The Alex Crow (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


There's a bionic crow in Andrew Smith's latest novel--a crow formed out of old DNA and a new genetic process called "chipping." There's also a boy, Ariel, who has been adopted into a family in suburban West Virginia after a harrowing escape from a refugee camp and a litany of traumas. There's a woman--a kind of warped therapist figure--who distributes her book, "Male Extinction," at an all-boys summer camp. And I guess there's also a man who believes that Joseph Stalin whispers in his ear to make him do evil things.

On the simplest level, Smith's novel is the tale of Ariel, the refugee. It's the story of a boy trapped in a coming of age story into which he believes he does not fit: trapped in America, trapped in a weird summer camp, trapped into "bonding" with his new teenage brother--all of these things are surreal to Ariel, who is sick of being saved (or surviving) time and time again. But Smith's novel, which can be described as sci-fi, coming-of-age, and a critique of the patriarchy and Western humanitarianism all at once, quite deftly resists reduction to being any one thing. And perhaps this is appropriate, insofar as the novel seems to strive to articulate the sense that some stories cannot be simply told.

I loved that this book was exceedingly cerebral while still being so heartfelt and appropriately adolescent at times. Even with so many moving parts, Smith navigates the bizarre landscape of the summer camp and Ariel's history with an understated confidence that refuses to lose the reader's trust or attention. I wish I could give away all the reasons to love this book, but that would only do sophisticated teenage (and adult) readers a disservice. Smith is a game-changer for YA--and this novel truly showcases his strengths as a genre-bending storyteller. — Aubrey Restifo

There's a bionic crow in Andrew Smith's latest novel--a crow formed out of old DNA and a new genetic process called "chipping." There's also a boy, Ariel, who has been adopted into a family in suburban West Virginia after a harrowing escape from a refugee camp and a litany of traumas. There's a woman--a kind of warped therapist figure--who distributes her book, "Male Extinction," at an all-boys summer camp. And I guess there's also a man who believes that Joseph Stalin whispers in his ear to make him do evil things.

On the simplest level, Smith's novel is the tale of Ariel, the refugee. It's the story of a boy trapped in a coming of age story into which he believes he does not fit: trapped in America, trapped in a weird summer camp, trapped into "bonding" with his new teenage brother--all of these things are surreal to Ariel, who is sick of being saved (or surviving) time and time again. But Smith's novel, which can be described as sci-fi, coming-of-age, and a critique of the patriarchy and Western humanitarianism all at once, quite deftly resists reduction to being any one thing. And perhaps this is appropriate, insofar as the novel seems to strive to articulate the sense that some stories cannot be simply told.

I loved that this book was exceedingly cerebral while still being so heartfelt and appropriately adolescent at times. Even with so many moving parts, Smith navigates the bizarre landscape of the summer camp and Ariel's history with an understated confidence that refuses to lose the reader's trust or attention. I wish I could give away all the reasons to love this book, but that would only do sophisticated teenage (and adult) readers a disservice. Smith is a game-changer for YA--and this novel truly showcases his strengths as a genre-bending storyteller. — Aubrey Restifo

Description


Andrew Smith is the Kurt Vonnegut of YA . . . [Smith’s novels] are the freshest, richest, and weirdest books to hit the YA world in years.” —Entertainment Weekly

Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of Ariel, a refugee 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 is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century . . . and a depressed, bionic reincarnated crow.

About the Author


Andrew Smith knew ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper that he wanted to be a writer. His books include the Michael L. Printz Honor–winning Grasshopper Jungle and Winger. Smith prefers the seclusion of his rural Southern California setting, where he lives with his family.

Praise For…


2015 New York Public Library Best Books for Teens
2015 Boston Globe Best Books, Young Adult
2015 Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
2016 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List



"Therein lies the brilliance of Andrew Smith. He somehow always finds a way to turn the reader inside out, by grounding the farcical or turning mad science and vomit into art.” —New York Times Book Review

"The weirdness shakes out ridiculously well in this often humorous and touching sci-fi tome." —USA Today

"Magnificently bizarre, irreverent and bitingly witty” —Kirkus, starred review
 
"Smith is a spiritual heir to Kurt Vonnegut” —Booklist, starred review
 
“Fans of Smith’s raunchy, profane, and provocative work will find this funny but morally serious tale deeply appealing.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A smartly cohesive exploration of survival and extinction, and the control humans have (or shouldn’t have) over such matters." —Horn Book, starred review

"Smith takes [readers] to a place where humanity is imbued with the potential to render people inhuman…and reminding us that being human, all too human, is far better than any conceivable alternative.” —BCCB Reviews, starred review
 
“Andrew Smith is unequivocally one of the reigning kings of YA.” —Bustle.com
 
“In a market oversaturated by trends . . .  [Smith’s] novels are fresh and exciting.” —VICE.com


Praise for Grasshopper Jungle:
 
“This raunchy, bizarre, smart and compelling sci-fi novel defies description—it’s best to go into it with an open mind and allow yourself to be first drawn in, then blown away.” Rolling Stone

“A literary joy to behold. . . . reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, in the best sense.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“A bizarrely fascinating premise that Smith pulls off with panache. . . . Like an absurdist MiddlesexA-” —Entertainment Weekly

“I found myself saying over and over again, ‘Where in the heck is he going with this?’ all the while turning the pages as fast as I could. Mostly I kept thinking, This was a brave book to write.” —Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara series


“Andrew Smith is the bravest storyteller I know. Grasshopper Jungle is the most intelligent and gripping book I’ve read in over a decade. It’s a masterpiece.” —A. S. King, Printz Honor–winning author of Ask the Passengers and Please Ignore Vera Dietz


Grasshopper Jungle plays like a classic rock album, a killing machine of a book built for the masses that also dives effortlessly into more challenging, deeper regions of emotion. Above all else, when it’s done you want to play it all over again. It’s sexy, gory, hilarious, and refreshingly amoral. I wish I’d had this book when I was fifteen.” —Jake Shears, Scissor Sisters

“This book is nothing short of a brilliant, hilarious thrill-ride that is instantly infectious. The deft hand by which Smith explores teenage love and sexuality . . . is truly breathtaking. In writing a history of the end of the world, Smith may have just made history himself.” —John Corey Whaley, Printz Award–winning author of Where Things Come Back 
 
“Original, weird, sexy, thought-provoking and guaranteed to stir controversy. One hell of a book.” —Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series

Grasshopper Jungle, in many ways, is a book about how there might be a manual for defeating monsters that have invaded town, but there’s not going to be an easy manual for everything else that weighs on the mind.” —A.V. Club 

“You, too, will love Smith’s bold, bizarre, and beautiful novel.”—The Boston Globe 

“No author writing for teens today can match Andrew Smith’s mastery of the grotesque, the authentic experiences of teenage boys or the way one seamlessly becomes a metaphor for the other.” —BookPage, Top February Teen Pick

"A meanderingly funny, weirdly compelling and thoroughly brilliant chronicle of ‘the end of the world, and shit like that’...a mighty good book." —Kirkus, starred review

"Filled with gonzo black humor, Smith's outrageous tale makes serious points about scientific research done in the name of patriotism and profit, the intersections between the personal and the global, the weight of history on the present, and the often out-of-control sexuality of 16-year-old boys." —PW, starred review

"Original, honest, and extraordinary… pushes the boundaries of young adult literature." —School Library Journal, starred review



Product Details
ISBN: 9780525426530
ISBN-10: 0525426531
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Pages: 336
Language: English
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