Book Review – The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
March 29, 2015
Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel’s story of his summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a depressed bionic reincarnated crow.
I was so excited to read this book as it was the first time I participated in an ARC Tour hosted by The Book Addict’s Guide. I was thrilled at the prospect to write a review of a book before it’s release date. Well, I finished this book on February 7th, in plenty of time to write a review for its March 3rd release date. Alas, here we are at March 29th, and I continue to struggle with this review.
Let me preface this review by saying that this book is getting very strong reviews on Goodreads. Unfortunately, I think this book was just not a good fit for my personal tastes and reading style. I won’t provide you with my typical list of strengths and weaknesses (I really want to give this author the fair shot he deserves based on other reviews), but I will quickly summarize my thoughts on what I read.
Smith is clearly an imaginative and creative author with a solid scientific background – all of which was needed to pull this novel off. As much as I admired Smith’s ambition to interweave three very distinct storylines, I don’t believe he pulled it off to the degree needed to draw me in to the novel as a whole. The story randomly hopped between the storylines without drawing the three together until the very end. Most of the secondary characters are not very likable and not very decent human beings, but I did like that the author featured several males as main characters, which isn’t typical for many YA novels that I read. I can’t say much more without putting some spoilers out there, so I will leave it at that. I would love to know your thoughts if you’ve read it!
Have you read The Alex Crow and what did you think? Does it sound like a book that would appeal to you?