Nov 22, 2010

Review: Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

Cover Love: Weird, yet intriguing. Just like the book itself.

Why I Wanted to Read This Book: The synopsis sounded intriguing and it made me want to read the book. Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:
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.

I Kept Reading Because: Much like Jack's addiction to visiting Marbury it was just as hard for me to stop reading.

Romance: Yes. Something to keep Jack grounded, sort of.

What I Liked (& Didn't): Did you notice that I give this book any cookies? That would be because I am super conflicted about what to give it.

I enjoyed this book, but it was super disturbing. But, also super interesting.
I really couldn't put it down, but I could never say that I loved it.

Andrew Smith is an excellent writer and there was much about this book to keep me interested. And questions that always needed to be answered. And a reason to pick it up again every time I had to put it down. It just gets under your skin and into your brain and you have to know what it going to happen. You just have to keep going.

I also question this being a YA book. There is a lot of swearing, some sex and a lot of disturbing images. But, I also think that there are a lot of young adult readers who would really be interested in this book. And most of them could handle it. This is one of those "boy" books that fills that void for readers between searching for something more grown up than middle grade books but are not ready for adult books.

I did really like Jack and wanted to see him get better, or have some hope. And there were glimmers of that, but there was so much going on in his life I am not sure he could really ever be whole again. No tidy bow for this book!

To Sum Up: Do not read this if you are in the mood for something light, but if you are interested in alternative universes and a young male main character that you want to see good things happen for, try this book. Just be ready to have your mind twisted around!

Book requested and received from Feiwel & Friends. (Thanks Ksenia!)


  1. This one is high on my wish list - mostly because every review I've read sounds a lot like yours. It has me uber curious! :-)

  2. I've been following your blog for a little while now and you've steered me in a lot of good directions. My son just started Rot & Ruin and he loves it. I've found some great books for my daughter through your reviews and I have developed a love of YA books now. However, I just don't know what to say about this book. It was very disturbing, to say the least. And I'm still not sure what happened. I finished the last page and just sat there waiting for someone to explain things to me. Mostly, my main question is this: What,exactly, was the point? How did everything even tie in together? I'd read it again to see what I must have missed but I didn't enjoy it enough to invest another two days of my life into this book. Maybe because I went into it thinking things were unquestionably one way when they were, in fact, no specific way at all??