Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

“Why not just have the kids play one of your other games?” a parent suggested. “Why all this fuss?”

“Because, my dear friends, these twelve children have lived their entire lives without a public library. As a library, they have no idea how extraordinarily useful, helpful, and funful- a word I recently invented- a library can be. This is their chance to discover that a library is more than a collection of dusty old books. It is a place to learn, explore, and grow!“

Kyle Keeley loves board games. Mostly the ones from Mr. Lemoncello’s Imagination Factory. So when there is a contest that is happening in Mr. Lemoncello’s name to win a chance to spend the night at the new library, he does everything in his power to be one of the winners. Even if he thinks the library is going to be lame.

The sleepover at the library turns into a lot of mini games. The biggest of all revealed the morning after. The doors are all locked, and they have to find the secret alternative exit. There’s clues and riddles hidden around the library, and the first one to find the exit wins a lot of prizes.

I found this book to have a slow start. My mom had read this book in two days and sang its praises so I expected to fly through it. But in the first 100 or so pages, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book at all. But after those 100 pages is when the actual game started, and I really enjoyed that part of the book.

This book needs a lot of suspension of disbelief to get through it. All of the add ons to the library, holographic librarians, basically a hover board ladder, a tiger, are a lot to take in. But if you can push past that and take the story for what it is, it is very entertaining. 

The riddles and clues in this book are a lot of fun. It’s nice to see Kyle and his friends solve them while learning to love the library. I really loved how at the end Kyle has a list of books he wants to check out when in the beginning of the book he doesn’t think that highly of them.

There isn’t much diversity in this. Mr. Lemoncello himself is a first generation immigrant from Italy, and Kyle’s best friend, Akimi Hughes, is half Asian, half white. If there are others it isn’t explicitly stated. 

I ended up giving this Middle Grade mystery four stars. It’s a fun, light read. There are two other books in this series that I think I will definitely pick up eventually.


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