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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (449 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Iain Lawrence Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781436144520
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Kids have been picking on fourteen-year-old Harold ever since he can remember. They stare at him and call him “maggot” or “ghost boy” because he’s an albino. Even his mother seems angry and withdrawn when he’s around. One day the circus comes to town, and Harold runs away to join it. When Fossil Man and Princess Minikin accept him into their family, he feels that he has at long last come home. As he gains the respect of the circus owner and the beautiful trick horseback rider, Harold suddenly finds himself straddling the line between the normal people and the “freaks.” If only he could figure out the omniscient Gypsy Magda’s warning about the high price of being “normal.” Iain Lawrence builds an insightful metaphor with this story of a teenager facing his fear of being an outsider. Narrator George Guidall is the perfect guide for readers as they join Harold on his poignant journey toward self-discovery and acceptance.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tellicia Mitchell | 2/3/2014

    " In this book a 16 year old albino boy leaves home and joins the circus where he is now accepted by some of the circus members. He also encounters a love triangle with a girl named flip pharoh and her former or current "boyfriend " named Roman. Harold is also fascinated by the roses, three elephants. In adition to that he begans to teach them how to play baseball and if they succed the circus will be popular and its econmic problems will be solved. Also, one of the roses, Conrad is so attached to Harold that if Harold is being threaten the giant elepahant will attack. This book is a very intresting and unique story, the introduction could've been better and the ending could've better tied up the story, other than that the story was packed full of similies and metaphors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellie Becker | 1/28/2014

    " Harold Beesley is a ghost. Harold is an albino, lonely and an outcast. Stuck in his sad town of Liberty, Harold dreams of heading to Oregon and meeting up with his long lost brother, David, and living as mountain men together. The problem is, David has left to serve in the war, and he hasn't returned. Also, Harold has no way to escape the sad and dull life of Liberty. Until one day, when Harold meets an old Indian man on horseback, Thunder Wakes Him, and is told about the circus that passes through Liberty each year. Later on, Harold goes to the circus grounds where me meets Samuel, a gigantic fossil, and Tine, a bubbly little princess. The two side show freaks tell Harold about the Hunter and Green's Circus. Later that evening, as Harold makes his way back home, he stumbles upon a Liberty resident, Hopalong. He tells Harold all about the Cannibal King, a tough and fierce albino king from the jungle of Oola Boola Mamboo. Intrigued by the idea of meeting another albino, Harold ditches home and starts the treacherous endeavor of catching up to the circus and meeting the Cannibal King. After travelling with Thunder Wakes Him, Harold starts to travel with the Tina, Samuel, and the Gypsy Magda. The Magda is especially interested in Harold and is curious about his upcoming future. After reading Harold's tea leaves, the Gypsy warns Harold to beware of the beast who feeds with his tail, the ones with unnatural charm, and an angry young boy. Moving on, the circus starts to travel again the next morning heading north. Along the way, the group makes various stops at gas stations and fields to get fresh air. Then, the Gypsy Magda has a strange premonission and has the group stop in an Amish village to help save a soul. The Gypsy Magda saves a farmer’s daughter from dyeing, and in thanks, the farmers family offers food and a warm bed. The next morning before they left, the farmer's wife dyed Harold’s hair a jet black as a gift of thanks. Once the freak show catches up to the whole circus, Harold gets a job with Flip, a sassy cowgirl, where he trains the elephants. He quickly decides that he will teach the giant creatures how to play baseball. Furthermore, after about 2 weeks of practice and circus prep, Roman Pininski, a strong rigger who cares for Flip, returns to the circus. Harold immediately feels jealousy, because he thought that Flip and he had a relationship developing. Roman quickly learns to hate Harold and they tend to avoid each other. Moreover, the circus travels to a field on the outside of Salem. Each year, Salem has scouts from Barnum and Bailey to recruit new circus members. As the circus cleans tents and equipment, Harold finally meets the Cannibal King. He was nervous and excited, but the "king" turned out to be a regular guy. This is when Harold realizes that the beast that feeds with it's tail are the elephants, the one with unnatural charm is Flip, and he is the young angry boy. Harold is shocked that has was so naive. The king and Harold become friends and discuss what it’s like to be albino. Then, in a sudden turn of events, the elephants start to play baseball - by themselves! After witnessing such a wonderful event, the entire circus joins in the game and doesn’t stop. About mid-way through, Roman and Flip stop by and Roman says his last remarks to Harold as Flip chases off and trys to convince him that she and Harold had no sort of relationship. As the game continues, Conrad, the greatest of the elephants, takes his turn to bat, he hits, and starts to travel to first base. But out of the corner of his eye, he sees Tina, the "princess"; push Harold to run to home plate. All of a sudden, Conrad switches his path of direction and squashes Tina under his gigantic foot. The little princess was left with her entire bottom body paper thin. She dies in Samuel’s arms while squeezing Harold's hand. After this tragic event, Mr. Hunter shoots Conrad and Harold decides he doesn’t want to go to Salem after all. He's rather just go home and be with his family. So the next day, Harold catches a train home where he returns to the dull life of Liberty, but this time, he has some fascinating stories to be told. I enjoyed this book because it had such a developing story line. In short, choppy books, it's hard to feel for the characters because you haven't seen them act for long period of time. Also, this story included one of my favorite animals, horses. Lastly, I loved the fact that this book really illustrates the personality and persuasiveness of Flip. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Preston Alexander | 1/24/2014

