Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Kyle Keeley loves games.  Games of all kinds.  Computer games, video games, board games, it doesn't matter.  When Kyle finds out that his favorite game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is behind the construction of the new town's library, Kyle can't wait to see it.  Then he learns that the library is having an invitation only lock-in for the first night, and 12 12 year-olds will be chosen.  Kyle is determined to be there, and to compete in Mr. Lemoncello's best game yet.

I LOVED this!  No, not just because it took place in a library, although, fine, that helped.  But aside from all the library love, it was a great story with fun characters.  We learn that working together is better than working alone, and that it's never too late to win the game.

It's also a wonderful book to entice gamers.  You can try to work out all the puzzles the characters in the book are trying to work out.  I preferred to just keep reading and not try to work it all out for myself, but the potential is there and I can see a lot of kids really getting into that part.  There's actually a secret puzzle hidden somewhere in the book.  Author Chris Grabenstein has a note at the end of the book saying that if you're one of the sharp people who figured it out to email him and let him know.  I, of course, have no idea what it is.  But you might figure it out!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is secret ode to library awesomeness.  Or maybe not so secret.  I didn't think the book came off as heavy or preachy in anyway, telling children they should appreciate their library and knowledge and learning and figuring things out and all that.  It just made it seem like doing all those things could actually be really exciting and fun, and check out all the amazing stuff you can figure out if you have the resources!  So cool!  Go libraries!

Kyle is up against a bunch of other kids to win the game, some who are his friends, and some who are kind of jerks.  His biggest rival is Charles, one of those disagreeable people who are always nice and polite when adults are around but a total bully when they're not.  As time ticks by, Kyle figures out that working together might be a better strategy then going at it solo.  Of course, Charles tries to sabotage Kyle and his team at every turn.  That jerk.  Don't you worry, he gets his comeuppance at the end.

Kyle's friends have different strengths, but they all love gaming and solving puzzles.  They are smart cookies who are supportive of each other.  It's all very nice and heartwarming and they triumph.  What's not to love!

I totally wish this Mr. Lemoncello's library was real.  It sounds pretty awesome.  A must read!


  1. Try playing Mr. Lemoncello's First Letters game with all 56 chapters. Hint, Hint.

    1. Ohhh, thanks Author Chris! I will!

  2. I'm so glad I picked this up after your review! What a fun book! It's like Breakfast Club meets Westing Game meets Willy Wonka.

    I especially loved the way that Kyle's team forms very organically, and the ways that each of the team members grows a little by the end. It was all handled really gently and I never felt bludgeoned with the message. Definitely a fun read!


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