Marvelous by Travis Thrasher

Book description:

Brandon Jeffery’s summer started out with a bang—as in, a friend crashed his car and now he has to work two jobs to pay it off. It’s at Fascination Street Records that he’s introduced to a beautiful but quiet girl named Marvel. She’s new to Hidden Cove and looking for a summer job, so Brandon secretly strikes a deal with their boss to work for free so she can be hired.

When a classmate is found murdered, however, their summer takes a turn for the mysterious. Brandon’s friend Devon is sure he knows just who’s to blame: the creepy recluse of the town quarry. But the police have few leads, and Brandon has the sneaking suspicion he’s being watched.

That’s not what’s in the forefront of on his mind, though. More than trying to pay off his car to his unemployed, alcoholic father and protecting Seth Belcher from the school bullies, he’s determined to date Marvel. He doesn’t understand why they seem so close and she refuses to date him, but as the mystery behind her tragic past begins to unravel, Marvel finally confesses her reason: God has revealed she’s destined to die saving others—and it’s going to be soon.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are well-developed and the plot is amazing.  Brandon is such a sympathetic character; a teen boy who is willing to endure his father’s drunken abuse if it will protect his younger brothers, willingly incurs the wrath of the star of the football team to protect a boy who seemingly doesn’t even appreciate it, and works two jobs to pay off his car debt to his parents after one of friends accidentally totals it.  What is there not to like?  Thrasher keeps him from being too saintlike by giving readers a glimpse into his overwhelming anger at his father and his despair that his mother appears to be in complete denial about his father’s drinking problem and abuse.  Brandon’s maneuvers to spend time with Marvel, the beautiful new girl in town, help to keep him a very realistic character.

Throughout the book, Thrasher gives glimpses and foreshadows big events that are going to take place.  Readers can’t help but get pulled into the story, wondering what will happen and reading to find out who the killer is.  There are so many questions throughout the book.  Thrasher is one of the best writers I’ve read at putting the question into the readers mind, but not giving them enough to figure it out prematurely.  It is a rare book that I don’t have a fairly good inkling about what will happen in the end, but not this one!

It was while reading this book that I discovered the biggest drawback to reading books on a tablet.  I had no clue as to how many pages were left over to the end of the book and I was shocked when the book ended.  With print books, readers have a clue as we feel the stack of remaining pages getting smaller and smaller.  With ebooks, there is no warning!  One minute, I was happily reading along, deeply immersed in the problems of Brandon and the people in his life and the next, the book was done!  I was highly disappointed, because I wanted answers!

Apparently, this is book one in The Books of Marvella series.  I was not aware of that.  Now, I sadly have to wait until Thrasher writes the next one.  I just hope he is writing right now, because I can’t wait to read the next one!

If you are a fan of suspense or mystery, you will enjoy this book.  Thrasher is great at foreshadowing without giving away too much.  Just be prepared to have to wait for answers!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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