    " I thought of this as a very touching story about a boy growing through life and learning to accept himself for who he is. It shows many elements of life that people have to deal with every day- tragedies in the family, depression, bullying, and acceptance, the latter of these being the reason my language arts class read it in the first place. I gave it a 3/5 however, because there were certain parts (some of which rather substantial to the plot) which I found not probable to happen in real life. Some may argue that this is what makes books good, and I agree, but not when they play a too big of a role to the story itself. There usually has to be very probable parts in the story as well. i enjoyed this book a lot, for it had a very heartfelt ending and a good message, but it was not very realistic. That is again not to say it was bad, but that it was just not the book for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 1/23/2014

    " The language here is rich and the characters are compelling. Harold is complex and his coming of age story is satisfying. I hate circus stories, though because you always know something bad is going to happen with those animals. It is an easy tension. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adrian Wiggins | 1/21/2014

    " I think this book is a inspirational story. It teaches you to not think of yourself less or better than others. In the book Ghost Boy the main character, Harold Kline,he is never confident of himself because he is a albino. Harold is ashamed of himself because he is whiter than all of the other kids. He lives in a town called Liberty. Day and day kids make fun of him calling him the "Ghost". Even Harold calls himself the ghost. Harold has been the lone wolf ever since his father died in the army and when his brother ,David, went to the army and didn't return. Now the circus is in town and Harold meets two people from the circus,Tina and Samuel. Tina is a small woman who the circus calls Princess Minikin. And Samuel is a hairy man who the circus calls , "The Living Fossil". Harold is persuaded ot join the circus. So Harold run off to the circus. You have to read the book Ghost Boy to learn more about the story. The book Ghost Boy is really a inspirational and enjoyable story to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna E. | 1/21/2014

    " I gave the book Ghost Boy a rating of three stars because I felt like it was a very well written and planned out book but soon found myself becoming very bored with the plot and story line. Another reason I did not like this book was becasue of the ending. I did not enjoy the ending of this book as much as I would have if the author had made some changes. This book is about Harold Kline who is an albino and is bullied just about every day because of it. Harold's dad was killed in the war and is brother has yet to return. One day, when the circus comes to town Harold decides that he has taken enough from bullies, his mom, and his new step dad, Mr. Beesley. Harold is also determined to find the Cannibal King who is an albino just like him. Harold then packs up his stuff and leaves to join the circus. Harold makes many new friends like Princess Minikin (Tina), Samuel, the human fossil, the old Indian (Thunder Wakes Him), and The Gypsy Magda, while traveling to the circus. Once Harold gets to the circus he meets a beautiful and talented girl who he instantly fell in love with. Harold decides that he wants to work with the elephants/roses and comes to find out that he has an unspeakable bond with them. Harold begins teaching the roses how to play baseball. Flip and Harold's relationship son changes the way Harold treats his friends. However, this serious relationship that Harold shares with Flip does not last, when Flips strong, tan, and handsome, friend Roman, who also happened to work at the circus as a rigger, showed up. Flip continues to treat Harold as if they were a couple and Harold continues to teach the roses. As the circus travels Harold finally teaches the roses to play baseball. Harold soon finds out that Flip was just using Harold to teach the roses and make money . He also finds out that Flip and Roman planned on getting married. Depressed, Harold is determined to find the Cannibal King. After his long journey Harold meets the Cannibal King and realizes that being different is okay and that everyone is the same on the inside. Harold and the Cannibal King met up with Harold's old friends and they all decided to play a game of baseball with the roses. As more circus members joined the game the more fun they were having and cooperative they were becoming. One of the roses, Conrad, was running around the bases when Tina got in the way. Tina was killed and Harold lost his best friend. Soon after that, Conrad was shot and every ones fun came to an end. In the end, Harold went back home to Liberty but once he got there he was not intimidated by the bullies that he had run away from, instead he stood up for himself and realized that their words could not hurt him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy Pollock | 1/13/2014

    " This book is about a boy named Harold. He's albino and also lives in Liberty. A lot of people make fun of him for being Albino and call him mean names like Ghost. His brother David has gone off to the war and his Father dies a year ago in the War. He has one mother and a step father and a dog named Honey. Honey goes everywhere with Harold and is his best friend/companion. Harold loves to go fishing on his past time with his dog at Rattlesnake river. A place where him and his brother always used to go together. When he was coming back some kids were antagonizing him and took away his worms, fish, and his pole. He started walking away when this big harry hand popped out and took him. It was an freak from the Circus. Honey was barking Hysterically to the beast to put his friend down. But in reality he was not hurting Harold but just trying to help him. There was a lady and a man. Two complete opposites. The lady was named Tina: A tiny Princess. And Samuel: A harry huge "Fossil." Both of them played in the freak pat of the Circus. Right away though Harold became jealous of Tina because Honey was suddenly attached to her. she would not leave Tina's side even when Harold called for her. So Harold started to make his way home when he met up with Hopalong (Well that was his nickname of course.) Hopolong started telling Harold about an Albino in the circus called the Cannibal King who lived in Oola Boola Mongo. Instantly Harold wanted to meet one of his own kind: an Albino. As he walked home Honey showed up with a letter. It was signed from Harold and Tina. And in the letter was two tickets. Harold thought of it as a sign and was making a plan to join the circus. When Harold arrived home his mother was furious because he hasn't been home all day. He was sent up to his room. Harold then started thinking about his brother . the times they played together like baseball and Rattle Snake. So at night he packed his bags and left honey for the Circus. Harold only packed some clothes and a baseball bat, glove, and a softball. When he arrived at the circus everything was gone. And right when he was about to leave an old indian who was part of the Circus offered him a ride to catch up with them. There journey was adventurous! They went through a flood and a couple days of riding to finally catch up with Tina and Samuel. They welcomed him with hugs and smiles and instantly he had made new true friends. They played games and told them about there selves. after a while they wanted him to meet the Gypsie Magda. She was an fortune teller. At first Harold was uneasy about her and still is an dis also scared. All of them went through many adventures like going to a restaurant and Harold standed up for them, having their truck flipped over, bringing a little girl back to life, and Harold getting his own room! But once they arrived at the Circus and Harold got an job from the circus As an elephant trainer everything started drifting away. Harold started to fall in love with a girl named Flip: the best bareback rider anyone has seen. As Harold spent times playing baseball with the elephants and hanging out with Flip Tina and Samuel were just a memory. Harold started becoming popular and more popular. He then started thinking he was better than everybody else. Untill Roman came. Roman was Flips ex and then she was starting to go for Roman. Harold started to feel so alone and all he had now was the elephants. Tina and Samuel didn't hang out with him and he thought it was all over and he made a mistake. The elephants always stood up for Harold though. Like when he was mad at Roman Conrad the elephant always would always do something horrible to him. Mr. Hunter then made Harold stay at the elephants side at all times. Harold did do something great though. He brought all of the Circus members together in a game of baseball. But in that game Tina died by Conrad trampling over the tiny princess. At that point Harold decided to go home. and right when he went home his mother was relieved and kept him in her arms for a long time. I didn't really like this book that much because it didn't grab my attention that much. I like books that are thrilling and this one seemed lifeless and dead to me. I was never really caught in to it. But it was not horrible. I just didn't really care for it at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hope | 1/12/2014

