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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 ...
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. Tyndale House Publishers
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.
Posted June 20, 2014
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.
Posted June 12, 2014
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 stomach...so 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!
Posted May 9, 2014
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 :)