to be leading up to a school $h00ter kinda situation. It was so sad, the way everyone overlooked everything.’ The adults were oblivious & so checked out. I could see so much of this happening, except the actual way the kids were bullied. That was more like my childhood. No one does toilet dunk swirlees anymore. Pantsing someone for being a lesbian? Not likely. That’s a bit dated. I thought the book was meant to be an 80s setting until they had cell phones & were LARPing.

These kids decide to LARP some kinda wizard scenario. They read aloud from a crazy latin magic book & suddenly there's superpowers & giant multi limbed monsters from other dimensions. Here’s some words of wisdom from you to me: never read aloud from any creepy looking book written in Latin. Have these kids never watched Charmed? Buffy? Anything with magic???

I think more time should have been spent giving these kids depth & updating them to today’s times. No one cares when a kid is Jewish. No one cares who’s gay. Football players read books just like “geeks”. For that matter, no one says geek anymore; at least not as an insult.

All in all I enjoyed the story & will read the next one. I see definite potential. I also taught in Waldron, Arkansas which is about as small town as you can get so I could REALLY picture this. I wanted more. I expected one of the freaks to go big bad & the way it’s looking, I'll probably be correct when the next book comes out.

ookreview #reviewtime #teenbooks #horror #multiverse #readersofinstagram #freaks #brettriley

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Thanks to NetGalley and the editors at Imbrifex books for providing this copy of Freaks in exchange for an honest review.

This book, written by Brett Riley is about four friends who are all harassed regularly by three high school bullies. After a difficult week for the group of friends they disagree on how to handle their bullies. Eventually, they agree that it would be nice to have some more fun role playing as a group to keep their minds off their bullies. While role playing they dress in robes and chant an ancient Latin text. Shortly after they discover that they have super powers. Unfortunately they are not the only ones who have developed superpowers. They also opened a portal allowing a monster into the world.

Some chapters were told from the monster's perspective which I found very interesting.

I enjoyed this book and finished it in one day.

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I was given an advance audiobook by #NetGalley, publisher and #author #Brett Riley. To be fare this isn’t on my radar as a must read for me. or my friends; However, if I was a tween or middle school kid teenager.this fits a niche to be a very popular gotta have book. I think it would be a perfect fit.. In this book individual students perceived to be“misfits. Kids that don’t conform to the “cool kid” status and are therefore ostracized individually they eventually form a group call themselves freaks that plays a game, that one night comes to life it was a terrible monster unleashed to do terrible things now even the parents seem to try to distance themselves from their children (reprehensible behavior) police and other officials get involved. You have to listen to it or read it for yourself when it is published March 1.

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For lovers of Chronicle and Stranger Things, this young adult fantasy novel will keep you riveted and listening to chapter after chapter well into the night. A supernatural threat is released when a group of misfit tees read from an arcane tome. Trigger warnings: themes of violence and gore as well as bullying and foul language

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Thank you NetGalley and Imbrifex books for providing this copy of Freaks in exchange for an honest review.

Freaks follows four friends through a harrowing tale of highschool drama, with a supernatural twist. Jamie, Micah, Gabby, and Christian are all considered freaks by their classmates and especially by a trio of jocks known as B3. When Micah finds a spooky trunk in his parents shed he gets his friends to join him in larping with the robes and books inside. They begin a chant from one of the books and unleash an explosion of monsters and power that will change their lives forever.

I enjoyed the pop culture references in this story and the Stranger Things feel of the storyline. It felt very small-town and retro when describing the town, school, sheriff, and even the bullying. Definitely a good 90's nostalgia vibe. The tropes of jocks versus geeks are cliched but there were a few twists that shook that up towards the middle. I liked the representation of Black, Jewish, Wiccan, and LGBTQ characters in the book but none of the characters were flushed out as much as I would have liked. I connected the most with Jamie and I feel like he is going to be the hero of the series. Micah and Kenneth left a bad taste in my mouth for different reasons and I thought their character arcs were the main focus of the book. I'd like to read the second book in the series to see if it brings forth more information and interest for the other Freaks.

Overall this was an interesting YA Supernatural Horror/Thriller. The storyline was unique enough to look over some of the lackluster writing. The narration was great and added to the small town flavor.

