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The Marvels

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  17,789 ratings  ·  2,835 reviews
The journey begins at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage.

Nearly a century later, runaway Joseph Jervis seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale's strange, b
Hardcover, 664 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Scholastic Press
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Anne /Aunt Franne My son is 9. He read it on his own and loved it so much that he recommended it to me.
Sarah Martinez The Guy Next to him because throughout the book it shows how he was madly in love with blink just as his Uncle Albert was in love with Billy

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,789 ratings  ·  2,835 reviews

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting illustrations and a striking story. A true masterpiece.
Whitney Atkinson
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This was great! Pretty atmosphere and symbolic, which made the book so meaningful and beautiful to read. I loved how the illustrations were woven into the story and the intricacies that went along with it, and this was definitely a well-done book that I'd recommend! Selznick is just a genius. ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just...I can't even...It's so hard to find the perfect words to describe how I felt about this book.

I read both Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I loved both of them so much. Ever since those books, I couldn't stop thinking about how powerful they were. Brian Selznick is one of the most unique authors that I have read from. He uses pictures and words in a beautiful way and the stories connect and everything slides into place.

All of his books have a powerful meaning to th
jv poore
I believe that, right before blowing out every single candle on the cake, a young reader somewhere made a spectacular wish for a book filled with gorgeous illustrations and a fabulous, fanciful story rich with quirky characters, adventure and mystery. Mr. Selznick fulfilled this wish in grand fashion.

To open The Marvels is to be immediately immersed in a harrowing adventure at sea. In the blink of an eye….or to be precise, the turn of several pages, invested in the story of a shipwreck with spun
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
2.5 stars

Obviously Selznick does amazing things. His art is fantastic and I love that he basically writes highly sophisticated picture books. I’d love to see more books follow his example actually. That said, I didn’t find the story contained in The Marvels particularly compelling.

There’s actually not really a plot here at all. I mean, there’s the pseudo-mystery of Joseph’s uncle’s house, but really not much happens in this book at all. There’s something aged about this book, and I don’t mean th
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Marvels, Brian Selznick

Brian Selznick once again plays with the form, he invented and takes readers on an awe-inspiring voyage! Two seemingly unrelated stories-one in words, the other in pictures-come together with spellbinding synergy! 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 u
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I've seen some people who don't love this book, and their reasons seem to mostly be because it's different from his others. Instead of the pictures being intermingled with the text, there is one complete story told in pictures for the first 2/3rds of the pages, then a story entirely in text for the rest of the book. But there's a reason why, and the reason is a very startling twist, and I loved it.

His prose is very straightforward, simple really, and almost as quick to read as the
Monica Edinger
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
my blog review.

Brian Selznick is one of the great artists of our time. In what is now a trilogy (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, and now The Marvels ) he has created a unique storytelling style, one that blends illustration and text in an engrossingly original way. It is an aesthetic and emotive experience not like that of a graphic novel, but one closer to a cinematic viewing experience or a theatrical one; the three books are rich with scenes of powerful beauty created with pap
Another wonderful, unique book with wonderful storylines and beautiful illustrations. After around half the book being a story of illustrations and no text, we meet Joseph, a run away, equally unhappy at school as at home, he has uninterested parents who are not present in his life and he doesn't fit in at school. Running away he reaches his uncle Andrew, whose artistic, museum like house gives Joseph a safe haven, a place to fit in and a mystery to solve. A book about discovering who you are an ...more
Xandra (StarrySkyBooks)
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Why have I never put this on my "Read" shelf? I've read it like twice! ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was magnificent and is solidly tied with Wonderstruck (also by Selznick) for my favourite of his three books. This one is formatted slightly differently from the previous two becuase it's half told in pictures and half told in text, but unlike his previous works the pictures do not dissect the text, rather there is one section of solid imagery and one section of solid text.

This is the story of the Marvels, a family of actors with great notoriety and a wonderful past on the stage. This
Suad Shamma
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, 2015
I was very disappointed by this book. Perhaps I should have read more into it before blindly buying it, but I bought it spontaneously because of the beautiful cover and the mysteriously magical synopsis. Also Brian Selznick is known for his fantastical stories, such as Hugo, and I expected no less from this one.

I was all set to read about this family's eccentric life of theatre and peculiar characters and the mysteries behind the house and so on. Instead, all I got was this strangely boring sto
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Continuing his unique theme of storytelling, Selznick takes his readers on a dual adventure told in pictures and then words. The first adventure is experienced solely in pictures and begins in 1776 on a ship named the Kraken. After a massive storm, there is only a single survivor: Billy Marvel. The pictures tell of his story, how he came to be connected to the Royal Theatre in London, and how subsequent generations became well-known actors with their own story to tell. The visually impressive il ...more
Kayla Edwards
Don't let the length of time I spent on this book fool you, we were right in the middle of end-of-the-year school madness so I was forced to put it (and everything else) down for a while. This book was incredible. I loved everything about it - hands down my favorite from Selznick yet. I had no idea where this was going, none at all. I thought I had it figured out but I was so very far from close. When I had to put it down halfway through due to work, I thought I knew where it was going so imagin ...more
Brian Selznick has made a 3rd masterpiece in a row. This book is about good stories, Shakespeare, Ships, and hard life experiences. I like how straight forward the gay uncle is presented. This book is about layers and creating your own life. The art is beautiful in the book and the outside is gorgeous also. I will miss having this story to read. It was incredible. It is so well told - really. If you are going to read any middle grade, try Brian Selznick after Harry Potter. Also, if you like grap ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure about reading this book since I am one of the few people who wasn't bowled over by another of the author's books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I enjoyed the illustrations in that book, but I thought the characters and the story lacked depth. Not so in the case of this book which had not one but two stories to tell, each of them amazing in their own right, and doubly so as they intertwined. Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about them without spoiling things. But what I will say ...more
“That’s what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.”

I fell in love with Brian Selznick's artwork in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which I think is the reason I keep coming back to read his new books. I love the way his sketchbook-style, beautiful charcoal drawings resemble movie scenes, with the pages zooming in on characters' expressions.

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There are pages and pages of these wonderful drawings.

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The thing is, although I've always found Selznick's artwork stunning,
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quite-good
I think this is one of those books I'll enjoy more with the passing of time. It gives you something to think about without being predictable. Out of all the books by Selznick I've read, this is probably the most dialogue focused. I don't think it's his strongest work, but it's worth reading all the same. Discovering how much research really went into making this book was also fascinating. I'd love to pay a visit to the house one day. ...more
Shoa Khan
I sometimes feel that Brian Selznick doesn't belong to this era. How he manages to find all these interesting true stories and characters is beyond me.
Told in his signature style, the story of the Marvels is seeped in old-world charm. This book features two intertwined stories from two different centuries - one in prose and the other entirely in pictures. As always, the illustrations are intricately beautiful.

And the story is about as mysterious as it gets. Although I felt the mystery bit was
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-reads
Selznick has done it again!!!

Creating stories within stories and doing it in such a genius and beautiful way.

He is a master and this is another of his masterpieces!

One of, if not the best book I've read this year! ❤️❤️❤️
Feb 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
Check out my video ”reading Olivia Rodrigos favourite books” for in depth thoughts!
Well this was a strange one. The best I can say is the artwork was lovely. The first 400 pages of pencil sketches outline an interesting story of the Marvel family and spans a period of time from the 1760s until 1900. I liked where this story was going, it seemed to promise adventure, theatrical shenanigans and a kind of earnest delight in all things English. Selznick sketches facial features extremely well, particular adorable babies.

The remainder of the book unfortunately reverts to what I fou
Abby Johnson
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Trust in Selznick.
I struggled with the story a little bit in the middle of the text part. I felt lost and confused.... but hold on because Selznick brings it around in the end and what he has created here is pretty amazing.
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Selznick has his own particular style: books that are part prose and mostly pages of his beautiful, wordless pencils. I can't think of any other author who does this on a regular basis, and very few ever try it at all. I think this just might be my favorite of his books. That's probably because the art and the words are quite separate in the book, which makes sense. They cover different time spans. The first section of art (about 400 pages long) is the history of a theatrical family, and it's ea ...more
Oct 03, 2015 added it
Mr. Selznick's drawing are powerful when it comes to capturing human facial expressions, especially the eyes. I enjoyed the seemingly irrelevant clues placed within drawings--numbers, directed gazes, etc. When I reached the prose section of the story, however, I felt my attention flag, but that was to be expected as a new story (seemingly) was beginning. I patiently waited for both stories to converge, and when they did (in an unexpected way), I appreciated the author's attempt to encapsulate th ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", Brian Selznick became one of my favorite authors. His books are always really easy to understand and have lots of twists, you have to read the whole story for the ending. His books are always full of surprises and epiphanies. This book didn't disappoint my expectations and is amazing just as the first book I've read.
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely beautiful. The drawings and the story were amazing and very engaging. And the fact that it was so meta just topped it off for me.
Holiday BookTubeAThon Read #3
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this! Just a reminder, a 3 star to me means I liked it, which I did. It wasn't crazy good or anything but I also didn't dislike it.

I really loved the illustrations and how quickly it moved the story along. The written section dragged on a bit but I totally wasn't expecting the plot twists. Also, I loved the subtle LGBT themes involved in this book. I really appreciated that they were just there and not heavily focused on or questioned. The end confused me a bit but after reading some ot
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is an advanced copy.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the story--the pictures and the family history of the Marvels. This was definitely the gem of the book. However, I was disappointed, like the character named Joseph, when there wasn't a continuation to that portion of the book, and I felt cheated that in the book's universe that the Marvels weren't real. Onto the text of the story, I liked it for the most part, but I did not feel a connection or a pull to any of the characters. I felt th
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
About 2/3rds of this 600-page volume tells the story of the Marvel family in Brian Selznick's extraordinary illustrations. Most of the way through, he launches into the story of a young boy running away from his prep school to find his estranged uncle in London. This part of the book moves a bit, but not overly, slowly; it supplements and explains more about the illustrated portion. The London story is based in a beautifully restored mansion in a dodgy part of the city, and a real place. I found ...more
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Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I’m the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. I studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after I graduated from college I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. I learned all about ...more

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“Maybe the play wasn't about miracles. No, maybe it was about the passage of time, and the need for patience, and the ability to forgive. Maybe Shakespeare was saying that even in a world where miracles can happen, there's still going to be pain, and loss, and regret. Because sometimes people die and you can't bring them back. That's what life is Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.” 19 likes
“Time is supposed to move forwards.'

'What if I don't like what happens?'

' change it.”
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