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.
Amazon Exclusive: A Note from Andrew Smith, Author of The Marbury Lens
On a number of levels, The Marbury Lens is an attempt on my part to reconnect with many of the experiences I went through as a teenager.
At that time, I was quite a fan of horror stories. In particular, I think I read every book Stephen King put out as soon as they'd hit the shelves. So, I always wanted to write something that would scare the daylights out of me -- if I could somehow be transported back in time to those years.
More than that, like Jack Whitmore, the narrator of The Marbury Lens, I also went through some tough and terrifying experiences as a teen. So the novel is, in many ways, very personal, which, I think, helps pull readers in to the very dark worlds Jack unwillingly travels through.
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—What better way to celebrate an adventure to London than with a going-away party? Sounds good until Jack gets drunk and finds himself at the mercy of a crazed stranger who drugs him and holds him hostage. Readers will cheer when Jack frees himself from the certain death that seems to await him at his captor's home. But once he's out of harm's way, readers—like Jack—will begin to think being chained to the bed of a stranger was so much simpler than being on the run from a murder rap and hearing voices in his head. It all gets worse when he finds himself in London looking through some purple-tinted glasses into a parallel world of cannibalism and gore. As Jack grapples with maintaining his sanity, he also struggles with the fact that his best friend and traveling companion, Conner, is a murderous monster in the parallel world of Marbury—a murderous monster that he must face. This title will keep readers enthralled with its well-developed characters and unique plot. The four-letter words come fast and furiously, but they're no stronger than the violent and gruesome situations that befall Jack and Conner. Smith spares no graphic details to depict the horrific world of Marbury. The novel is not an easy read, but it is one that will keep teens hooked and the author leaves plenty of unresolved threads for a possible sequel.—Robbie L. Flowers, Detroit Public Library, MI
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.