The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith is a compelling story about the collision of alternative universes. In this sci-fi fantasy thriller, Jack, the main character, encounters a series of unfortunate events that lead to his acquisition of an unusual pair of purple sunglasses. Jack soon finds out that wearing these lenses transports him to a world where Earth has been replaced by a place called Marbury. Marbury is essentially a post-apocalyptic planet where everything is in various stages of destruction and it’s every man for him/herself. Jack, along with his allies, must navigate between Earth and Marbury– although the line of distinction between the two places becomes increasingly blurred. Jack and his group must create balance between the many different worlds and “save what is good.” Full of action, friendship, adventure, and two-foot long black bugs that eat the dead, The Marbury Lens is sure to confuse and entice you at the same time.
I have read and enjoyed other books by Andrew Smith, such as Grasshopper Jungle and Winger, so I was excited to read his other stories. What I love about this book, and all of Smith’s books, is how relatable the characters are. Jack and his friends live in California, attend high school, and have normal relationships. He is a teenage boy and has some of the same issues that most teenagers do– dealing with alcohol, sex, friends, and school. Smith inserts these accessible characters into a wild universe where life is anything but normal, which is what makes the plot so captivating. Jack describes the worlds he jumps into like “… one of the Russian dolls that you open up, and open up again. And each layer becomes something else.” However, this metaphor can be applied to the book itself: each page you turn twists the plot more and more until you end up somewhere completely opposite of where you started.