Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review: The Marvels

Why Did I Pick It Up: I really enjoy Selznick’s other works and I was looking forward to another from him – I like the blend of the highly illustrated book and the chapters. Plus, that cover is BEAUTIFUL.
Summary: First, the illustrations tell one story of a boy, a ship, a fire, and an adventure. However, the chapters do not pick up where the pictures left off, instead we meet Joseph who runs away from boarding school to find his uncle. Joseph’s uncle isn’t as he expected, his home is highly unusual as are his uncle’s behaviors. This is a mystery that will keep you reading until the last page! 

Genre: Mystery … plus a highly illustrated novel (I’d argue that it’s a graphic novel)
Favorite Character: Frankie, although Uncle Albert is a close second
Suggested Age Range: 4th grade +
Diversity Represented: (Spoilers, highlight for details) Joseph’s best friend has a twitch, his Uncle is gay and has AIDS (handled in the MOST BEAUTIFUL way)
Romance: No
The Good: The first half of the book, told exclusively in pictures is beautiful and enchanting. Selznick’s unique way of expressing so much emotion in the way he zooms in on character’s faces and how to have to go slowly to see all of the image really enchants me (the reader). I liked this change from his typical style of dispersing a few pictures and then a chapter. This would be a great book recommendation for kids that only like to read graphic novels (not that there is anything wrong with that).
I love Joseph’s story. I love the mystery of not knowing what is going on with Uncle Albert. I love that I don’t know how the pictures and the chapters relate.
The mystery in this book was at a character level for me and I really enjoyed that. Who is Albert Nightingale? Who is Billy Marvel? Who is Joseph Jarvis? What is with the fear of fire? Why does Uncle Albert seem totally wacko? 

The Bad: I can relate to the other reviewers who were disappointed that the story was a little slow. When the pictures were so captivating, that change felt really harsh. I understood at the end why that wasn’t handled in another way, but for the reader it was a painful adjustment.
The Bitter Truth: Although there isn’t as much story as a YA novel that I typically read and enjoy, I really liked The Marvels because of the beautiful way the book has handled. There are issues here that are handled in such a beautiful way that the ending broke my heart in such a perfect way. I really loved this whole story.
How Much Did I Like it? ****
Book Bingo: None

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