Monday, November 11, 2013

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013
Audience:  Grades 4 to 7
Reviewed from library digital download
ISBN:  9780675870897
Publication Date: June 25, 2013

Book nerds rejoice!  It's Willy Wonka in the library!  The small town of Alexandraville, Ohio hasn't had a library in 12 years, but one has been under construction and funded by game maker Luigi Lemoncello.  On the library's opening night, twelve 12-year olds are invited to a lock-in at the library, Kyle Keeley, game lover, among them.  This library is unlike any other and includes holograms, game rooms, computers, a cafe, and an incredible collection.  But the next morning, those wanting to stay are given a riddle and a challenge:  find your way out of the library in 24 hours and become famous!  The remaining children are scrambling to play the game, unlock the clues, and learn more about the library before time runs out.  

This book sounds like a little slice of heaven!  Lemoncello's Library went straight to my to-read list, then I found out a could borrow a digital copy from the library and that really seemed like the way to go.  Then I remembered that the author, Chris Grabenstein worked with (more like did all the work) on I, Funny with James Patterson.  I was not a fan, but it turns out that Grabenstein is quite talented when not hindered by Patterson.  

The mystery here is pretty impressive.  The participants are trying to solve clues to discover how to get out of the library, but not through the front door or fire exits.  At first, this seems nearly impossible, but by following clues and hints which are sometimes given outright and other times neatly hidden, the clue-hunters find a path to take.  Since the whole experience was designed by "world-famous librarian" Dr. Yanina Zinchenko, even Mr. Lemoncello is in the dark as he watches the competition from the monitors.  Participants use books, games, blueprints and gumption to solve the mystery.

But where there's mystery, there's double-crossing and one player, Chris, is only in it for himself, while the other players band together to form a team.  Will Chris' dishonesty finally catch up to him?  

Sprinkled throughout are little asides about books and reading that will make every reader swoon.  Mentions of When You Reach Me, The Red Pyramid, Huckleberry Finn, and others will delight readers.  Maybe I'll have to come up with Kyle's reading list, similar to my Wonder reading list.  Kyle is not much of a reader, but after describing a Sherlock Holmes book as "watching a 3-D Imax movie in his head", I think he's been converted.  

Plus, the mystery isn't over!  The afterword states that there's another mystery that hasn't been solved and if readers can solve it, they should email the author.  That's why I need to buy this book!  

I loved this book!  The descriptions were lush, the characters were maybe a little predictable, but they all worked together well, and the topic was just perfect.  Lemoncello's Library is now on my list of bookish vacation spots!

Caudill committee, I hope you are paying attention to this little book.  This would be a perfect addition to the next list!

Any book lovers, puzzle lovers, and game lovers will love this book!

Happy Reading!

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