Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
25 June 2013, Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Raab Associates
Kyle isn't brainy or athletic like his brothers-- he just likes to play games. In school, this usually gets him into trouble, but when there is an essay contest to win a $500 gift card and an overnight stay in the new town library, his slacker ways and gaming ability work to his advantage. Luigi Lemoncello, game maker extraordinaire, feels that the town library in Alexandriaville, Ohio, and the librarian there, were instrumental in his his success, so he has donated a state-of-the-art library. Since the old library was torn down twelve years previously, he wants to introduce the young people of the town to the wonders of a public library by giving twelve of them the opportunity to use the library resources... to figure out a way out of the library! There are challenges, contests, and not everyone will last the entire time. Kyle and his friends band together against the evil, khaki and blazer wearing Charles Chiltington to solve the puzzles and win the reward.
Strengths: Holographic librarians from the 1960s, a Wonder Dome of HD screens displaying Dewey divisions, and staff picks that are the keys to the clues-- how could I not like this book? Fans of The Westing Game and other clue oriented mysteries will love this one, especially if they are avid readers and get the literary references. The interactions of the children on the teams is also fun, and the best part was all the details about the fantastical library. Grabenstein is a great writer; I particularly like his Haunted Mystery series.
Weaknesses: Kyle is portrayed as a goof at the beginning of the book but changes the minute his essay wins. I would have liked to see a more gradual change. Also, games of all kinds irritate me, so I didn't work through the clues, which would have made this more fun!
The trailer for this book can be found at: