Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Review: The Marvels by Brian SelznickThe Marvels by Brian Selznick
Published by Scholastic Press on September 15, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 665
Buy on Amazon

Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and takes readers on a voyage!

Two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures--come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.

I’m going to try something a little different today. I’m not going to write a review where I summarize the plot and talk about the characters. I want to write about my reaction to this book and how it made me feel. Why? You ask. Because this is the type of book that the less you know going into it the better your reading experience will be. I feel if I even try to summarize what happens in this book that I will spoil one of the mysteries that you the reader are supposed to solve or discover on your own. And I want you to experience this book like I did. All I knew going in was that it’s basically a novel and a graphic novel blended together in what is now the author’s trademark style. And that intrigued me. I don’t read middle grade books as much as I would like to and I’ve never read a Brian Selznick book before. Which is a shame because I’ve heard nothing but great things about his The Invention of Hugo Cabret. After reading this book, I’m going to have to get my hands on it ASAP!

We’re all familiar with those beautiful and wonderful books that immediately suck us into the story and light our imaginations on fire. I love those kind of books. And for me, The Marvels was that kind of book. I laughed, I hypothesized, and I cried; all while not being able to put the book down. It was glorious and epic and I’m sad that there are no pages left to read. It was everything I never knew I wanted it to be and it struck a chord in my soul that I didn’t even know I had.┬áIt’s a brilliant piece of storytelling. The art is beautiful and enchanting and a tiny bit haunting. That on it’s own is brilliant but then it is woven so seamlessly into the narrative that the whole book became a masterpiece.

To be honest, I picked it up on a lark at the library because one of my most trusted friends has been raving about it to everyone. I get why now. I so get why now! It was amazing and made me feel the whole gamut of emotions. When I finished, I could do nothing but hug the library’s copy as tears streamed down my face. Once I had pulled myself back together, I immediately went online and bought myself a copy. This book is one that I need for my collection so I can introduce others to how marvelous it is. If you haven’t read this book, you need to! Oh! You need to! It’s one of those stories that leaves you thinking about it for months and years after. It will definitely be on my list of favorite books of 2016.


Jessie H.

Coblogger at Spines & Covers
Jessie is a book nerd who will inevitably be crushed by her TBR pile. When she's not reading, she's a grad student trying to add the three letters PhD to the end of her name in the name of science. The rest of her free time is usually spent watching Marvel movies and Doctor Who episodes. Follow Jessie on Goodreads.
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5 comments for “Review: The Marvels by Brian Selznick

  1. Wow, brilliant review! I’ve read The Invention of Hugo Cabret before and I quite enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be picking this up at some point! :)

    1. Jessie H.

      Aw! Thanks! I hope you get to read it soon!

  2. It sounds really amazing Jessie. Quite the life changing experience. I’ll definitely have to check it out !

    1. Jessie H.

      It’s so good! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

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