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I really enjoyed the idea of this story more than the story itself. I enjoyed the multiple viewpoints, but I just couldn’t get behind all of the characters I felt like I should be rooting for, and that made parts of the story feel a bit slow.

I may have enjoyed the book a bit more had I reviewed a text version rather than audio. The narrator had distinct characters and good accents, but the voice didn’t transfer well at a faster speed. I checked, more than once, to make sure this was a casted recorded audiobook and not a synthetic recording for review purposes because the faster speed sounded computerized at times. I listen to audiobooks, almost daily, and I’ve never had this problem when I increase the listening speed before.

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This was a good YA read, I liked the superhero element and the coming of age of the characters. It dealt with some dark subject matters like bullying and was fast paced. Narration was great

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I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.

While I could appreciate the premise of the book and liked the overall story arc, I couldn’t connect with the characters. The writing was a bit simplistic and predictable. Overall, this was a fun, easy read that I could recommend to my students, but personally wanted more depth to the story and characters.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of Freaks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Freaks, to me, ticked off a lot of the things I enjoy; sci-fi, horror, a dash of romance and a good underdog story. It was fast paced, easy to follow, and it was nice to get a glimpse into the lives of each of the main characters during the first part of the book. I loved the fact that there were no punches pulled when it came to villain, and that everyone was fair game.

That being said there was a disconnect between myself and the characters after the first part of the book. I really couldn't find myself rooting for any single one of them, or caring enough if they got themselves killed until it was close to the end of the book. Their personalities fell flat for me, and it felt as if only two of the main characters had much character development.

There were things I loved about Freaks, and there were things that I didn't love about it. Overall though, the book is solid and a good read for its intended audience I believe. I'm interested in seeing what happens in the next installment with these kids and if they'll continue to use their powers for good.

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First of all, huge thanks to Imbrifex Audio and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook in exchange of a honest review.

I think this book could've been better but I still like it.

Freaks is about a group of friends that are bullied, and one day after summoning a demon, they got superpowers and are wondering what will they do with them, take revenge? Hide them? This is what we follow along.

The story itself was good, but I didn't connect with all of the characters, and that's sad since I was a victim of bullying, so I kinda assumed I would felt identified but no, that didn't happen.

Still, I'm so excited to read the next book in the series!

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A nerdy group of gamers have been friends forever. They are teased and tormented by some bullies at school. What should they do? Well, open a portal to another world and bring a monster through, of course! And, along the way, they gain superhuman abilities that they can use to kick a little butt.

This book is a bit of a teen anthem for anyone who was bullied and wanted some payback, but in Freaks, things get out of hand so very quickly. There is a bit of gore in this one, and there are times when it feels a little cliche. But with any sort of power comes drama and problems, and when there are teens involved it's much worse.

I think this book would appeal to teen readers. It has an interesting power dynamic and a bit of violence but nothing too over the top. It was nice to read a superhero book that isn't quite a superhero book, and I think there is a niche for that.

I didn't care for the narration, and it was a struggle to listen to. It seemed that no matter what was happening in the story, it was told with the same inflection. Each sense had the same tone in the beginning, and then same ending dip in tone. I would have enjoyed a bit more excitement or some casting to make it a more interesting listen.

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This book was like reading an episode of Freaks and Geeks with a touch of X-Men. I liked the togetherness of the group for sure. The 4 friends definitely have a bond like no other.

There were a couple of things I was really happy about! Although these kids go thru so much, they definitely ended up in a found family trope. I think it helps understand the anger spurts. Lets be honest, high school isnt easy. Another detail I loved was the inclusion! We have Jewish, Latina, Black, and LGBTQ inclusion in this book. It's so important to have representation now a days.

This book is perfect for readers that love supernatural setting, super powers, and fight for justice. I was a little bit taken by surprised at the constant need for payback. The bullying was at times a bit uncomfortable, but overall the story flows pretty steady. I wonder if the constant bullying also had to do with their religion, color, and sexual preference, sex... but then again, that may just be me trying to over analyze. It felt a bit stereotypical when it comes to the scenarios that the characters were set in.

I am curious to see how this story evolves!

