Until the end, this was definitely a 3-star story. The ending is really what made the story what it was--a heartwarming tale of finding family. The rest of the novel seems to be a bit floundering, it gets better as it goes along. I loved the descriptions of the sideshows and the interactions between Portia and the freaks, especially Mosco and Maria. Plus of course with Gideon, whom she develops a romantic interest, but not overly so which is a little refreshing, though I would have been happy to see a bit more. Bit young for that yet, though, I suppose.My favorite character by far is Jackal. You don't learn much about him, which is a little bit sad, but he's not the type to give it up anyways, anything he told you would probably be a fabrication. A lovely exciting fabrication, I'm sure, but still one. I'm not sure what about him makes me like him so much, but he always seemed upbeat and cheerful and he talked to Mosco like nobody else. He also took Portia under his wing and drove Violet's family's truck. I guess despite all that fabrication, he's just a nice guy and the name Jackal is just so fun.And for all of Mosco's tough guy persona, I really enjoyed him. The parts told in his point of view, especially about the twins's dance, was well written and intense.