Marvelous: A Novel

Marvelous: A Novel

3.8 17
by Travis Thrasher

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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

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A dark evil lurks in the little town of Appleton.
What would you do if your girlfriend believed she had to die to stop it?

Brandon has never met anyone like Marvel Garcia. She’s beautiful, smart, and shining with a faith and joy unlike any he’s ever experienced. But why won’t she go out with him? As the mystery behind her tragic past begins to unravel, it takes the whole summer for Marvel to trust Brandon and reveal her destiny. Did God really speak to Marvel? Is it true that she’s destined to die before she graduates—and save others from great evil? Does she have anything to do with the terrible things that are already happening in their town? And most important, can Brandon do anything at all to save her?

Watch for the next titles in the Books of Marvella series: Wonder, Awe, and Glory.

School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Thrasher is known for writing about teens dealing with less than perfect circumstances. In Marvelous, Brandon is coping with an abusive alcoholic father and too-busy-to-notice mother. When Marvel enters his life, her upbeat quirkiness and the air of mystery captivate him. Unfortunately, her character is never very well developed beyond her 1970s-style clothing and unwavering devotion to God. The record-store setting and music references (there are playlists in the back of the book, which include everything from Justin Timberlake to The Smiths) add a little hipness to an otherwise standard summer vacation murder mystery. While the book may not appeal to typical YA readers, this is a solid purchase, especially where Christian fiction is popular.—Sarah Jones, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, MI

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Books of Marvella Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Travis Thrasher
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61291-623-1


The worst feeling in the world is being stuck. Stuck in a place you know you can't leave, stuck in a position with no power. Stuck being a person you'd never trade places with.

Summer's barely begun, and I already feel like some kind of prisoner.

I walk past my brothers' bikes sprawled on the lawn, past the open garage that stands separate from our two-story house. I'm actually coming home with a piece of good news: I got a job at the record store downtown. But I don't find anyone inside to share it with. I grab a can of Coke from the fridge and glance at the stack of mail on the kitchen table—mostly unopened bills addressed to my father.

I wonder if and when I'm going to have to start helping pay some of those bills.

I hear the back door open and my brothers' excited voices. I step into the hallway and the first thing I see is blood on Alex's face and T-shirt. Carter is right behind him.

"Brandon, look at this," Alex says, holding one hand up to his nose. It's probably broken.

Not Alex, not now.

I know what happened, and I know that I finally have to act.

I rush back to the kitchen and grab a big butcher knife. No, that's crazy. I put it back and grab a big, round cast-iron skillet instead, holding it like a warrior about to go off to battle.

Alex has followed me into the kitchen and is still talking. "Carter's big head busted me on the nose," he says.

"What?" I stop and look at him again. My heart is racing. "What were you guys doing?"

"Wrestling on the trampoline."

I sigh and let out a tidal wave of anger.

"I didn't mean to," Carter says. "What are you doing with that frying pan?"

I shake my head and put the skillet away. Not that I would've done anything with it anyway. It was just an impulse.

Carter laughs and runs off to the family room.

I poke my head into the room and see my father in his usual place on his armchair throne, eyes focused on ESPN. "I got another job," I tell him.

He nods and looks at me the way he always does. Like I'm some kind of stranger. At least I'm not a stranger holding a cast-iron skillet, prepared to whack the side of his square face.

"Who would hire you?" Carter asks, and laughs at his own joke. "Someone whose grass you cut?"

Carter's a little full of himself. Comes from being the baby, I guess, and Mom and Dad's obvious favorite.

"At least someone around here has a job," I say.

"Carter's not the one who busted up his car, is he?" Dad says.

He's just trying to irritate me. I don't say anything, because I can't deny it. I do have a busted-up car. Which is exactly why I now have two jobs this summer.

I turn to head upstairs to my room.

"You need to get your crap out of the garage, 'cause I'm cleaning it out."

"Okay," I call back.

I'm asking for trouble by not saying "Yes, sir," but I'm already halfway up the stairs so I get away with it. It's a ridiculous request anyway. My father "cleans the garage" at least once a month. It's just an excuse for him to hide out and drink the day away while claiming to Mom that he's working on something: his car, a washing machine he hopes to sell, the motor from a dishwasher. Things that have been broken since forever.