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I received an ARC of the audiobook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book overall, and since it set up for a sequel I will probably read that as well. It was an interesting story, and it kept me listening and curious for how things would play out. I liked how the powers the kids got reflected their strengths and personalities, and the relationships between them were interesting. And the audiobook narrator was amazing, they really gave each narrator a unique voice. I thought the plot felt unique and interesting. I liked most of the characters too. The bad guy was interesting, even if I kept imagining him as a giant blue bug for some reason. I thought his motivations were interesting, and driven by his culture and how he got his food. The plot with the federal agents also has the potential to be interesting in future books.

There are some negatives (spoilers, maybe?). There are 6 pov characters. And sometimes you hear the story three times through three different pov's. Eventually I got very frustrated with it and just wished the book would get on with it. The book could have been shorter and just as impactful without all the repeats of pov. A couple would have been fine (and probably necessary) but it happened quite a lot. Its particularly frustrating with an audiobook because I can't just skip sections.

Also... The bullying and deaths in the book were very graphic. It may not be suitable for a younger YA audience especially for sensitive readers. The bullying also feels extreme and outdated. These kids have social media and smart phones - some of the bullying they are filming and posting online would be assault. Bullying is still happening in schools, but not like this - or at least not a frequently. I also thought it was weird that every kid had a bike and used it to ride all around town fairly unsupervised. It gave me 80's vibes - I've lived all over the south and never in a town where so many students had a bike they rode everywhere. If this had been set in the 80's it would have made more sense.

I also have to again mention the graphic descriptions of deaths. I kind of felt like I was reading Game of Thrones. Additionally, some of the insults hurled at the "freaks" could be upsetting to some sensitive readers. I also have to mention that one of the characters, when he received powers, became almost sinister - just as bad of a bully as the originals were. I feel like the author may be setting up an eventual fall and redemption arc for him? Or villain arc? Some of his scenes were hard to get though.

Overall I would read a sequel and recommend end this book for older YA readers or adults who like a fun read.

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This book sound really good but didn't leave much of a impression on me so i fall in the meh zone i didn't like it didn't love it I will say if you like kids gaining powers and trying to figure them out give this book a try

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I received the audio book for Freaks and it was a nice listen. The casting of PJ Morgan to read this book was a phenomenal decision. I highly recommend that if you're a audiobook fan that you give this a listen. Thank you NetGalley and Imbrifex Audio for this copy.

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The narration is fine.
The story is fine.
The characters are fine.
It's an entertaining read.
No more.

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A group of friends gets bullied daily, but one day they accidentally open a portal that allows otherworldly creatures to get through, and they discover they have developed superpowers. Together, they fight against these creatures to protect their families and friends, whilst trying to stop the secret government that has appeared in town.

I have been intrigued by the concept of this novel for a while, so when I had the chance to review the audio arc and the arc of the sequel, I took it. This is a unique take on a coming-of-age story and definitely held my attention. It also has great representation!

But, I didn't like the characters at all, and perhaps this is down to the fact that I absolutely hated the narrator's voice and accents! But they just didn't feel fully fleshed out at all.

I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had actually read it and not listened to it, so I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

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3.5
This story is okay. It starts our strong but I think it just falters some by the end. It’s a great idea and a great story, it just needed something a little more.
When four high school friends, all of which are tormented by three bullies, accidentally open a portal to another dimension, they accidentally allow other worldly creatures to invade their little town in Arkansas. They also learn that somehow while chanting the words that opened the portal they themselves have some new superhuman powers.
Now, they are calling themselves “Freaks” using the name their tormentors gave them. They must now fight to save the lives of all those they love, and even those they don’t, from mortal danger and they also have to stop the government task force that seems to be hunting them.
This book had so much promise and it delivered a little over half the time. It’s well written and the characters are memorable so I would say if you have the time go ahead and check it out. If you like audio books, the narrator is excellent and does add a little something to the story.

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This book reminded me of freaks and geeks ironically, only they became tragic and psychotic heroes. Check it out!

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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for providing me with an ALC in exchange for my honest review.

This book was exactly what I wanted it to be! I loved it. I will make sure to check out other books by this author. When I requested this I was just intrigued by the concept of it and I loved how it turned out. This story had a great plot and if you have read this and enjoyed it, This was so much. It was such a great story. I would say give this one a try. I will continue to follow this author. Way to go to this author for not letting me down.

I highly enjoyed the narrator of the audiobook. Kept me listening.

