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The Marbury Lens Hardcover – November 9, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312613423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312613426
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description

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.

More About the Author

Andrew Smith knew ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating college, he experimented with journalistic careers - writing for newspapers and radio stations - but found it wasn't the kind of writing he'd dreamed about doing.

Born with an impulse to travel, Smith, the son of an immigrant, bounced around the world and from job to job, working at various times in a metals mill, as a longshoreman unloading bananas from Central America and imported autos from Japan, in bars and liquor stores, in security, and as a musician, before settling down permanently in Southern California. Here, he got his first "real job," as a teacher in an alternative educational program for At-Risk teens, married, and moved to a rural mountain location. Throughout his life, Smith continued to write, but never considered seeking publication until challenged into it by lifelong friend, author Kelly Milner Halls.

In 2008, Smith published his first novel, Ghost Medicine, an ALA/YALSA "Best Books for Young Adults." This was followed in 2009 with In the Path of Falling Objects, also a BBYA recipient. The Marbury Lens is Smith's third novel, and will be followed in 2011 by Stick.

Smith prefers the seclusion of his rural setting, where he lives with his wife, 16-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, two horses, three dogs, three cats, and one irritable lizard named Leo.

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Customer Reviews

It's definitely a book you do not want to read before bed.
Krista Cubicleblindness
Smith has some pretty great ideas, and I loved how he wove together the real world with that of Marbury in layers.
Rachael Stein
I read a lot of fantasy and a lot of teen/young adult fiction and this was not for me.
Kara S. Croker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Mancini VINE VOICE on November 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Well, this was a whopper. Truly, and honestly, a doozy of a story. Frighteningly realistic, scary, chilling and very riveting. This is a page turner you can't put down until you've reached the end.

17 year old Jack Whitmore, born a bastard on his mother's kitchen floor, grows up with his grandparents since his parents chose to not participate in his rearing. Getting drunk one night at a party with his best friend Conn has Jack hitting the streets to walk off his stupor. Stopping in the local park on his way home, he collapses on a park bench only to be woken the next morning by a man dressed in hospital scrubs asking him if he was ok. This mysterious doctor offers Jack a ride home and foolishly Jack accepts. But Jack is not taken home. Horrible things are done to Jack, things of your worst nightmares. Luckily Jack escapes & heads to Conn's house to tell him what has happened. These two young men then plot, plan, and execute, a brutal revenge.

Putting the horror behind them, Jack and Conn travel to London for a holiday. While alone, Jack is approached by a man who seems to know him, hands him a pair of odd looking purple glasses, then walks away. Not being able to resist such an oddity, Jack puts the glasses on. His world, from that point on, turns upside down, backwards and forwards, and a rollercoaster ride from hell ensues. Through the glasses, there is a post apocalypse world of war that has ravished the land. Murderous gangs of teenagers fight for survival, & savagely fight against each for dominance..and food. This desolate world is called Marbury and when Jack arrives, he becomes part of something terrifying, and abominable. There on the other side, the person out to kill him is his real life friend Conn.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lea on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
BEWARE: Possible spoilers within this review . . .

Okaaaaay... How to review "The Marbury Lens"...

I'm going to assume the plot points are covered (more than) adequately in other reviews, so I'm going to skip all that & focus on my thoughts on the book instead.

First of all, I find it extremely difficult to believe anyone older than 10 would find this book frightening -- and I am NOT a big fan of horror, so I'm definitely not a jaded reviewer. I've read other things that I've found shocking, frightening, &/or disturbing -- the first story in Joe Hill's "20th Century Ghosts" springs to mind -- but this didn't even come close to scaring me. I didn't even find it particularly disturbing.

Some of the aspects of Jack's story were well written & compelling -- his kidnapping & his apparent emotional & psychological breakdown afterwards, in particular, rang true -- but Jack was already so damaged at the beginning of the book that sympathizing with him was difficult. For example, after being raised from birth by his apparently loving grandparents, Jack stresses over & over that he has no feelings for them, that the only person he loves is his best friend, Connor. Why? The author gives absolutely no reason for Jack's lack of attachment to these caring people who raised him from infancy & who, seemingly, spoil him rotten.

I also took issue with the way teens are portrayed here -- Jack is 16, his girlfriend Nickie is 17, & the other kids are around the same age. At 16, Jack & Connor travel to England without adult supervision. Nickie & her friend Rachel also seem to come & go as they please, without informing anyone of their whereabouts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John B on December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Marbury Lens is a terrific, captivating, dark and yet strangely realistic novel of teenage life and another dimension of reality. Andrew Smith is a wonderful author and he is able to weave together a variety of themes, levels of metaphors and odd people (read also: In the Path of Falling Objects) in such a way that you want to keep reading, to solve the riddle of the characters and their strange encounters. I loved this book, and if there is a sequel, I can't wait to read that one as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah L. Click on June 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book a lot, but was forced to overlook a few things in order to do so.

The first half of this book I thought was pretty fantastic and written beautifully, and I was so into it that I read the first half in two days. However, after that (specifically when Jack and Con got to Blackpool) it felt like the story was going downhill fast. The romance between Jack Nickie was unnecessary and dull. I would MUCH rather read more about Marbury or Jack's struggles than read about him falling in love with a girl who had nothing do to with anything. It was incredibly pointless and shallow. Nothing came out of it except the loss of Jack's virginity. Even more unnecessary was Connor falling in love with Rachel. Who cares? I was hoping Jack would ruin everything with Nickie by his addiction to Marbury, which came close to happening, but then they had sex and everything was okay -_- By the end of the book, Nickie (who started out as a likable character) turned into an annoyance that was way too okay with everything weird going on, who cried a lot and was happy if she had sex. She was just...stupid.

Then afterwards, things kept happening so fast without any sort of explanation. There were so many things just thrown in (like Con magically turning back to a human in Marbury) that it seemed like the author wanted a quick happy ending, but didn't want to do the proper work to get it there. And my God, the way it ended...I'm disappointed. I mean, I was really excited to see Ben and Giffin in the park, but after I read the last sentence I was just like, "Okay? Now what?" I expected much more.

As for the cussing, there's a lot of it, and it's not the fact that they cuss that's annoying, it's the fact that they do it SO MUCH.
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