Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein is a fun kids' book set in a fantastical, puzzle-filled library.
hasn't really bothered with that extra-credit assignment to write an
essay about the town's new library -- big deal, it's just a library,
right? But when he learns that the library was designed by Luigi
Lemoncello, the eccentric millionaire game designer, and the twelve
students who win the essay contest will get to be part of a lock-in with
the potential for all kinds of wacky fun, he scribbles something down
and hands it in. He spends the rest of the day trying to work on and
then submit a better essay, even going so far as to locate Mr.
Lemoncello's email address. The game's not over until it's over, he
figures -- and sure enough, his last-ditch efforts get him the final
spot in the library lock-in . . . which turns into a competition with
difficult puzzles and fabulous prizes ("Like The Hunger Games,
but with plenty of food and no bows and arrows," quips Mr. Lemoncello).
Kyle and his friends form a team, working against the snotty rich kid
who "never loses," but can teamwork and cooperation triumph over
sneakiness and cunning?
This book is a lot of fun for its
intended middle-grade readers. The library's attractions are described
in a way sure to inspire envy, and the kids' adventures keep the plot
moving briskly along. I'll be sure to recommend this to readers who like
this sort of puzzle-based mystery story.
(Reviewed from an e-audiobook borrowed through my library system.)