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Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

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A New York Times Bestseller

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.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published June 25, 2013

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About the author

Chris Grabenstein

133 books2,261 followers
CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His books include the LEMONCELLO, WONDERLAND, HAUNTED MYSTERY, DOG SQUAD, and SMARTEST KID IN THE UNIVERSE series, and many fun and funny page-turners co-authored with James Patterson. You can visit Chris at ChrisGrabenstein.com.

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5 stars
22,712 (42%)
4 stars
18,804 (35%)
3 stars
9,160 (17%)
2 stars
2,068 (3%)
1 star
886 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,520 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
January 26, 2019
this is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for book- and puzzle-nerds. or, as one character says, "It'll be like The Hunger Games but with lots of food and no bows or arrows."

it takes place in alexandriaville, ohio (not a real place, but a real cutesy reference, one of many peppering this book), whose town library was demolished 12 years ago. a wealthy eccentric gentleman who made his fortune creating a series of very popular games and puzzles decides to rebuild the library and engineers an elaborate publicity stunt where twelve children from the town, all twelve years of age, who have never had the pleasure of browsing through the stacks of a public library, are selected to participate in a lock-in and encouraged to solve a series of puzzles to "escape" the library and win a fabulous prize. these are three of my favorite things: puzzles, books, and lock-ins.

i can't imagine growing up in a town without a library. i am from the smallest state of them all, from a wee village, but there was a town library reasonably close that i could walk to in the summer when i was a teenager. when i was too young to walk there, i used to be driven - dropped off, actually, while my parents ran errands or tried to obtain the paperwork necessary for trading me in for a horse (an oft-used threat in my house). but i grew up in those stacks, making my way from the picture books to the chapter books to the adult books, there not being much in the way of teen fiction when i was that age. so it was heartwarming indeed for me to follow these characters as they experience the thrills of the library for the first time, even though this library is way cooler than any library that actually exists, with holograms of tigers and all.

and grabenstein is smart - this is librarian-bait like crazy. librarians love books about librarians, and books that teach kids how cool the library is, and kids love fast-paced books filled with puzzles to solve. it's pretty much win-win.

is is a perfect book? nah - the characters are pretty stock, the outcome predictable, and the puzzles are not as cool as those in my beloved peggy parish series.

but it does teach kids how to use the library: how the dewey decimal system works, what the archives are, how to ask a librarian for help, and there is also a lot of trivia about literature and A LOT of book-title name-dropping, which would have thrilled me as a little girl and would have made me take out a little pencil and mini-notebook to write down each and every title so i could read those books as well. nerd alert!

speaking of nerd alert - in this book, i am totally sierra. more excited to be in a building full of books than playing/winning a contest?? curled up reading while everyone else is running around playing games?? yeah, that sounds familiar. i spent a lot of my summer camp days curled up reading under the piano while everyone else just went nuts making stuff with pipe cleaners and singing along with the radio.

but while it does have its flaws, it is still super-super fun, and any book that makes the library sound like THE place to be is okay by me. plus there are many examples of how not to be a jerk, which can get a little cloying and unrealistic at times, but are probably useful because the world already has enough jerks. plus: BOOKS!! PUZZLES!! LOCK-INS!!

fun times one million.

oh, and this is the author's note:

Is the game really over?
Maybe not.
There is one more puzzle in the book that wasn't in the story. (Although a clue about how to find it was!)
If you figure out the solution, let me know.

and then he gives his email address.

and so now i have to read it again, because i wanna solve this hidden puzzle!

very smart, indeed, grabenstein…very. smart. indeed.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Marjorie Ingall.
Author 6 books123 followers
May 30, 2016

It gets one star because it has the word LIBRARY in the title. I like libraries.

But Chris Grabenstein does not. At least, he doesn't like libraries qua libraries. His version of an ideal library is like being floo-powdered into World of Warcraft then spiked with Disneyland and dosed with Ritalin. The book talks the talk about the awesomeness of libraries but then shows-don't-tells that libraries need to be TV.

The characters are pancake-flat. The dialogue is crawl-under-the-rug lame. I was a mature enough parent that I did not suggest a drinking game involving doing a shot every time Miguel Fernandez said "bro," BUT I THOUGHT IT. The whole enterprise just seemed so CYNICAL, a naked ploy to sell books to librarians by sucking up to them while actually pulling the beeping/flashing/green-screened wool over their eyes. It depressed me. It name-dropped a zillion book titles without ever conveying the transformative joy of simply READING.

We read this at bedtime -- my 12-year-old and I hate-bonded about how bad it was while my 9-year-old was utterly transfixed, so take that as you will. Also, the 12-year-old (and I) figured out really early in the book what the means of escape was going to be so having to WAIT FOR IT was maddening.


