Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

OK, so I'm going to preface my summary with the fact that I've just spent 15 minutes trying to write two sentences summing up the brilliant beginning of Andrew Smith's book. It is a seemingly impossible task for me. There's too much. Not just plot but character details. It is more or less impossible to completely encompass this book concisely and not give some vital detail away. So I'm going to take the easy way out and give you the summary off of

"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."


If you couldn't tell this book is dark, as in I've been blindfolded and left in an unlit enclosed room by myself dark. Kidnapping, sex, rape, drugs, addiction, murder... The list goes on, but it was so written well, I cannot tell you how well it was done. I found myself having to put the book down and sit trying to take in what I had just read. It seemed so overwhelming and yet I couldn't stop thinking about it. I would have to push past whatever had held me back so I could read just a little bit more, find out a little bit more information. It was addicting. And while I'll admit that this won't be everyone's cup of tea, the elements that Andrew Smith has put together make for one close to perfect book.

It isn't just the fact that the plot is gripping, or the fact that the characters are so completely developed you swear you know someone like them, it's the fact that Mr. Smith has taken these two things and put them together in a perfect concoction and then sprinkled it with some ephemeral dust that sneaks up on you and traps you so that you don't remember a time when you didn't love his books. This book comes out Nov. 9th, read it. Please. And then let me know if you think I'm crazy for liking it, or if I'm just a nut-job.


  1. I don't think you're crazy for liking it. The guy who wrote it... now, that's another story entirely.

    Thank you so much for this incredible review of my book. And, like you, when people ask me what it's about, I have a heck of a time coming up with anything shorter than 370 pages.

    So glad you liked it.


  2. You're not crazy for liking it. I was very lucky to receive a copy from a librarian friend. I read it in one day or a matter of hours and was so overwhelmed I had to email Mr. Smith and tell him how much I loved it. Of course I also bombarded him with lots of questions - he graciously answered almost all of them before he suggested that I read it again, which I did. And if you haven't read In the Path of Falling Objects, you really should.


  3. It's on my list of to read books.

  4. I picked up a copy of this book from my high school library and can say with great certainty that this was the best reading material that I've ever had the pleasure to absorb in my travels thus far. Thank you, Mr Smith, for providing me with proof that reading is still more valuable than any movie or game.

  5. I too found this book in my high school library. Not only is it insanely intriguing, but it proves to be its own genre. I absolutely loved it!

  6. I had to read this book for my independent outside reading in my English class in high school. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time!


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