By Travis Thrasher
Published by Nav Press
331 Pages

Back Cover: 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.
Great fun to meet Travis Thrasher this summer in Atlanta GA
REVIEW:   I am a Travis Thrasher fan. I was first introduced to Travis through his earlier novels titled The Water Mark, The Second Thief, The Promise Remains, Three Roads Home, Blinded, Letters of War, Home Run and Then I read Isolation. This book wasn’t like his others. I’m a chicken at heart so reading scary stories is not something I seek out. This author has added an element to this novel that wasn’t in his other stories.

Travis Thrasher is a talented author that has written many types of genre’s well. He’s written love stories, mysteries, horror, movie novelizations and coming of age novels. I was thankful for the review copy of Travis Thrasher’s new YA novel so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did. Marvelous is the first book in a new YA series called Marvella. I was hoping since this was a YA series Travis wouldn’t be too graphic and dark like he was in the book Isolation. I was right. I was hooked from the start, check this out.

“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.”

The author has set the tone of the book. It’s written in Brandon’s pov and in first person. This is the summer before Brandon’s senior year. A friend totals his car, he’s now working two jobs to pay his parents back for the car. He had not planned on the string of unfortunate events. Brandon feels strapped until Marvel walks into the Fascination street Record store he works at.

Marvel is beautiful and fascinating. She wants to work at the music store. He goes to his boss Harry and pleads for him to hire her. Braydon gets his wish. Soon he discovers there’s more to this beauty. She’s fun, mysterious, complex and tight lipped. He tries hard to earn her trust! He wants to date her.

Braydon is a guy I instantly liked. He’s a hard worker and takes time to watch out for people, like Seth Blecher; who’s being beaten by school bullies. Braydon had to help. He does his best to be there for Seth.

Braydon is willing to endure his Father’s drunken abuse. He hopes it will protect his younger brothers. He keeps this abuse a secret, which makes him loathe his father. He dreams of the day this violence will stop.

Then a school mate’s body shows up by the river. No clues as to who did this horrible thing to Art. He was Braydon’s age; a nice guy. This turns the small town of Hidden Cover upside down. Nothing like this has ever happened. Braydon talks to Marvel about this and then Marvel feels she compelled to share a secret with him. One she hasn’t share with anyone. Braydon handles the news with grace and compassion.

Then another teen’s body shows up dead in a similar fashion by the same river. This is a game changer for Marvel. She tells Braydon about the call on her life. In order to do what God’s called her to do it she’ll be required lose her life to save someone. Braydon doesn’t know what to think.

I enjoyed this novel it reminded me of the love stories this author has written in the past. It was fun, tender and complex. The author gives a glimpse of big events looming over head that will most definitely appear in the next books in the series. Wonder is the next book to be released January 2015.

This Ya novel is filled with mystery, and adventure. It’s a coming of age novel with a hint of romance, a sense of humor; a serious side too as they deal with the two dead teens, and a supernatural thread. This author talks about relevant topics for teens today – abuse, sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying and has them think about where will they spend eternity? I felt that the novel; Marvelous is the “set-up” book for the series. The author took his time in sharing what he did so readers will get to know this fun diversified cast.  You can’t help but get attached to Braydon and Marvel their love story and how they deal with life and their friends.

I found myself rooting for Braydon and Marvel as they try to navigate life separately but are being drawn together.  I was anxious about what will happen next for them and the people of Hidden Cove. I was afraid of what the author will surprise readers with next. At the same time the author did give hints about the dark yet hopeful story to come. He ends this book on a cliff hanger and a few questions to think about. On the last page there are two audio playlists. One a Fascination Street Play list and the other is for Marvel. Let the fun begin. Travis Thrasher is a versatile author I enjoy reading. I’m so glad he’s connected with a young audience and speaks their language. Mark you calendars’ to read the next installment of this mysterious series.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


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