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So what’s the first thing I do after saying I won’t be posting book reviews on the new blog? I post a book review.

Except it isn’t.

A review would give a thorough synopsis and talk about what the author did right and what the author did wrong.  I can only talk about what the book did to me.

It blew me away.

THE MARBURY LENS is about a teen named Jack who is kidnapped early in the book, escapes, and begins to question his sanity as a result.  While visiting London, he’s tricked into putting on a pair of glasses that let him see a sort of alternate world, a hellish place called Marbury.  In what we might call reality, Jack struggles to go on with his life, hanging out with his best friend, Connor, and exploring a burgeoning relationship with Nickie, an English girl. But he’s haunted by the events surrounding the kidnapping, besieged by memory blackouts, and fighting an overpowering, self-destructive compulsion to return to Marbury where he’s on a quest to lead two young boys to safety.

THE MARBURY LENS is one of the most original, mind-bending books I’ve read in a long time.  It made me paranoid and uncomfortable. But no matter how paranoid or uncomfortable I got, I had to keep reading. Just like Jack’s compulsion to return to Marbury, this was the first thing I picked up whenever I had free time.   And the minute I finished, I went online and ordered the author’s two previous books.

That said, this book is not for everyone. It’s graphic and violent. And it really, truly messes with your head.  But I can’t recommend it enough. It’s worthy of study just to see how Andrew Smith crawls under your skin and sets up shop.  It keeps you guessing and just as Jack questions his sanity, you start to question what you think you know about the book as well.  It’s masterful and intense and I won’t forget it anytime soon.

Obviously I read a lot. Some stuff is same ole, same ole. Other stuff is well-written and entertaining. But it’s truly, truly rare when a book shakes me up and stands out in ways I find hard to describe. This is that book. I hope to see/hear people talking about THE MARBURY LENS for months to come.

You should follow the author on Twitter (@fallingobjects) or check out his blog (

Published in: on January 17, 2011 at 5:25 am  Comments (1)