Review by Paola
by Brian Selznick
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 15, 2015)
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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.
Sometimes you look at a book and think "I'm going to love this book." I had a good feeling about The Marvels and I'm happy to report that I was right. This book is gorgeous inside and out. It just oozes magic and wonder from the very first page.
I think the best way to read this book is to go into it without knowing anything about it. I read the blurb after I finished it and I think it might give away a little much of the story, the illustration bit in particular. This is a personal preference but I hope you go on a blind date with this book. Just trust me, okay?
Even though The Marvels is gigantic (and super heavy), it shouldn't take you more than an afternoon to read since the illustrations take up the majority of the pages. We're talking about 400 pages of stunning illustrations that add a whimsical touch to the book. Once you get over the beautiful art, you can focus on the text part of the story. I was concerned that the illustrations and the text wouldn't complement each other but that's not the case at all. They are both equally magnificent and surprisingly cohesive. I loved the way the stories merged to create a beautiful book. The text is touching and beautifully written while the drawings tell a sad yet hopeful story. Both depict rich and relatable characters that I fell in love with. My eyes even got a little misty at the end and that's the universal sign for "I WANT TO MARRY THIS BOOK." I don't know if you can tell but I'm a fan.
The Marvels is a gorgeous, innovative, and magical literary journey. My biggest regret is that I didn't take my time with it. So, the only way to fix this is to read it again, right?