ADDENDUM, THREE YEARS LATER: I regret being so bitchy about this book. I loathed it, true, but lemme repeat the part about "my nine-year-old was utterly transfixed," which, jeez, should have been my takeaway. IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT ME; GROW UP, ME. Maxie went on to give this book to her friends for their birthdays, and ALL OF THEM loved it. So, uh, give it to your 9-year-old independent reader and DON'T READ IT ALOUD AT BEDTIME, problem solved.
Profile Image for Brina.
902 reviews4 followers
February 7, 2016
Lately I have been on an easy reading kick. I think I get this way every late winter. That being said, my kids had this book from the library for a reread and told me it is a great book and I should read it. I give this 4.5 stars because it is a great kids book, but to paraphrase my daughter, nothing is as good as Harry Potter.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a fun book for middle grade kids. The town of Alexandriaville, Ohio has not had a public library in 12 years, and millionaire toy maker Luigi Lemoncello has sponsored a new, state of the art library. For a grand opening he has invited 12 twelve year olds to spend the night and then take part in a survivor type game to escape from the library. The winner will get to star in his tv commercials.
Our protagonist is Kyle Keeley the younger brother to overachieving Curtis and sports star Mike. Lost in their limelight, Kyle finally has his turn to shine as he takes part in the library escape. As he forms an alliance with his friends, Kyle works to solve Lemoncello's clues in order to win the game.
I admit I was not a Willy Wonka fan as a kid so I can't compare the two books. Being the book worm that I am, I enjoyed the state of the art library, the references to classic and contemporary kids books, and the Dewey decimal system. I also thought it was refreshing to see kids working together positively.
I would recommend this book to older elementary aged kids, even those who don't read much. It is a fun read and will hopefully encourage kids to read more than they had been before reading this book.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,144 reviews113 followers
January 12, 2014
This is a messy, loud book crammed full of one-note characters, dizzying book references, and an illogical plot. There is no nuance, no suspense, and no character growth. This is the story of a puzzle, not the story of the people solving it - much to the book's detriment. The Westing Game would be a better choice; in fact, it's entirely possible that book was name-dropped in this one. There were so many awkward book references shoehorned into the story that I honestly couldn't keep track.

And I'm confused as to why a library would need a director of holographic imagery. Just buy more books.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,827 reviews2,186 followers
October 23, 2018

This gets 5 stars because I couldn't put it down and wanted to cancel plans with friends just to finish it.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library is the modern day Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, just without creepy oompa loompa's and it takes place in an awesome library. Twelve kids are selected to stay overnight in a library, but little do they know they are being entered into a game to see who can find a way out! Winner gets prizes galore.

Like I said, I really loved this one because I was sucked in right away. I think this is one of those rare books reluctant readers would enjoy and get them into reading. The clues and library and book knowledge made this so much fun to read. I need to get more books by this author from the library!

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Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,587 reviews522 followers
October 25, 2019
I cannot understand all the 4 star reviews and the NY Times best seller status of this book. Then again, most of what I find on the children's best seller list lately is mediocre junk!

This is yet another rip-off of Roald Dahl's immortal Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, complete with an eccentric inventor and a contest, only this time with a superduper library instead of a factory.

Here there is one "bad" kid, plus a few others who have their faults, and while they don't meet heinous fates, they all lose. The winners, of course, are the "good" kids, plus one who could go either way, but proves to be a "good" kid in the end. Luigi Lemoncello is no match for Willy Wonka, and the endless, ENDLESS insertion of book titles or references is as irritating as product placement in a movie.

And yes, there is a "Wonka" reference, but to add insult to injury it's to the movie--and probably to the crappy remake with Johnny Depp!

Utterly, utterly, predictable. Is it the libary/reading theme that is making all the librarians and educators kvell?

P.S. The technological references will help this book go stale in no time flat.

P.P.S. Want a great book that does have a Wonka vibe in that it is about kids and a candy factory contest, and isn't as funny as a Dahl book, but is a lot deeper? Try Wendy Mass's fabulous The Candymakers
Profile Image for Kate.
533 reviews35 followers
August 20, 2013
You know, I think Grabenstein missed an opportunity to have a great book instead of just a good one. The puzzles and mysteries were fantastically well-placed and a lot of fun to try to solve alongside Kyle and his friends, and I liked the positive teamwork message the book had to send. As a librarian, I absolutely adored the positive library portrayal, the fact that it was a place that was fun and exciting and the clever way the Dewey Decimal system was used in the book.

But to an extent, it seemed like that was where Grabenstein stopped trying - with creating the puzzles and mysteries the children had to solve and with incorporating the library aspects. He stopped short of fleshing out the characters much, or giving them any time to do anything other than solve the puzzles or (in the adults' case) hand out clues. This was enjoyable, but I found myself disappointed and wishing that Kyle and his friends had been given the careful treatment that the excellent plot indicated that they deserved.
Profile Image for Bennett.
231 reviews4 followers
July 12, 2016
Grade rating: 67% D

A super huge library is any book lover's dream! But this or comes with a catch...

I didn't really like this one.