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There were several comments in this book that were sexist, which I didn't think I would find in a book written in 2021, considering that this is also targeted towards younger audiences. The way that the characters refer to other boys as a 'pussy' (,etc.) and girls as 'such a girl' are both outdated and wrong to include in a book where these phrases aren't challenged, and where the characters don't learn from their mistakes

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I agree it would be much better if it was set in the 80’s or something, the style was old fashioned with regards to how kids act and their attitudes etc. If it was immersive in a time period, this could really have elevated it and made it way more believable.


Once you move past that it is a great story - Super powers, mysticism, interdimentional holes and monsters, I’m sure Young Adults will enjoy it (it is pretty violent though so I wouldn’t recommend for too young) However I did find the characters to be underdeveloped.

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This book was like reading an episode of Freaks and Geeks with a touch of X-Men. I liked the togetherness of the group for sure. The 4 friends definitely have a bond like no other.

There were a couple of things I was really happy about! Although these kids go thru so much, they definitely ended up in a found family trope. I think it helps understand the anger spurts. Lets be honest, high school isnt easy. Another detail I loved was the inclusion! We have Jewish, Latina, Black, and LGBTQ inclusion in this book. It's so important to have representation now a days.

This book is perfect for readers that love supernatural setting, super powers, and fight for justice. I was a little bit taken by surprised at the constant need for payback. The bullying was at times a bit uncomfortable, but overall the story flows pretty steady. I wonder if the constant bullying also had to do with their religion, color, and sexual preference, sex... but then again, that may just be me trying to over analyze. It felt a bit stereotypical when it comes to the scenarios that the characters were set in.

I am curious to see how this story evolves! Huge thanks to the author for gifting me a copy. All opinions are my own

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing an audio copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

The story had potential and started off good but I was disappointed in the book as a whole. THe book focused way too much on bullying and revenge. The main four characters were a bit flat to me and way too stereotypical for me. I never really feel for the characters and so it was hard to want to continue the book. It felt slow in many parts.

This being an audio book was nice. The narrator did a great job. She had to read like 7 characters and I was able to tell them apart quite nicely.

Overall, it was ok to read. I probably will not be following the series and I would be hesitant to read something else by this author.

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Four high schoolers suffer daily humiliation from bullies, the ignorance of adults and indifference of their peers. When the friends accidentally open a door letting ungodly creatures into this world their lives change forever. Gifted by the same magic that opened that door these freaks set out to punish their tormentors. With dead bodies piling up the freaks know that with great power comes great responsibly they set out to hunt the monster they freed. But it wont be easy with meddling adults, ignorant police officers and nosey "homeland security" agents. This story is very much Chronicle meets Stranger Things. I did enjoy that we got to experience everyone that is involved point of view. I did not care for the personally of a lot of the characters.

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I received an audiobook via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The narrator, PJ Morgan, did a great job. She had to read from 7 different characters perspectives and was able to differentiate between each.

Freaks follows a group of 4 teenagers who are bullied by 3 guys at school. The 4 play LARP games and one stumbles across a trunk full of an uncles occult items. The kids decide it’s a great idea to dress up in robes and read from one of the books. They open a portal, letting in beings from other dimensions and end up with special abilities.

What I liked:
Super powers-who doesn’t want them?
Revenge of the nerds
Monsters
Good vs evil

What I didn’t like:
The 4 main characters are bullied for being different. They’re all kind of nerdy. 1 is black, 1 is Jewish, and 1 is gay. It felt a little too easy to “other” them.
The bullies. They don’t have a reason for being so awful.
The characters are kind of 2 dimensional and fulfill stereotypes.

For a good portion of the book I was not loving it. Then the last 6 or so chapters have an epic battle between our main characters and the creature they let in. It was well written and suspenseful. I really enjoyed the ending and it raised the book for me.

Trigger warnings: bullying, homophobia, racism, antisemitism, violence

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ARC audiobook provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Freaks” is book about four friends in high school who are subject to bullying by three boys. One day, the friends decide to do a LARP (live action role play) involving spells. They take the LARP too far, however, accidentally reading a real spell that opens a portal to another dimension. In doing so, the four friends each gain a super power, but it comes with a cost: an evil creature from another dimensions slips through into their reality. As the bodies pile up, can the four friends choose to use their super powers to save the day, or will they choose to simply get back at their tormentors? Throw in a bit of a government conspiracy, and you have the story of the four “Freaks.”