    " This is one of the strangest books I have ever read, I'm not sure if that is what made me love it so much, but I do. You should read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Mueller | 1/10/2014

    " Excellent Young Teen book. Deals with physical prejudice and accepting yourself as you are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellipsis Ampersand | 12/21/2013

    " really sad but good "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bronwen | 12/1/2013

    " Great youth lit, coming-of-age novel. Young man comes to terms with his differences, falls in love, feels acceptance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KatieY | 8/4/2011

    " This book seamed really interesting on all the reviews, but I think it was... strange. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brinda | 7/12/2011

    " It was a great book explaining that it's hard to be different, but it takes forever to get to the point. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 4/25/2011

    " A truly well written book, appropriate for younger readers/teens with an insatiable appetite for reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Snow White | 3/11/2011

    " It was really hard to get into. And pretty dull. And of course, I was nearly in tears at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brinda | 1/21/2011

    " It was a great book explaining that it's hard to be different, but it takes forever to get to the point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Da' REAL Gir | 3/15/2010

    " I have a weird addiction to circus books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anita | 8/4/2009

    " Harold Kline is an albino who has been ridiculed, taunted, and called a freak all his life. He runs away from home and joins the circus, where he befriends other "freaks" and teaches the elephants to play baseball. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ms. Warchol | 6/8/2009

    " I read the first few pages of this novel and I just couldn't get into it. There was an albino and a train and . . . . . no matter how many times I tried - this book just didn't do it for me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lauren | 4/10/2009

    " This book was horrible and so mind-numbingly boring, it hurt to read. I wonder how the author stayed awake reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hope | 3/25/2009

    " This is one of the strangest books I have ever read, I'm not sure if that is what made me love it so much, but I do. You should read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bronwen | 10/13/2008

    " Great youth lit, coming-of-age novel. Young man comes to terms with his differences, falls in love, feels acceptance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 9/4/2008

    " This book is sweet and touching, and it's not likely I'll ever forget it "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Malia | 6/10/2008

    " Really hard to get through. Very dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 4/11/2008

    " Excellent Young Teen book. Deals with physical prejudice and accepting yourself as you are. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 1/23/2008

    " The language here is rich and the characters are compelling. Harold is complex and his coming of age story is satisfying. I hate circus stories, though because you always know something bad is going to happen with those animals. It is an easy tension. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaye | 9/13/2007

    " This story is packed with valuable moral lessons, but I didn't find it thrilling. "

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About the Author

Iain Lawrence is a bestselling children’s author. Before becoming a fiction writer, he studied journalism at Vancouver Community College and spent ten years working for small newspapers in northern British Columbia. He is the author of The Wreckers, The Giant Slayer, The Smugglers, The Winter Pony, and others. Lawrence won the prize for Children’s Literature from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2007. He lives in the Gulf Islands with his partner, Kristen.

About the Narrator

George Guidall, winner of eighty AudioFile Erphones Awards, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Excellence in Audiobook Narration. In 2014 the Audio Publishers Association presented him with the Special Achievement Award for an audiobook narrator of exceptional stature and accomplishment. During his thirty-year recording career he has recorded over 1,100 audiobooks, won multiple awards, been a mentor to many narrators, and shown by example the potential of fine storytelling. Among Guidall’s narration achievements are Crime and Punishment, The Iliad, and John Irving’s A Widow for One Year, which earned him an Audie Award for best unabridged narration of a novel, an honor he captured again for his rendition of Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True. Guidall’s forty-year acting career includes starring roles on Broadway, an Obie Award for best performance off Broadway, and frequent television appearances.