Dutton Children’s, 2015
Audience: Older Teens
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 with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel's story of his summer at a boys' camp for tech detox is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a depressed bionic reincarnated crow.
This was a tough read for me. One of the best things about Andrew Smith’s writing is that he doesn’t treat teens like they’re younger or more immature than what they actually are just because they’re teens. The Alex Crow started slowly and then all of a sudden everything happened at once. I wish I had known what was going to happen before I started the book. There are few things that are difficult for me to read about, but this book had one of those things. If The Kite Runner made you uncomfortable, I would warn you about this book. It’s definitely worth the read, as are all of Smith’s books, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into when you start it. I definitely look forward to Smith’s next novel!