The Marbury Lens - Andrew Smith I was told before I read this book to get ready for a wild ride. Trust me, that wasn’t an exaggeration. I can safely say that The Marbury Lens is not like any book that I have ever read. I’m not even sure I can come close to explaining the experience in a review, but I’ll give it a try.I read The Marbury Lens as part of The Marbury Lens Read-A-Long sponsored by Ashley at Smash Attack Reads. She incorporated the read-a-long into her Andrew Smith Saturday feature on her blog. Prior to the read-a-long I actually won the book from a giveaway she was running with the stipulation that whoever entered had to sign up for the read-a-long. That was kind of a no brainer. I never turn down a recommendation of Ashley’s because she not only has awesome taste but I can pretty much guarantee that if she’s suggesting it (or lovingly bullying me into it) the book in question is going to touch me in some way. (Granted, I’ve also gained some great appreciation for some seriously smexy PNR characters from Ashley, but that’s a story for another post.)As for The Marbury Lens? ‘Wow’ pretty much sums it up. There are times in this book that reality blurs with fantasy and by the time you get to a point where you think you may have it figured out, you couldn’t be more wrong – or at least wonder if you were ever right. Jack has some serious issues from the beginning. He doesn’t come from a conventional family. He has very little self esteem and he spends a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. His best friend Conner doesn’t seem on the surface to be a huge source of support and just when you think it can’t get any worse, Jack gets kidnapped. That in itself would be enough to throw a normal person over the edge. His escape should be the end of the turmoil, but it turns out to be just the beginning of an experience that I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around.As if recovering from a kidnapping (among other traumas) isn’t bad enough, Jack meets a stranger who seems to know who he is. That stranger gives him the glasses that change everything. They open a door to an alternate reality or do they? I’m still trying to figure that one out. The only thing I do know is that things totally spin out of control for all the characters once he takes his first trip and they don’t slow down.There is literally no way to prepare someone who hasn’t read this book to understand what they are in for if they decide to pick it up. It is definitely more suited for older teens and adults. It not only touches on tough issues, there is a fair amount of blood and gore at times and there is teen sex. I can see how this book would not be for everyone, but I am so glad I read it. Fiction or not, it made me face the reality of some issues that are tough to think about. I love books that do that, especially books like this because it is totally unexpected. The characters had depth and even though Jack was still not totally recovered by the end (neither was I, by the way) he grew and had a better grip on himself than I expected. It was a wild ride, but it was an interesting one. The imagination it took to pull this one off was phenomenal. It also made me want to check out the rest of Andrew Smith’s fiction. Speaking of which, the next book in this series, Passenger, was just released.