When I'm upstairs and Alex passes by me again, I shake my head. "Change your shirt," I tell him.

For a second he wonders what I'm talking about. "Oh, yeah."

Four males in this house. Sometimes it's not a pretty sight.

Mom's running late at the law office where she works as a paralegal, and I'm doing anything I can to stay clear of Dad. I pump air into the tires on my bike, since it will be my main mode of transportation this summer. I have an older bike in the garage too, one that I've said is garbage but Dad keeps saying he'll fix up and sell. If I had a dollar for every time he's said one thing and done something else, I could buy a new car. A really nice one.

Dad's an electrician, or was, till he lost his job—he hasn't electrified anything in years. Work got scarce when the housing market tanked years ago, and during my sophomore year it dried up altogether. Dad's mood went from slightly overcast to pitch-black.

"Got the bike out, huh?" Dad walks by me and I freeze. For a second he looks down at my bike, then he keeps going to the back of the garage where his work table sits. There's a big Chicago Bears flag behind it, along with pictures of the 1985 Bears. The wonderful, infamous '85 Bears. There's a funny shot of William "The Fridge" Perry doing a touchdown dance.

It's a bit sad when you know your father loves a 325-pound defensive lineman from several decades ago more than his own son.

"So—you gonna go find a third job?" Dad says, his back turned to me. "Since they're so easy to get?"

I don't respond, because I'm not sure where this is coming from. He's the one who told me I needed the second job because I'm paying off my car—the car that got crashed by a friend.

Dad turns around and looks at me. "You think you know what it takes to be the man of the house?" he asks.

I think of those bills again. "No, sir."

He nods slowly, then smiles. It's the meanest sort of smile I've ever seen. The kind the bad guy flashes right before he beats the hero to a pulp.

Maybe I need that skillet after all.

"You guys just stay so busy with your jobs...." His voice fades out as if he's talking to himself.

I just stand there, not sure what to do, really unsure where this is going. I'm not even sure who he's referring to. Mom and me?

Dad snaps out of whatever it is. "Go on inside, okay?"

There's not one bit of hesitation in me. I don't need to understand anything. I don't need to ask what's happening with him. All I want to do is get out of here.

Back inside the house, I feel a little better. Mom will be back from work any minute with her clueless, busy self, and that'll make me feel even better. But something's going on inside Dad that can't be explained by a couple of beers in the middle of the afternoon. This—this whatever it is—scares me.

It scares me because summer has only begun. And Dad has nowhere to be except here. Maybe I should get a third job.


