Review: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Genre: Mystery, adventure Age Level: Middle Grade Series: N/A
Genre: Mystery, adventure
Age Level: Middle Grade
Series: N/A

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.


This books is totally fun and awesome. I’d have loved this as a kid – it’s filled with puzzles, riddles and mysteries! Take a book of trivia and puzzles, one of those escape games, the ultimate library and pinch of game show and you have Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. 

Sure, I figured out what was going on from the beginning, but wasn’t able to solve everything. Keep in mind, this is intended for a younger audience, who I’m sure will have loads of fun trying to solve everything before the characters. I got hooked pretty early on and couldn’t put it down. I was constantly guessing and kept getting distracted by the cool features of the library or some literary reference.  Just when you think you know what’s going on, a new twist pops up or some new challenge right up until the very last moment.

Can we talk about the library? It’s a book lovers dream. Holograms? Interactive games? This library just got added to the list of fantasy worlds I want to visit – because I could spend days there. I prefer smaller libraries, but I think I’d make an exception for this one. For a book about libraries it is stuffed with facts about the Dewey decimal system and there are TONS of references to popular titles and authors.

The only thing that bothered me was that the characters are a bit too smart to be actual kids. I’ve been around books for my entire life and didn’t know the stuff these kids knew. Maybe one of the kids would know a lot, but the fact that a most of them are obsessed with libraries or are literary geniuses is a little hard for me to accept. However, I do think they are realistic in the sense that they acted like kids. Mr. Lemoncello is an extremely interesting character and I could see him becoming an instant success. 

The book touches on bullying, the pressure parents put on their kids and the importance of teamwork and following the rules. More importantly, it shows how reading is fun, which is very important in an age of video and computer games. I would love to see this integrated into curriculum because I could definitely see this book getting children interested in reading. In all, it is a fun and engaging read!


library 2

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear from you!


I love hearing from you and will always reply!

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