Friday, July 18, 2014

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein is a fun kids' book set in a fantastical, puzzle-filled library.

Kyle 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.)


  1. I really enjoyed this one when I read it last year! Glad to see that it still has some legs.

    1. It's one of the nominees for our state book award (the Buckeye Children's Book Award), and I'd like to say that's why I read it, but truthfully I picked it out because it was readily available on OverDrive when I was looking for a book to listen to on a car trip! It was one of those books I'd been meaning to read ever since it came out, though.

  2. So glad you enjoyed the book. Mr. Lemoncello is a Buckeye, too!