Excerpted from MARVELOUS by TRAVIS THRASHER. Copyright © 2014 Travis Thrasher. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Marvelous: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
I’ve been on a YA kick this summer, so I was excited to read Marvelous by Travis Thrasher. And since this is the first in a series, I was really hoping to love it so I would have a few more books to look forward to. While Marvelous started with an interesting plot and unique characters, I quickly became bored with the story. Personally, I felt that the story just moved along too slowly. By the end of the book, which ended without resolving ANY of the plot lines, I was pretty frustrated. Honestly, I felt like this was just a really long prologue or prequel to the series. Yes, things are set up quite nicely for the series, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to read the rest. I just needed something … more … from THIS book, not just preparation for the next one. [2 stars] I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review, which I have given.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Travis Thrasher normally writes novels full of suspenseful plot twists. This book does not have that. It also ends in the midst of the mystery. If you want to find out who done it you need to buy the sequel for ten dollars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rlighthouse More than 1 year ago
Good Book! Marvelous tells the story of Brandon. a soon to be senior in high school working his way through the  summer trying to pay off the loans for his wrecked vehicle and doing everything he can to escape his  abusive father.  Everything changes when Marvel enters the record store where Brandon works. He hires her even though he has no power to do so and then donates his time at the store just so he can spend time with her.  Marvel is escaping her own painful past and doesn't open up to Brandon as quickly  as he hoped. The town itself is going through a painful time with a teenager found murdered and another one getting beat up multiple times.  The ending of the book sets you up for the next one but one thing gets fully resolved, Brandon's boss sells him a vehicle, and one thing is making progress, Marvel is definitely opening up to Brandon. I like a little more closure at the end of a book but it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Marvel and Brandon progresses in book number two and what happens with the town and the quarry that was mentioned several times.
JessicaCoffee More than 1 year ago
"Home should never be dark or full of shadows and secrets. It should be bright and full of open doors. It should be full of stories wanting to be told." ~Brandon Marvelous was a great mixture of a book. You've got your "worldly" side, and your "religious" side, and both, in my opinion, merged together perfectly. A lot of dark things happen between Brandon, the main character, and his father, but as so many oldest siblings do, he decides it's better to keep it a secret and "take one for the team" in order to keep the rest of the family safe. He's unaccustomed to the concept of God (which can make life a very dark place when you're dealing with the kind of thing Brandon is constantly faced with), and often questions why he has to go through such horrible things. "You can stand in the middle of a street and let the drops fall on you and feel refreshed. It's like God's little sprinkler." ~Marvel On the flip side, Marvel believes in God with all of her heart, and talks about this often. She, too, comes from a pretty dark place, and yet neither she nor Brandon are over-the-top pushy about what they do or don't believe. They're just there for each other, trying to survive, trying to make the most of where they are. This very different belief system is a hard thing to execute without causing an obnoxious imbalance, especially in YA, and I think Mr. Thrasher did a wonderful job of making them meld together. Another thing I think the author did well was incorporating music into the storyline. Brandon works at a record store (Fascination Street--hello, The Cure!), so a lot of older (great) music is mentioned. On top of that, Marvel has her own musical preferences, so that side of music is mentioned as well (there's even a playlist for both Fascination Street and Marvel at the back of the book). The entire book takes place over one summer, which is more than enough time not only for a budding romance to grow between Brandon and Marvel, but to include a murder mystery, a bullying problem, and a shady uncle, all of which I'm pretty sure will be explained more in book two, WONDER. I think a variety of readers will enjoy Marvelous, including music buffs, lovers of contemporary YA, and fans of Neal Shusterman's BRUISER. I can't wait to read the next book. One last quote: "There are a thousand beautiful things behind that look. A marvelous sort of ache that only a few people know about. Some miraculous sort of sorrow she's managed to walk away from." ~Brandon Note: I'd say this is upper YA due to drug references and graphic content.
Kinickimac More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued but then quickly turned off by the religious references and sent from God stuff. I muddled along but then got bored and turned off and didn't even finish it. Lame.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Ever since reading the Solitary Series from best-selling author Travis Thrasher, I knew I wanted more! Something that you find yourself going back to again and again in memory of a great series. He has done just that with the Books of Marvella Series and I couldn't be more excited. Not sure how I missed knowing these were coming out, but now, I know they will be just as good if not better than the Solitary Series was. Marvelous is the first novel in the Books of Marvella series and begins with the life of Brandon Jeffrey, the oldest of three boys in the Jeffrey household. He is on summer break before heading into his senior year, one he is looking forward to completing in more ways than one. For Brandon it's not just about graduating, its about freedom from his abusive father who spends all his free time, drinking instead of looking for work. It is all Brandon can do to find ways to stay out of the reach of his father's drunken outbursts, which he hides from his two younger brothers and his busy hard working mother, a lawyer who can only see the best in him. Brandon is struggling to find jobs to pay back the loan his parents provided him to buy a car, which was totaled when