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The Alex Crow

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,880 ratings  ·  498 reviews
The author of Printz Honor book Grasshopper Jungle returns with another genre-bending literary exploration of the absurd.

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 w
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Speak (first published February 26th 2015)
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Morally Bankrupt It's never specified. Just as a "Middle eastern" country in the blurb.
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,880 ratings  ·  498 reviews

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Jules Hucke
Jun 19, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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 I’m finished, I’m feeling a little different . . .

Dallas Commercial Photography

That’s not to say this was a baaaaaaaad book. I found it interesting and read it in a day. It just wasn’t 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
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 ch
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.
Adam Silvera
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Smith keeps his books straight up strange. Full review to follow soon.
Will Walton
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Right behind The Alex Crow's absurdness lies an unusual applause for humanity. Something that says, "We might never reach a state of 'healing' in this lifetime. But, hey, at least we manage to change." Smith's latest offers a whirlwind reading experience. And, heads up, it's a hair-raiser! Seriously. But this tale of an adopted teen's bizarre summer camp experience (set in a dystopic American future, of course) balances shock with lightheartedness and goofiness with some serious pathos. I absolu ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel Louise Atkin
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
2nd reread: This book is freaking glorious, can’t 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
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.


I’m not even sure how to begin reviewing this book.

Andrew Smith may be a genius, that’s for sure. But clearly I’m 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 hear
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 that’s engaging, often absurdist, and in many ways uncomfortably honest. And, again, he’s given us a book that’s near impossible to describe in only a sentence or two because any answer to “What’s it about?” will simply lead to more questions. So I will say, it’s a layered story about a boy named Ariel, a reincarnated crow named Alex, a historic expedition, ...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. It’s remarkably strange and different and weird, and I loved it. I’m not even really sure how to review it because of how weird it was, but I’ll try.

Andrew Smith expertly weaves together three seemingly separate story lines about
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 th
B.A. Wilson
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 doesn’t immediately pay off until later in the story
— A diverse, weird, satirical YA-read exploring
Yah... pokoknya kalau baca buku Andrew Smith jangan harap cerita yang biasa, normal, lurus-lurus saja. Dari tema, writing, plot sampai karakter, kadang aneh cenderung absurd. Mencampuradukan scifi dengan teenage angst, scifi dengan drama perang...
But that's what I like from him ^^

Pun demikian dengan Alex Crow...
Ceritanya disajikan lewat 4 timeline

Timeline Ariel yang sedang bercerita tentang hidupnya sebagai sole survivor dari pembantaian di desanya, menjadi refugee, sampai kemudian diangkat ana
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny, totally bizarre, delightful read
Michele C.
Jun 19, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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* Let
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 that’s 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 perspec
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, st
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I may be alone when it comes to Andrew Smith books but I just found this book so far out there that I had a hard time enjoying it. Let it also be said that I do read these in order to put them in my high school collection and this is one I would have a hard time putting in. Language is rampant, there is a very intense rape scene, drinking, drugs, war violence, a plenitude of ways to say masterbation... the list goes on and on.

If this were strictly for myself, I might have enjoyed it a little mor
Thank you to Egmont UK [electric monkey] for providing me with a copy! I could not ask for a better first paperback ARC.

After reading the Grasshopper Jungle and In The Path of Falling Objects, Andrew Smith became the author from who I'd read anything. Come on, both of those books had a love triangle in them and I did not mind them! It takes skill to accomplish that, haha!
Plus, I'm a complete sucker for family/siblings/friends stories. Romance will always be the second choice for me. And since A
Very similar to Grasshopper Jungle, in terms of strange things, an emphasis on history and how it unfolds, plot points slowly weaving together, and a nefarious science corporation behind everything.

Book talk:

This book is very weird and gritty.
It starts out with a guy named Ariel telling about how, the day he turned 14, his town was attacked and he was the only survivor. His country was in the midst of a civil war and it was only weird chance that spared him and no one else. That’s how it begins,
THE ALEX CROW by Andrew Smith is a bizarre young adult novel that skillfully weaves together multiple storylines into a strangely powerful statement about society, extinction, and life.

What do a brutal war, a summer boys’ camp, a nineteenth century arctic expedition, and a schizophrenic bomber have in common? It sounds like a bad joke, but it’s actually the outlandish collection of situations that make Andrew Smith such as popular YA author. Like Grasshopper Jungle, the witty situations in THE A
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Andrew Smith. I really love his books. This one didn't do it for me -- it didn't have that typical Smith grab of feels of nerves or upset stomach. This isn't to say it didn't HAVE feels, or gross me out, or have scenes where I wanted to scream for the characters. It just didn't grab me the way Smith's books usually do.
Adam Kasper
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response
I’m not going to lie, I found this book sort of hard to follow but enjoyable. Maybe if I had read the whole book in one sitting, it would have made more sense to me. The different plot lines ended up confusing me more than adding back story most of the time.

Contrary to belief, the book isn’t actually about the crow itself. After reading this novel, I’m led to assume the book is more about the Alex Company and its goings on. For most of the book, I was under the impression it
I think this book is a sign that Andrew Smith might definitely need some psychiatric attention. Sure, there's a bit of his usual good old-fashioned Mind Screw, and more than a bit of his usual good old-fashioned boyish black comedy and/or crude humor (in particular, the boys in this book make it an art form of inventing insanely, ridiculously original euphemisms for jerking off - with some of my personal favorites being "running off to make photocopies," "releasing the combat troops," and "worki ...more
Jennifer Massey
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up as part of a twitter book club #2jennsbookclub. I have not heard of the book prior to reading it and was excited for a new read. I was probably 40 pages in when I still could not figure out what was happening or where the story was going, but the way it was written kept me moving forward. I really really enjoyed the writing. Once I hit page 42, I was blinded by this book... I did not do anything else until I finished every last page. I devoured this book. I was so pleasantl ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Andrew Smith is my favorite author right now purely for the inability to categorize his books and writing style - they are so entertainingly weird, absurd, funny, and also movingly deep, and of course, filled with a healthy dose of adolescent male raunchiness.

The Alex Crow is the unlikely story of three teenage boys bonding at a six-week summer camp that no one wants to be at and the story of an orphan rescued from a war torn existence and thrust into a new life in America and the story of an o
Ye cats.

I think at this point it's safe to say that Andrew Smith may be my favorite living author. No other writer more accurately GETS the teen male voice so perfectly, with all of the frustrations and goofiness and masturbation jokes and swear words and whatnot. Not only that, but Mr. Smith seems to understand that being a teenage boy frequently sucks. That said, this is one weird-ass book. Multiple POVs; multiple different storylines that seem, at first, only tangentially related; and a not-q
Timothy Ward
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious and touching in classic Andrew Smith fashion. Didn't quite beat Grasshopper Jungle as my favorite of his, but it was close.
Audrey Willis
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I don't know what to say. This book is really weird, crazy, out of the box, absurd, and absolutely not like any normal YA book. I can't even describe what it's actually about. I don't know but I really enjoyed reading it. I've heard about Andrew Smith's insanity before and didn't expect it would turn out like this. Wow. Now I'm intrigued to read his other books as well.
Megan Ogden
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little predictable, but a nice examination of the human desire to control his surroundings as well as the complexities of 'progress.' Love the rawness of his word choice and the intertwining of stories.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Smith slays me & never ceases to pull me into the matter how distressing or unusual. The mash up of characters & plot lines for The Alex Crow was genius. Pure genius.
The Styling Librarian
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith – High School, mixed genres – Release Date March 3rd, 2015-

Book Talk: What happens when you mix human scientific testing, bringing extinct creatures back from the wild, terrible summer camp, bombs, a child rescued from a refrigerator, and a special expedition near Antarctica? A tiny glimpse into the complicated, fantastic The Alex Crow.

Quite the complicated fascinating story packed with unexpected twists, turns, and more. Little bit of a mix of different genres and
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Andrew Smith is the author of Winger , The Marbury Lens , Passenger , Ghost Medicine , Stick , and In the Path of Falling Objects . Grasshopper Jungle is coming from Dutton/Penguin on February 11, 2014.
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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.” 7 likes
“People naturally believe things they see. Nobody argues with the irrefutable postings on YouTube.” 4 likes
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