Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Escape from Mr Lemoncellos Library
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Chris Grabenstein
ISBN 9780375870897
Random House, 2013.
5 stars
Keywords: action adventure chris-grabenstein escape-from-library friendship games puzzles wit

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
by Chris Grabenstein

Fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society will flock to this fun-filled intellectual puzzle constructed by Mr. Lemoncello, a gamer who prized his local librarian.

Twelve years ago, the library in Alexandriaville, Ohio, was demolished to put up a parking ramp. A young Luigi L. Lemoncello had taken solace there as a boy, learning everything he could. Now an eccentric billionaire who made his fortune designing games of all kinds, he wants to give back to his hometown by creating a state-of-the-art library, complete with a Wonder Dome, holograms and a story corner with audio-animatronic goslings that recite Mother Goose.

Grabenstein (the John Ceepak Mystery series) begins with a premise similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, except that instead of a Golden Ticket, a dozen 12-year-olds will gain access to Mr. Lemoncello's Library for a sleepover if they write a winning essay. The story unspools mostly through the eyes of kind Kyle Keeley, the third of three sons whose only chance to outdo them is in games. The author also shines a spotlight on the other 11 peers undergoing the test. At each stage, the children get a chance at games and prizes, and sometimes the rewards are for moral fiber rather than the "right" answer. The grand prize will go to the child who finds a way to escape the library. Well-read readers will appreciate the many favorite titles integrated throughout the narrative, but all will enjoy seeing what Mr. Lemoncello has cooked up next.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

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