he loaned it to a friend. His father intends to ensure that Brandon pays all the money off this year and seeks to remind him of it whenever he gets the chance. Through a seemingly random coincidence, Brandon runs into Marvella Garcia, who goes by the name Marvel at Fantastic Street, a record store where he offers her a job even though it's not his decision. He decides she is so worth knowing he will find a way to get his boss Harry to hire her just to keep her around. In between dealing with his father, the town of Appleton learns that a young boy Artie Duncan has been brutally murdered. While the police struggle to find suspects, they ask that all teens stay inside after dark and stay in groups. Brandon is your typical high school boy with an unbeatable crush on Marvel who insists that she only wants a friendship with Brandon. He only hopes in time he can convince her to possibly go on a date, while trying to keep the local football bullies from beating up a timid nerd named Seth. Brandon wonders if these same bullies could be the ones responsible for the death of Artie seeing as they love intimidate anyone they can. I received Marvelous by Travis Thrasher compliments of NavPress, a division of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are my own. This is such a realistic novel as told from the eyes of Brandon Jeffrey. He has his own issues to deal with coming to terms with how to handle his father, and being able to be truthful when he needs to. Trust is a big issue here, and it takes confiding in Marvel to help him come to terms with his own deep dark secrets. But the town of Appleton is hiding its own secrets while the murder investigation continues. I love the emotions that come through in each character that comes to life in this series, from the bullying of Seth and how he struggles to handle it each time he runs into the football team, to Marvel sharing her insight into what has happened in her past that has lead her on a path for God. I can't wait for the next novel Wonder which is the second book in this amazing series. Solitary Tales fans? You will definitely want this one!! I rate this a 5 out of 5 stars!!!
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I really like Marvelous. Brandon is definitely having an interesting summer, with friends being murdered, accidents, and meeting new girl Marvel. The book is a good mixture of being sometimes funny and sometimes serious. I think this book is a must read, especially for teens. I hope this book one of a series because I want to see what happens next. 5 stars.
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable but Incomplete: This is entertaining and interesting, but it ends suddenly and the story is incomplete without reading the next book or books in the series. My take on it is that the older or more mature teens would get more out of it, because these characters are a bit wild to the point of being delinquents; also there are dark themes. I like the clean language and the hope that the characters will reach a point of faith. The characters are well developed, and the viewpoint and motivation of the young protagonist is well done. I like the humor. The different personalities were interesting and unique. The buildup is very good, but many unresolved themes make it frustrating to read by itself.
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
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.
thedeena63 More than 1 year ago
These days, you simply have to read a Travis Thrasher novel to understand the fascination. I cannot think of another writer that I can compare him to...he is so unique. And every novel is a new experience, even within the same genre. And that is a very good thing! He's found his niche in the young adult fiction genre, but don't let that label fool you. These books have a mass appeal, with elements of romance, suspense, a lot of supernatural elements, and relevant topics. With "Marvelous" the story unwinds a little more on every page, evolving slowly and building as the characters reveal more and more. The beauty of a Travis Thrasher novel is getting pulled in from page one and having to read until the final sentence to truly get the essence of the story. Don't waste time trying to 'figure it out'...just enjoy the ride and allow it to unfold as Travis planned it for you. On a side note, abuse in any form is monstrous and turns my be warned. My thanks to my friends at Tyndale Publishing for my advance copy of "Marvelous" via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Highly recommended summer reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 Wow!! Thrasher did it once again. If you've read the "Solitary Tales," you'll definitely love this new series! "Marvelous" was a marvelous book to read ;), and I cannot wait for the next book. I truly loved it! Here are four reasons why you should read this book: 1) When reading the book, I completely feel in love with all the characters (all except Brandon's dad of course). I love Brandon and Marvel. Thrasher does an outstanding job on creating a special connection between the characters and the reader. 2) The suspense about the murders are driving me crazy... who is it and why are they doing it?? Thrasher knows how to build a novel based on suspense and mystery. While there wasn't much talk about what the murderer is doing in this book, I not worried at all. "Marvelous" is clearly setting-up the entire series for something amazing... I can't wait to see what the future books hold. 3) Thrasher does a great job on placing me—the reader—inside the character's shoes. When reading the book, I couldn't help but feel Brandon's emotions and thoughts. It was like I was transported from my life to the story of "Marvelous." 4) I don't know how to describe this, but Thrasher always makes his books impossible to put down. Once I started reading "Marvelous", I had to the hardest time pulling myself away from it. I have no idea how he does it. Lastly, I applaud Thrasher on yet another success. This new book was outstanding!! I loved this book and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the series holds... just pretty pretty please don't kill off Marvel like you did in the Solitary Tales :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wait a minute ......Fill my cup put some liqour in it... take a sip...sign the check.... WHAT SONG IS THIS? Post now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure! So, we will start with the Avengers. Okay?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok! Lets put up adds!!