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.
When I saw this cover sitting on the library shelf, I thought it looked like a creepy science fiction story. Reading the blurb, I expanded my expectations to a creepy, interesting YA science fiction. After listening to the first 20%, I found I had to stop.
This is a horrorific, gory, profanity-filled story that is not suitable for most YA, or adult, audiences. In the first 20% Jack walked in on his best friend having sex, was kidnapped, tortured and almost raped and visited Marbury for the first time, falling into it surrounded by dismembered body parts. All of which was told in excruciatingly explicit detail. This is definitely not a book I can handle.