Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Suggested tags: middle grade, mystery



From Goodreads:
"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.

In this cross between
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience."

{ I was kindly provided an ARC for free by the author. }


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and The Westing Game, all of which are favorites of mine. It blends some of the adventure and mystery and puzzle-solving of those books, but it's still very much its own story. Now Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is right up there on my favorites list too!

The story moves fast, but everything is developed well: we get to know Kyle and his family and friends, we're introduced to the library and the contest, and then we get right into the action. I'm one of those kids that always loved libraries, so I couldn't help picturing myself in Kyle's place, running around collecting clues and solving puzzles in this amazing library. I loved following along and discovering each room with Kyle and his teammates. Eager readers who are library lovers will no doubt really enjoy this book, but reluctant readers should get a kick out of it too; it's funny, it's exciting, and it turns a stay in a library into a completely awesome adventure.

Mr. Lemoncello himself was a great character, definitely pulling from Willy Wonka and a bit of Dumbledore also. He's goofy yet wise, and book lovers will no doubt love Mr. Lemoncello's subtle literary references. Although personally I liked Dr. Zinchenko even better - a celebrity librarian, how awesome is that! And I loved that she was the one that took Mr. Lemoncello's fantastic ideas and helped turn them into a carefully orchestrated reality.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a great middle-grade book, but it definitely holds appeal for readers of any age that enjoy solving puzzles and playing games. I read the book, then turned right around and read it again to try to see if I could find any more clues or solve anything else on my own. And then there was a message at the end of the book that there's a *mysterious final puzzle* that's in the book but not in the story... the adventure continues! What a fun, fantastic book. I'm definitely a new fan of Mr. Grabenstein's!


Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars



{ More about Chris Grabenstein }

Chris Grabenstein's website
Chris Grabenstein's Goodreads profile
Mr. Lemoncello's final puzzle!

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