Book Review + Giveaway: ‘The Marvels’ by Brian Selznick

The Marvels

The Marvels | By Brian Selznick | Scholastic | Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

What first attracted to me to Brian Selznick’s stories are the gorgeous illustrations that accompany them. It’s hard to move on from one drawing to the next because they’re so detailed that you don’t want to miss a single clue. “You either see it or you don’t” is the Marvels’ motto, and that’s very true of the book.

The story begins in 1766 on a ship called the Kraken, and from there, we move through generations of a famous acting family, called the Marvels, until we hit the written section of the novel, which takes us all the way to 1990. This is when Joseph’s story begins. He ran away from boarding school in search of his friend, Blink, who had ran away a few weeks earlier. They had made a map to London to find Joseph’s mysterious American uncle, Albert Nightingale. Joseph’s search for Blink is unsuccessful, but he does find his uncle, who isn’t exactly pleased to see him. Albert invites his nephew into his extraordinary house, full of old, and interesting vintage decor. Joseph is simultaneously mystified and excited by Albert’s home, hoping to uncover the secrets of his family’s past.

Art from The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Art from The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Recently, we celebrated my dad’s birthday, and over dinner, he told us a story about how his grandmother, who had lived in France during World War II, would steal food from the Nazi’s to feed the French Resistance. I thought it was incredible that for all of my 26 years of living I had never heard that story, but I felt so eager to learn more to understand my family’s past and ultimately figure our place in the wide, expanding universe. In that sense, I connected with Joseph, a boy so desperately wanting to feel like he belongs somewhere. When he felt frustrated by his uncle’s dismissals and vague explanations, I felt for him too.

An important theme explored in The Marvels is grief, and it’s one of the most poignant parts of the book. There’s not one clear right way to grieve over someone you love, and all you can do is honor the person in the best way you know how. Honestly, it’s this part that makes The Marvels Selznick’s best book so far. He crafts the story so well and leads up to an ending that is more than satisfying, not the least bit emotionally manipulative. The Marvels earns your heart and tears.

Rating: 10/10

The Marvels by Brian Selznick will be available wherever books are sold on September 15th. In the meantime, I am happy to host a giveaway of The Marvels as well as Selznick’s other two extraordinary novels, Wonderstuck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.




One (1) winner receives:

  • The MarvelsWonderstruck, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.

How do you enter to win? Enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. Rafflecopter is an application that randomly selects winners. Once you submit your information, it will ask you to complete some tasks. The tasks include tweeting about the sweepstakes, liking “The Young Folks” on Facebook, etc. Just remember that every time you complete a task, you increase your chance of winning! Come back every day to gain more entries.  The contest ends on September 15th at 12:01am EST. Winners will be contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn more about The Marvels next week. Starting September 7th, the “You Either See It Or You Don’t” Teaser Tour begins.


Watch the trailer for The Marvels:

Credit: Jamey Mazzie

Credit: Jamey Mazzie

About the Author

Brian Selznick is the Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret which was adapted into Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning movie Hugo. Selznick’s books have garnered countless accolades worldwide, and have been translated into over 35 languages. He has worked as a set designer and a puppeteer. He lives in San Diego, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

Gabrielle is 27 years old and lives in Chicago. She enjoys writing about film, TV, and books, but occasionally writes about music as well. In addition to writing for, she also the editor-in-chief and a co-founder. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies and shows or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to… Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions.
  • Denise M

    I would love to read this, it sounds great. I have not read anything by this author before but it sounds like he can really immerse you into a new world

  • off2europe

    My son and I loved the book The Adventure of Hugo Cabret. The review posted above is awesome.

  • Austin Baroudi

    It sounds like a very interesting read and would just love to read it!

  • Aimee

    Sounds really good! I’m definitely down for this one.

  • I’ve always wanted to read something by Brian Selznick. I thought the movie version of Hugo Cabret was charming, but I still haven’t read the book.

  • Lisa Bretherick

    It actually sounds pretty good and I love the blue and gold cover

  • bill norris

    The art looks awesome and the book sounds great.

  • Jessica To

    I would like to give them to my son because it looks like something he would enjoy reading.

  • Sui Generis

    I would like to win because I think this book is very promising and I really love the cover!

  • Daniel M

    looks like a very cool book!

  • Leigh Anne Borders

    I would love to win this because I am fan of his books. I fell in love with HUGO many years ago. The book is absolutely beautiful. I then read Wonder which is equally as great. I can;t wait to chekc out his nerwest book. I am planning on seeing him when he comes to Atlnata.

  • Ashley Kolpak

    It looks like a really interesting book, and I like the artwork

  • patriciacrowley

    I love suspense,and this book seems like it will lead down a path that I won’t want to stop reading!

  • bn100

    it sounds interesting

  • carawling

    I would like to read the marvels because i think the book cover is beautiful

  • Ian

    So excited to read the marvels! All of Selznick’s other works have been so great I am sure this one will be just as good!

  • Autumn

    This book sounds fantastic and the illustrations are gorgeous.