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The Alex Crow

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,957 ratings  ·  507 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Dutton Children's (first published February 26th 2015)
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Bonita It's never specified. Just as a "Middle eastern" country in the blurb.

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,957 ratings  ·  507 reviews

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Jules Hucke
Jun 19, 2014 marked it as to-read
Andrew Smith, I'd read your goddamned grocery lists if they were publicly available. LOVE.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Before starting The Alex Crow I was feeling kinda like this . . .

Dallas Commercial Photography

Now that Im finished, Im feeling a little different . . .

Dallas Commercial Photography

Thats not to say this was a baaaaaaaad book. I found it interesting and read it in a day. It just wasnt for me. The Alex Crow is a complex story. It not only tells the tale of Ariel . . .

Here is an immigrant kid, a second son named Ariel, who has lived, and lived, and lives again, in a place called Sunday.

Shaun Hutchinson
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Christ. What a book. It's hard not to talk about The Alex Crow without thinking about the conversations that have been happening lately about whether or not Smith's books are sexist or if they do a disservice to women or if the female characters in his books are poorly written. When people were defending Andrew Smith, one of the things most often said was that he writes books for teenage boys. I actually disagree. I think Andrew Smith writes books about teenage boys.

There is exactly 1 female
Adam Silvera
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Smith keeps his books straight up strange. Full review to follow soon.
This was so gratuitous I almost quit. But seeing it continues to get rave reviews and be heralded as literary genius, I kept going.

My take away was that men are horrific beings. The only thing I wanted was to actually see Mrs. Nussbaum's book become reality.

Also, no female main character would ever get away with a story like this, and neither would any female author.
Well, that was one weird roller coaster of strange with a surprising amount of emotion in the ending.

Review to come.

Pre-review: Oh, hold up. What's this?

Schizophrenic bomber? Failed arctic expedition?

Depressed bionic reincarnated crow?


Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
5 Stars

Alex Crow by Andrew Smith is a fantastic coming of age story about teenage boys. Once again, Andrew Smith has shown me why he is one of my very favorite authors today. He writes about boys to men, for boys to men, kicking it just for you. Smith wrote my favorite novel of last year, 100 Sideways Miles so this one had a lot to live up to. I have read the Marbury series twice and I really hope that Smith brings us back there for more.

This book has a bit of the Stand by Me feel but with very
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Smith is an inspiration as a storyteller to me.


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith was a standout novel in 2014, regardless of its young adult categorisation. With a film in development and Edgar Wright attached as director, it will surely become a cult classic in years to come. Now, in 2015, Andrew Smith brings us The Alex Crow the story of fifteen-year-old Ariel, a Syrian refugee living with the Burgess family in West Virginia. Ariel, along with Max, his adoptive brother, is sent
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is honestly my favorite Andrew Smith book, but I also feel like this is quite an unpopular opinion. (the other books I've read by Andrew Smith are Winger and Grasshopper Jungle)

I personally think this book is genius. Andrew Smith makes some daring statements in this book which he then overshadows a bit with the extreme absurdness in this book.

This book had different story lines and different time lines that switched each other of. I personally thought it worked really well and that all
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. The diverse group of characters where fun to read and learn about. When Ariel town is smoked out he lives because he fell asleep in a refrigerator. The story goes back and forth from him being in camp with his "foster" brother and his life before. There is also little stories thrown in the book. This is a story that needs your undivided attention so you get what's going on. I love the humor in this book but also the seriousness this book tells about children in war, camps ...more
Rachel Louise Atkin
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
2nd reread: This book is freaking glorious, cant wait to write on it.

Reread: This book is absolutely magnificent and I think is now one of my favourites. Andrew Smith is an incredibly clever writer and is horrendously underrated inside the Young Adult genre. The motifs inside this novel were hard-hitting - the main character Ariel was constantly inside liminal spaces. As a refugee, he has no home and no family. Instead he is resurrected through symbolic "de-extinction", he is not allowed to die
Emily Mead
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
This. Was. So. Strange. Like??? How am I supposed to review this??? I THINK I liked it. In some parts. I mean, it was definitely genius. Just maybe a bit over my head.


Im not even sure how to begin reviewing this book.

Andrew Smith may be a genius, thats for sure. But clearly Im not, because this book was pretty much incomprehensible to me.


Bioengineered crows

A camp for boys who are addicted to technology

A schizophrenic man who hears
Sep 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing Andrew Smith novels is tricky. They stubbornly resist synopsis, imparting their message not through clean, clear narrative structure but rather a messy form of osmosis. The Alex Crow is as good an example as any. It's a miracle that fifteen-year-old Ariel (pronounced Ah-riel) is alive after his village was wiped out by insurgent gunmen. The undersized teen, dressed like a clown, survived by taking cover inside a walk-in refrigerator. The year that followed was a series of traumatic ...more
Sara Grochowski
The Alex Crow is another knockout novel from storyteller Andrew Smith. Like he did with Grasshopper Jungle, Smith has given readers a novel thats engaging, often absurdist, and in many ways uncomfortably honest. And, again, hes given us a book thats near impossible to describe in only a sentence or two because any answer to Whats it about? will simply lead to more questions. So I will say, its a layered story about a boy named Ariel, a reincarnated crow named Alex, a historic expedition, and a ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I thought you were a psychologist," I said.

"Well! Aren't you talkative today? It's so nice to see this breakthrough! I happen to be a medical doctor and a psychologist! Everything you could ever need all rolled into one!"

And she makes her own sperm, too, I thought.

- - - -

"This is antibiotic ointment. So you won't get an infection."

And I thought, why would she care if I got an infection? She wanted all of us to die, anyway."

- - - -

I was so tired of being saved and saved again and again. Couldn't
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book about friendship, about kindness and cruelty, the inevitability of conflict and the overall weirdness of being alive in the world at this time. I love Andrew Smith and his take on life - on existence itself.

Three stories are being told here, one about Ariel, a fifteen-year old boy orphaned by the war in an unnamed country in Africa. One moment he's playing the clown in a play; the next he's hiding in a refrigerator after watching his friends either be shot to death or taken away to be boy
Stefani Sloma
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't believe I waited this long to try Andrew Smith. Loved this strange, sometimes awkward, always wonderful book, and I can't wait to read more by him.


The Alex Crow was my first Andrew Smith book, and I was pretty blown away. This book is nuts, you guys. Its remarkably strange and different and weird, and I loved it. Im not even really sure how to review it because of how weird it was, but Ill try.

Andrew Smith expertly weaves together three seemingly separate story lines about a
B.A. Wilson
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, contemporary
Dear Andrew Smith: I love how your mind works. The way everything gets woven together, even though it seems like it should be impossible to connect all the different threads, is fascinating. Carry on.

And someone please make a documentary on how he comes up with his ideas and weaves a story together, because I write and don't have a clue how he even begins to pull off something as genius as this, GJ, and 100 Sideways Miles. His style is so unique and distinct. I'd know his stories, even if they
Lauren Stoolfire
Weird yet absolutely mesmerizing. I loved seeing how each of the seemingly disconnected stories of a refugee living in Sunday, WV with his new adoptive family, a schizophrenic bomber, and a failed arctic expedition from the 1800s...and a depressed, bionic de-extincted crow. This wasn't exactly an easy read, but I couldn't put it down. Smith is one of my favorite new voices on the scene and a fantastic voice of teenage boys - all of his characters, as outlandish as they come across feel very real ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very complex story that I ever read by Andrew Smith.

Weird, gory, mental, poignant, complex and DEFINITELY good.

joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.]

Rating: 3.8/5

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

A multilayered story filled with stark humour, intrigue, and unhinging pathos to deliver a witty tip of the hat to a world run amok by testosterone
Follows four perspectives, each with a different time period, style of writing, and tone. The juxtaposition in narratives doesnt immediately pay off until later in the story
A diverse, weird, satirical YA-read exploring
Advanced copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I'm just so, so pleased with this book. Ariel is at Camp Marie Seymore for Boys with his new adoptive brother Max. He came from a war-torn country where rebels decimated his entire town and surrounding area.

The Melting Man, Leonnard Fountain, listens to daily abuse and commentary from 3-60 and Joseph Stalin (the voices in his head).

Cobie Peterson's ghost story is real. He has seen the Dumpling Man, and the Dumpling Man is
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
More like, 2.5/5 .

I'm still not sure what I just read... this whole book was weird and strange and bizarre that I didn't even have the faintest idea what was happening half of the time. Nevertheless, I kind of, well, enjoyed it? I don't know.
Jamie-Lee Turner
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
A fantastically weird book with several plot strings that somehow come together in a tense and satisfying end.

Full review can be found here:
Marni Gallagher
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Laugh out loud funny, totally bizarre, delightful read
Michele C.
Jun 19, 2014 marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I have lived, and lived, and lived again.
I could not tell this to anyone, Max. I only hope it is not unfair of me to tell you."


Andrew Smith's books just keep getting stranger and stranger! How does he do this? Where does he come up with this stuff! It is both odd and spectacular at the same time. Wow.

The Alex Crow was a peculiar book, to say the least.

I'm going to try to explain it the best I can.

This is going to be confusing. I'm just warning you now.

Okay! *sucks in deep breath*
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
andrew smith is legit one of my favorite scifi writers i just wish he didnt hate women so much
Firstly, thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for this review copy.

The only thought I had after finishing The Alex Crow was this: well thank God thats over. I regret reading this book. It was honestly the biggest waste of my time. Two emotions dominated whilst reading: confusion and/or boredom.

The book is actually told from three perspectives the majority of which by a boy named Ariel who is an orphan as a result of war in the Middle East and gets adopted by an American. The other
I read all the reviews here to see if others saw what I saw...and I don't see anything. I think that's what I love about Smith. Our reading experience is a short, intense time together with his imagination. What we get out has been enhanced by what we bring.

Ariel, our main narrator, is a survivor. His good heart, his listening soul have complicated his life. War tears everything away from Ariel, and he begins a journey as a refugee...and he collects stories. Stories of others on this journey,
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Andrew Smith is the author of Winger, Grasshopper Jungle, The Alex Crow, 100 Sideways Miles, and Rabbit & Robot, among others. Exile from Eden: Or, After the Hole, the long-awaited sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, is coming from Simon & Schuster on September 24, 2019.

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“My brother Max nodded knowingly. “Head injuries can answer a lot of questions that genetics are just too afraid to ask.” 6 likes
“I realize that death and survival are both extremes of selfishness.” 4 likes
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