Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013. 978-0375870897.
Synopsis: Kyle Keeley loves games: board games, word games, strategy games, memory games; you name it, he’s played it. So when he hears that his game-making hero Mr. Lemoncello is designing the town’s new library, he jumps at the chance to enter to win a spot in the exculsive sleepover the weekend before the library’s grand opening. Turns out, getting in to the library is easy; getting out will take a little more strategy.
Why I picked it up: Well, I could say that it is just because it takes place in a library, but there’s a little more to it than that….
Why I finished it: Grabenstein has taken one of America’s oldest and most loved institutions and given it a makeover. Yes, the library is a place for books and games, but in the last ten years more than ever, it is also a place for technology. Our characters have grown up in a town without a library and the invitation-only lock in is a way for the twelve seventh graders to learn about what the library has to offer. True, it’s much more hi-tech than most libraries I know, but that is another part of what the characters are learning about during their night at the library. What touched me the most was the game creator Mr. Lemoncello’s story about how he had been an immigrant and it was a librarian who gave him his first book, helped him learn better English, and encouraged him to become the famous game maker he is in Grabenstein’s book. I would even go so far as to say that this book encapsulates many of the reasons libraries are still needed in our schools and in our communities, and proof that spending time in a library can be a rewarding experience. It’s a mystery that is very well crafted throughout, never leaving the reader with a dull moment.
Other related materials: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg; The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl; Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl; Matilda by Roald Dahl; The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin; Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library! by Eth Clifford; The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli; Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck; Bookspeak!: Poems about Books by Laura Purdie Salas; Mr. Crumb’s Secret: A Fribble Mouse Library Mystery by Phyllis J. Perry; The Library Pages by Carlene Morton, illustrated by Valeria Docampo; Young Cam Jansen and the Library Mystery (Young Cam Jansen, Book 7) by David A. Adler, illustrated by Susanna Natti; Library Mouse books by Daniel Kirk; Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling