Book Review: The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

The Alex Crow by Andrew SmithAuthor:  Andrew Smith

Genre: young adult, sci-fi, contemporary

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

336 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

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 a melting man who was told by Joseph Stalin to build a bomb and travel hundreds of miles to set it off, an exploratory ship from the 1880s (called The Alex Crow) on its way to the North Pole, and a Middle Eastern boy named Ariel (AH-riel, get it straight) who is the lone survivor of his village being murdered by a terrorist group and is now living in the US. It’s surprisingly hard to go into much detail about the plot of this book without giving anything away, but I was completely enthralled and shocked with how it all came together.

I loved the focus on friendship in this book. Ariel, his adoptive brother Max (aka he of the innumerable euphemisms for masturbation), and Cobie, the only other sane kid at the camp where the three of them are sent, bond over the uncontrollable situation they’ve been thrown into. They go through a lot of crazy stuff, and it brings them closer.

This is a layered, complicated story that actually goes a lot deeper than what meets the eye. It brings up a lot of hard issues like morality, race, gender, friendship, and kindness. It’s not always the easiest book to read nor is it like anything else you’ve ever read (or at least anything I’ve ever read). This book is messy and complicated and just so so good.

The bottom line: I honestly cannot wait to read another of Andrew Smith’s books. The Alex Crow was disturbing, weird, awkward, hilarious, and absolutely wonderful.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

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14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh | Caught Read Handed

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2015 | Caught Read Handed

  3. This is one of those books that no matter how many times I read the synopsis, when I come across the book again a few weeks later I’m back to asking myself “What the heck is this about again?” Your review was great, and I think I might pick up a copy!

  4. When I first heard about this book from Joey it really intrigued me. Its great to hear you enjoyed it, I’ll definitely be picking this book up as soon as I can. I’m also quite big on things involving Stalin and such. Great review!

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