This book is definitely more of a young adult read. A large portion of this book is hyper-focused on the bullying the four friends experience and their desire for revenge. I did feel that this was overly emphasized and drawn out. This theme didn’t need to be repeatedly so heavily to get the point across to move the narrative forward.

That being said, the book was a quick easy read. The story flows quickly from beginning to end. However, this also left a lot of areas underdeveloped, as well as the characters. As other reviewers have noted, the book lacked some true depth.

My copy of this book was an audiobook, so I must comment on the narration. I did find the narrator did a good job with the story. The character voices were well done, and the entire narrative flowed easily. I would give the narrator a five star review.

Overall, this book was middle-of-the-road for me, hence the 3-star review. I think the concept was great, but the execution was a bit lacking. The story does set itself up for the sequel, “Travelers,” due out later this year, and I believe the story concept was interesting enough that I’ll pick it up. I think this book would work well for a young adult reader looking for an interesting supernatural/horror novel. If you don’t expect too much, this is a pretty fun read.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review Freaks.

This book was...interesting. It centers around a group of teens who are being mercilessly bullied at school. They come upon an ancient book and eventually open a portal to another world. This consequently unleashes other-worldly creatures into their small Arkansas town and also gives the friends supernatural powers. A fight for good versus evil ensues.

The premise of this book was very interesting to me, especially as a fan of superhero movies and comics. However, I do not believe this should be marketed as a YA novel. There is a lot of adult language, gore, and offensive language. This would probably make a pretty good movie though, I just don't think it should be targeted at a young adult audience.

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This is my first read by Brett Riley. A group of bullied high schoolers open an ancient portal that releases creatures into the town and some how gives them special powers. This gave me some horror/superhuman comic book vibes. There were times that there was too little information or too much.

Thanks NetGalley and Imbriflex Audio.

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Freaks by Brett Riley is the story of 4 teens that have been victims of bullying most of their lives. To deal with the feelings of helplessness, they decide to do a role-playing game. One of the boys uses his uncle's off-limits stuff as props for the game. They perform a spell they found in one of the books and accidentally open a portal. Following the incident, the kids discover they have super strength and special powers. When people start dying violently, they realize something else came through the portal. When it's time to step up, will the kids use their newfound powers for payback or protection?

I enjoyed the plot. With a simple theme of good versus evil, it's easy to follow. The victimization of the main characters makes them the perfect underdogs you want to cheer for. The story is action-packed and moves quickly.

Despite enjoying the plot there was not much else to entice readers. The characters weren't well developed, instead, they were cliches. Additionally, there wasn't much going on in the book outside of the main story and it was pretty predictable. I know there is another book and I'm hoping it has more depth and subplots.

This was an audiobook and was narrated by P. J. Morgan. She is an experienced audiobook narrator. Her use of distinct voices as narrator and individual characters adds to the enjoyment of the book.  The only thing I didn't like was her narration voice had a disconnect and fell flat as opposed to the character voices that are rhythmic and emotion evoking.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars because of the above-mentioned items I found lacking. However, the things lacking allowed the book to be quick and concise. It was a fast and fun read reminiscent of a comic book. Perfect for when you're reading for distraction and don't want to have to think.

I would recommend this book to action and science fiction lovers. The topic and structure of the story would entice fans of superheroes and graphic novels. I recommend this book to young adults and up due to the violence.

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I enjoyed this YA fantasy! A nice mix of Stranger Things/Astrid and Lily Save the World with Marvel super powers. I liked the characters some could have had more depth but a fun fast read. Looking forward to the sequel.

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This isn't the typical book I read or listen to, however I was really drawn to the synopsis and thought I would give it a shot. I actually really enjoy books about bullying but the story felt a little flat. I really didn't enjoy the characters as much as I thought I should either. At times, the POV was hard to follow as well just because we get repeats of the same storyline through different eyes - which is okay, if done right.

The narration was great,

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What makes this book different from all others? It is unique in the fact that there are already a group of kids that are a found family, do they start to add more or keep it in their small little clan? It is unique in the fact that they are including fantasy with a little splash of reality, a lot of reality. Think Stranger Things but with more school and real life happening and less monsters but we know they are there and watching. At almost 30 years old it was a little harder for myself to get dug into but I am happy that I continued and listened to the audiobook.

