by Chris Grabenstein
Random House, 2013 289 pgs
Kyle is an average 12 year old boy who loves to play games. He wins a chance to participate with a group of kids in an opening night scavenger hunt for the town's new library. This is not your ordinary library. It has been designed by the world's most famous game maker and millionaire: Luigi Lemoncello. The library includes holograms, a domed ceiling that projects changing images, interactive displays, games, an imax theater, a cafe, and many other bells and whistles. The tween to figure out how to exit the library without using the main doors will become the new face of the game company with accompanying fame and fortune. The kids begin to compete independently and then realize that team work may be the best way to proceed. Who wins? You must read the book to find out!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was my favorite book that came out this year, and not just because it involves a cool library. The plot is tight and moves quickly, there is an evil character, the mystery is interactive and solvable. And it is set in a very cool library. The mystery in the library was developed by a game maker and the book feels almost like you are playing a game. Beyond the mystery it has a mad-cap scavenger hunt feel to it. Mr. Lemoncello is The Westing Game meets Chasing Vermeer. It wasn't the best written book I've read from 2013, but certainly the most fun. It will appeal to both boys and girls and is perfect for reluctant readers. I plan on using it for my 5/6th grade book discussion group in March. My only question after reading this book is "Is Mr. Lemoncello looking to hire a new children's librarian?" I would love to throw my name in the hat!