February 4, 2013

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

So, remember how I posted I had nothing for Zachary to read? Not a week later, a package came in the mail from the only promotions person still brave enough to send me free stuff. I’ve scared everyone else away, but I let this woman keep sending me books a few times a year because she’s never sent me a bad book. She is, after all, the one who introduced me to the Dastardly Dames.

Anyway, this time she sent me two middle reader books. I’m tapped out right now emotionally and Junot Diaz’s latest book pretty much demolished all that was left of me (in a good way), so a middle reader novel sounded just right. I picked up Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein, before bed.

Two chapters in, I knew this was Zachary’s next book. But that he couldn’t have it until I was finished.

This is a book-lover’s book, a game-lover’s book, a sink-into-something-delicious-lover’s book. Twelve kids win an essay contest and get to do an overnight in the town’s new library, a facility way beyond state-of-the-art that fulfills the fantasy of every nine-year-old child with holographic librarians, talking mannequins, and hovercrafts to retrieve books. And let’s not forget the game room.

The kids soon learn that they’re actually in a contest to find the secret exit. Mr. Lemoncello – the billionaire who built the library – provides them with clues that they need to decipher to find their way out. The clues and the game are great, especially for kids who’ve read a lot. The storyline is even better, with crisp text and engaging characters. Plus, there’s the library, which would make any junior bibliophile drool. Or, say, any thirty-nine-year-old bibliophile…

Yesterday, I told Zachary he could borrow the book. I’m only reading after the kids go to bed, anyway, and I’m almost finished. Needless to say, he spent yesterday with it, completely engrossed in the book.

“You know it’s not out yet, right?” I said after he’d finished. “This is an advance copy. It’ll be released in June.”

“So, other people haven’t read it yet?” he asked.

“That’s right.”

“Oh, I feel sorry for them!”

I took the book back to my room and would have finished it last night if someone hadn’t made me turn the lights out so he could go to sleep. This morning, Zach came downstairs. “Mommy, do you know where Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is?”


“I want to read it again.”

Half an hour later, as I tried to urge him to finish eating and get ready for school, he looked up from the book. “Remind me that this is the best book ever. It might even replace Percy Jackson.”

I’d tell you how it ends, but the kid took it to school with him.

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  • Reply alejna February 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Wow. I definitely will want to get my hands on this when it comes out! (I miss getting advance copies. Did I ever tell you I worked in a bookstore from 1995 to 2000? As a result, our home library is heavily skewed towards books published in that time period. I miss that employee discount, too. Actually, I miss having guilt-free time to read non-academic things. But I seem to be getting sidetracked. Going to go looking into pre-ordering that book now.)

    • Reply emily February 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      YOU would love it!

  • Reply Melanie February 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    That’s awesome I need to remember this in June too!

    • Reply emily February 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      I’ve asked her to remind me when it comes out.

  • Reply Jennifer February 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Sounds awesome! C loves the Mysterious Benedict Society books and the The Name of this Book is Secret series–sounds similar, is it?

  • Reply Matt February 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I want to read it now! 5 months? That’s just cruel.

  • Reply Heide February 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I can’t wait to get a copy!

  • Reply Sarah Piazza February 5, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Do you think my son at 11 will say it’s too young for him (whether it is or not)?

    • Reply emily February 5, 2013 at 12:23 am

      I doubt it. It’s rated 9-12. If he likes 39 Clues, he’ll like it.

  • Reply magpie February 5, 2013 at 1:35 am

    1. I need that.
    2. How come you get all the great books and I get nothing but shite?

    • Reply emily February 5, 2013 at 1:37 am

      Because I’m picky. I only let this one woman send me anything, and she’s really good, so she knows what will work for me. I frightened all the rest away.

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