The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

alex crow

The Alex Crow

By: Andrew Smith

Genre: I’m not quite sure? Science Fiction (shoulder shrug)

Expected Publication Date: March 5, 2015

Bang Bang Rating: 4/5

Thanks to Penguin for the ARC

Overview

Three stories converge.  Ariel a foster child in West Virginia, a schizophrenic man on a journey, and a failed sea voyage from the Alex Crow in the late 19th century.  You read that correctly.

Dang, That was Good

  • If you like Andrew Smith’s previous works, then you will like The Alex Crow.  It’s chock full of repetition, genre mixing, and horny teen boys.
  • If you are an avid YA fiction reader, you know that sometimes YA can be formulaic.  The great thing about Smith’s books is that he manages to write totally different genres in the same novel.  In Alex Crow, there are three different stories.  Anyone one of them would be a very interesting story on their own.  All three stories have one thing in common and you know they will eventually converge.  The best thing about this book is the anticipation of how this will happen.
  • The main characters are three boys who are attending a technology detoxing camp for boys.  The boys are well written, likable, and believable.  Another thing I like about Smith’s characters is that they aren’t these extremely deep insightful 15 year olds that appear in many YA fiction.  You know the kind; the teens who “never talk like that in real life.”  Smith’s 15 year olds have difficult lives and have seen and dealt with things a teen shouldn’t but they manage to talk like and BE teens.
  • Smith’s books are always great for boys because the protags are relatable.  The story begins with Ariel, I think he’s Russian, and rebels have attacked his town.  We learn about his journey from his town, to traveling with American soldiers, to living in a refugee camp, and finally his life with his new American family.  This kid has been through hell yet he manages to overcome his circumstances.  Ariel, much like Smith’s other characters, displays how one handles a bad situation and I think this can be very cathartic for readers.
  • This book is a thinker.  The book jumps right in and I had to reread the first chapter because I was lost.  For the first 3 chapters, I thought it was adult fiction.  Everything comes full circle and you have to think and pay attention as you read.  One major theme that appears in Alex Crow is secrets and if one has the right to burden others with their secrets.

That’s Too Bad, Dang

  • As I said earlier, the three stories eventually converge.  My only problem with this book is that the convergence was a bit of a let down. I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to spoil it.

Overall

This book was on its way to a 5 until I got to the end.  I read the ARC in December and I am hoping the ending gets some revisions.  I think The Alex Crow will be on many best books list of 2015 because its a compelling story of how the lives of 5 people intersect.

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