Why should anyone care? Monsters. Magic. Found family. Evil and Good but are we confused on who is good and who is evil? Middle schoolers meet magic meets real life.

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This book had so much potential... The story of four friends who have been bullied their whole lives for various reasons, only to unleash an even bigger monster fight back. The book definitely left room for a series to be built off of it and that is actually where it loses both of its stars for me... It felt like rather than giving the majority of the book an ending author chose to leave many things open ended. I listened to the audiobook and I can say the narrator was great. I been reviewing this on audible, I would have given the narrator five stars, despite giving the storyline only three.

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I finished this story both delighted and dissatisfied. The writing style, and story itself was delightful and imaginative. For the most part the plot was well constructed and not predictable.

The first part of the story deals with some intense bullying. There's definitely some language here (and throughout the story), as well as content that would make me hesitant to let a younger teen read. The bullying can be brutal, and hard to listen to. At the same time, this sets the stage for thr rest of the story.

I struggled with finishing and rating it. At times it can be a hard read. I came back to the fact that the writing is strong, and the plot itself well done. With that in mind, I give Freaks by Brett Riley a 4/5.

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This was supposedly a feel-good revenge story about four kids who kept falling victims to three bullies. Micah, Gabby, Christian and Jamie were trying to console themselves after repeatedly being bullied by a group of three kids they called B3 by - you guessed it - chanting some unknown scripture that ended up opening a portal to another world. While they got Marvel-esque abilities as a result (which they thought were handy in repelling B3), they also unfortunately brought in an unwanted otherworldly creature.

What a great plot, right? I was so intrigued by the above set up that I had to pick up the book (the audiobook, in my case). Unfortunately, while I was expecting a bit of mystery thriller, it ended up not having any. The entire story was told in sequence (even the creature had its own chapters too) which pretty much left no mystery to be seen.

I also found that the characters, both the freaks and the bullies, had too similar voices. They all used similar words and had similar mannerisms. Kenneth, in particular, had so much potential for character growth, which I thought ended up being untapped. Aside from the profanities and machismo (which didn’t really suit my taste), the story itself felt a bit more middle-grade than YA.

Having said all that, the book had great action scenes. I really could picture the fights playing on-screen. Perhaps I was just not the right audience for this. Perhaps this book would be more suitable for superhero comic lovers.

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Just couldn't get into this one as an audiobook. It worked a lot better for me as an actual reading experience, it was easier to follow that way, and I think that's just down to the way it's written. Nothing against the narrator or the story itself.
If audiobooks are how you prefer to take in books, still check this one out.

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Dnf @34% - just not for me. The writing was great, just think maybe i’m a little too old.

Giving 4 stars because the writing itself is great and the story so far is good. If I’d read this at 13 I’m positive I’d have loved it.

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3.5 stars

This book has an awesome concept. I gave me superhero with a Stranger Things twist.
This book did not hold back either! A group of bullied teenagers receive powers and have to decide if they will use their powers for good or revenge.

My hold up how one dimensional it felt. I never really connected too much with any one particular character.

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These are not your typical superheroes. This was an interesting take on superheroes, the origin of these in this case and what they should consider their responsibility. Taking into consideration their moral responsibilities is an interesting take on superheroes and made this story entertaining. The narrator does a great job telling the story.

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Freaks follows a group of friends who are bullied badly by 3 boys. They decide to do a ritual as a LARPing exercise and end up with powers. They also manage to bring in a being from another dimension who ends up wreaking havoc on their town.

This book was ok, I wanted to love it because the premise sounds awesome but it didnt quite live up to the promise. I absolutely hated Micah, which made it a bit hard to listen to because he was always there. The abilities they get are interesting, I especially liked the super senses and how they practiced their powers, it was a smart move. But the characters are a little flat and there’s nothing that happens which is really complex. It’s a pretty simple story and good for anyone who just wants to turn their brain off for some hours.

The narrator is very good! I liked her voice.

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A really fast-paced read but I felt at some points it overall lacked a little depth. But again as a YA novel I can't in good conscious give this a low review purely because it was not originally written for my consumption and enjoyment. A very fast, fun listen that was interesting and kept my attention throughout.

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Wow, this was a fantastic audio. It was surprisingly gorey and I managed to stick in there lol. I'm happy that I stumbled across Freaks and read this hidden gem.😊

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