Book Review: Me and Marvin Gardens

Book Review: Me and Marvin GardensMe and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 256

Obe Devlin has problems. His family's farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn't like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks.

One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog, or maybe a small boar. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags... No one has ever seen a creature like this before, because there's never been a creature like this before. The animal--Marvin Gardens--soon becomes Obe's best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.

In her most personal novel yet, Printz Honor Award winner Amy Sarig King tells the story of a friendship that could actually save the world.


Me and Marvin Gardens is about a boy named Obe, who lives in the rural part of Pennsylvania. The land he lives on and now is being sold to housing developers used to be his family’s land, but his great grandfather had a drinking problem and it got taken by the banks. His family has a small portion that his great grandmother bought and lives comfortably. Unfortunately these new complexes means new families and he seems to have lost his only friend Tommy to a group of new kids. Their friendship ends quite dramatically with a fight over territory – the woods versus the creek – and his friend suckerpunches him in the nose. Now he frequently gets nosebleeds but he won’t tell anyone why.

One day, when Obe is at the creek he meets an animal he’s never k seen before and he names him Marvin Gardens (a reference to him playing Monopoly with his dad and sister). This animal is strange though and eats plastic, which Obe starts to think could be a solution to trash problem. Unfortunately, his poop is toxic and starts eating at the grass around him.

When things start to get a little out of hand, Obe knows he has to talk with his science teacher and see if he can get Marvin Gardens protected. This leads to a discovery of this new animal and Obe is proud to be apart of it.

I really enjoyed this book about boyhood, friendship, and scientific discovery. Middle grade books have a little bit of everything and I loved the vibe of this one. Obe learns a lot about friendship and science throughout this book.


An interesting read for kids into science and nature.


Kristen is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. Kristen is an Elementary School Library Media Specialist in the Chicago suburbs who loves reading. Why else would she be a librarian?

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