Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Mystery Lovers As Well As A Great Resource For Librarians

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

My first impression of this book: Wow, nice cover. Looks interesting. 

Second impression: *snort*. Are the stakes so high that you’ll die if you don’t win? I don’t think so. Not in MG fiction, that is. It’s possible in YA… 

Seriously though, I really liked this book. I thought it was a really fun read and the tech in them was really impressive to me. I think this book would be a great way for librarians to get little kids to know about the Dewey Decimal System and how it works, or at least get interested in learning about it. There is so much learning to be done in this story, and it’s really interactive for readers, especially if you follow along with the clues. There’s a lot about the library, how great things can be, how fun books can be and how much help librarians can offer in this story so I was really impressed.

Personally, I loved Kyle as a character. I thought his family and he in general was really cool. One thing about him though: after his essay won the contest, I felt like he became a different person. More responsible. More mature. A complete change in what you think he would do if the situation became hairy. I understand that sometimes, when pushed into corners, people become entirely different, but still.

I loved how well this book was paced. It was perfect for me. There was just enough action and adventure here and there, and I thought the characters really added to the story–no matter who they were, what their motive was or how they did things. In a way, this book reminds me of what I wished NERVE had been. A great read. 4 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 304


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