Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Book Review: The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith


I won this book in Shannon O'Donnell's Party Time contest. I got to choose any new release I wanted (thanks, Shannon!) and I chose The Marbury Lens after reading Carolina Valdez Miller's awesome review.

From the book flap:

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.

But it’s not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

Why I liked it:

Voice. Jack's voice is so utterly readable, it drew me in from the first sentence and wouldn't let go. His voice is so vivid, I felt like I knew him. And I had to keep turning the pages to find out if he was going to be okay.

Suspense. So many questions arose as I read this book, questions I just had to have answered. And because Jack's been through a recent trauma and he fears he's losing his mind, I didn't even know if I could trust those answers. But Smith wrapped everything up by the end, so I didn't feel compelled to throw the book against the wall when I finished it. :)

Originality. This is unlike any book I've ever read. I loved the unreliable narrator, the fantasy world of Marbury, the sometimes brutal reality of a teenage boy, the relationships between the extremely well-drawn characters, and the list goes on and on. In a word: Bravo!

Warning: This book is YA, but it has more adult themes than other YA I've read.

What new releases are you anxious to read?

23 comments:

Lola Sharp said...

This one! I've read just about every new release out there...adults and YA alike. I try to read a book/day or at least 4-5/week, so I stay pretty current.
I too have been wanting to read ML since Carol's review. (she gives the best reviews) I just haven't quite got to it yet. But you've convinced me it has to be next. :)

Joanne said...

It sounds like a compelling story. And from your review, it seems to really show the importance of voice, and a hook drawing the reader in right away. There's nothing better than a book that has us intrigued, from start to finish!

Kelly said...

I've heard great things about that book! Cool premise!!
I'm enjoying The Navel of the World right now.

Carolyn V. said...

Awesome review! It's on the tbr list. Thanks for posting it. =D

Brian said...

I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time too, but I never go in that much trouble!

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for the review!

Talli Roland said...

I haven't heard of this one and wow, what a great cover. It sounds like a great read - thank you for the review!

Old Kitty said...

Gosh this book is so doing the rounds! And it's geting such rave reviews too!!! Wonderuful!! Take care
x

Lydia K said...

I'm so fascinated by this book! Think I'll have to read it over the holiday break.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never read a review of this book before, so thanks! It sounds like a great book.

Robyn Campbell said...

Great cover. I had NOT heard of this one. Appreciate the heads-up.

I anxiously await the debut of my writing partner, Beth Revis. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. :) And hope I'm right behind her. (Course, there's the little matter of snatching an agent.) hehe First things first!

Susan R. Mills said...

Laura Pauling just talked about this book on her blog recently. I must get it. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great review, Susan! I'm glad you loved it. I've heard a lot of authors say it is more like an UPPER YA. I can't wait to read it. :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I prefer my YA to be more adult - sounds good!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for the review! Especially the adult theme warning. Sometimes too much reality gets to me, even though I AM curious about the book (haven't read it yet). It sounds like it's well-written.

Jai Joshi said...

It does sound good, thanks for the review!

Jai

jdcoughlin said...

I thought your comment about this YA being more adult. I seem to find that an interesting trend. I'm not sure why that is, where it's going, or if the effect will be a positive one. But I am glad teens are reading more and more.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I had a feeling you'd like this one...Steampunk might be your thing!!!

I can't wait until DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS comes out! It will be released a couple days AFTER Christmas???

Paul C said...

A positive and insightful review. Much is indicated here about advancing reader engagement.

Lynn said...

Thanks for the review! On my list to purchase for my teens, especially my son!

Creepy Query Girl said...

sounds like a winner! Thanks for the review!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I'm so glad you liked it, Susan! I sometimes wonder if I have weird taste :P Thanks so much for the mention! That was a great review. You highlighted the very reasons I was so taken by it as well. How cool that you won the book!

Shelley Sly said...

This is another book I need to read! I've heard about it before and keep meaning to put it on my To Read list. Sounds awesome!