The Marvels | By Brian Selznick | Scholastic | Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015
What first attracted to me to Brian Selznick’s stories are the gorgeous illustrations that accompany them. It’s hard to move on from one drawing to the next because they’re so detailed that you don’t want to miss a single clue. “You either see it or you don’t” is the Marvels’ motto, and that’s very true of the book.
The story begins in 1766 on a ship called the Kraken, and from there, we move through generations of a famous acting family, called the Marvels, until we hit the written section of the novel, which takes us all the way to 1990. This is when Joseph’s story begins. He ran away from boarding school in search of his friend, Blink, who had ran away a few weeks earlier. They had made a map to London to find Joseph’s mysterious American uncle, Albert Nightingale. Joseph’s search for Blink is unsuccessful, but he does find his uncle, who isn’t exactly pleased to see him. Albert invites his nephew into his extraordinary house, full of old, and interesting vintage decor. Joseph is simultaneously mystified and excited by Albert’s home, hoping to uncover the secrets of his family’s past.
Recently, we celebrated my dad’s birthday, and over dinner, he told us a story about how his grandmother, who had lived in France during World War II, would steal food from the Nazi’s to feed the French Resistance. I thought it was incredible that for all of my 26 years of living I had never heard that story, but I felt so eager to learn more to understand my family’s past and ultimately figure our place in the wide, expanding universe. In that sense, I connected with Joseph, a boy so desperately wanting to feel like he belongs somewhere. When he felt frustrated by his uncle’s dismissals and vague explanations, I felt for him too.
An important theme explored in The Marvels is grief, and it’s one of the most poignant parts of the book. There’s not one clear right way to grieve over someone you love, and all you can do is honor the person in the best way you know how. Honestly, it’s this part that makes The Marvels Selznick’s best book so far. He crafts the story so well and leads up to an ending that is more than satisfying, not the least bit emotionally manipulative. The Marvels earns your heart and tears.
The Marvels by Brian Selznick will be available wherever books are sold on September 15th. In the meantime, I am happy to host a giveaway of The Marvels as well as Selznick’s other two extraordinary novels, Wonderstuck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
THE BRIAN SELZNICK COLLECTION
One (1) winner receives:
- The Marvels, Wonderstruck, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.
How do you enter to win? Enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. Rafflecopter is an application that randomly selects winners. Once you submit your information, it will ask you to complete some tasks. The tasks include tweeting about the sweepstakes, liking “The Young Folks” on Facebook, etc. Just remember that every time you complete a task, you increase your chance of winning! Come back every day to gain more entries. The contest ends on September 15th at 12:01am EST. Winners will be contacted via email. Good luck!
Learn more about The Marvels next week. Starting September 7th, the “You Either See It Or You Don’t” Teaser Tour begins.
Watch the trailer for The Marvels:
About the Author
Brian Selznick is the Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret which was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning movie Hugo. Selznick’s books have garnered countless accolades worldwide, and have been translated into over 35 languages. He has worked as a set designer and a puppeteer. He lives in San Diego, California, and Brooklyn, New York.