The author was annoying, first of all. He was trying to make his characters seem like the kids of today. When Charles said "I'll Twitter it", my spine shuddered is disgust. Also, the author kept making references to books. New books, not just the classics. I don't think references to recent literature should never happen, but I feel it's out of place. That got annoying real quick.

Second, it was so predictable. Kyle's team won, blah blah blah. The book needed more twists. Wouldn't it be better if Haley revealed at the end that she joined Kyle's team just to get the answers and win, because her want of being a commercial star consumed her? That would have been amazing. Also, the narrator should have focused on each character equally, and there shouldn't have been teams, so you didn't know who would win.

At the beginning, Sierra was my kind of character. Shy, bookish, and quiet. Then she joined a team and that all went away. She became someone she wasn't. No. That's not right. I was positive she would win because she was the underdog. Also, Charles's elimination was meaningless. If he broke a rule a long time ago in the game, why did they take him out of the game just then? Unbelievable. He should have been there until the end, then Kyle's team would pull ahead and Charles would lose.

In the end, an odd little story with annoyances everywhere and un-needed references. There were plenty of other book I would have rather been reading.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,879 reviews473 followers
February 7, 2019
What a wonderful, imaginative, and creative story! This book totally reminded me why I still love to read children's books!

After several years without a city library, a new wonderous library has been built by an ecentric, quirky billionaire...Mr. Lemoncello. Kyle and his school friends are familiar with Mr. Lemoncello as his company has made many of their favorite boardgames, including Mr. Lemoncello's Indoor Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. At school, they write essays for a contest -- the winners get to see the new library before anybody else. It's the adventure of a lifetime!

For me, this story was reminiscent of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with a library theme instead of a candy factory. The characters are fun and quirky....and there's lots of book references and library goodness. Fun story!

I was delighted to find out that there is a television movie version, streamable on Hulu. I'm going to watch it as soon as I post this review. :) Following my rule: Always read the book first! I'm not quite sure how they are going to capture the magic of this story in only 69 minutes though.....the movie must cut out a lot. I hope I'm not disappointed.

I listened to the audio book version of this story. The audio is almost 6.5 hours long and narrated by Jesse Bernstein. Bernstein reads at a nice pace and does a great job bringing the characters to life. Excellent performance!

There are 3 other books in the Lemoncello series so far. Chris Grabenstein has written several books for middle grade kids. I'm definitely going to be reading more! Loved this story!
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,971 reviews2,041 followers
July 24, 2018
EXCERPT: So Kyle had gone down to the basement and dug up one of his all-time favorites: Mr Lemoncello's Indoor Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. It had been a huge hit for Mr Lemoncello, the master game maker. Kyle and his brothers had played it so much when they were younger, Mrs Keeley wrote to Mr Lemoncello's company for a refresher pack of clue cards. The new cards listed all kinds of different bizarre stuff you needed to find, like 'an adults droopy underpants', 'one dirty dish' and 'a rotten banana peel'.

(At the end of the game, the losers have to put everything back exactly where the items had been found. It was an official rule, printed inside the top of the box, and made winning the game that much more important!)

ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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.

MY THOUGHTS: School holiday time here in New Zealand, and traditionally the time for my grandson and I to do our buddy read. You may remember that last year we read our way through the Harry Potter series. Our time was curtailed somewhat these holidays as he spent the first week in the South Island skiing. But last week we read two books together, and this was the first of them, and his pick.

This was a fun read which teaches lessons about the perils of cheating, the advantages of learning to work as part of a team, and how to think outside the box (or the most obvious answer is not always the correct one).

Honestly, neither of us could see what was wrong with being locked in a library, particularly since this library has a café, and we would have been quite happy to have stayed there. But this book was not about us.

We did enjoy trying to solve the puzzles, though we (or more specifically I) weren't all that successful.

My grandson thought that this ultra modern library would be wonderful. Me? I have fond memories of the library of my childhood (now sadly demolished), a grand old wooden building with coke fuelled fires that I would curl up in front of and read for hours. And wonderful librarians, one of whom is still alive and whom I visit whenever I can.

Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library fuelled a lot of discussion between us. My grandson now knows a lot more about my life as a child, and the books I read. He has some new titles to read, as do I. And while he has already read the other books in this series, I haven't, but am keen to do so.


THE AUTHOR: CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling. His books include the LEMONCELLO LIBRARY series, the WONDERLAND series, and many fun and funny page-turners co-authored with James Patterson. You can visit Chris at ChrisGrabenstein.com.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, narrated by Jesse Bernstein and published by Listening Library via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Kristine.
535 reviews26 followers
July 19, 2013
Whenever I see a book about a library, I tend to order it for the collection at my library. This was one of the best things to come from this whim! Perfect for both the reluctant reader and avid bibliophile, Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library had me hooked even as an adult.

Twelve 12-year-olds are selected for an overnight experience at their new public library. Little do they know, this is actually a set-up for the time of their lives. When the overnight is over, they find themselves locked-in. Their only hope is to figure out the clues and piece together the puzzles in order to win the ultimate prize.

Kyle was a great character. Realistically flawed yet a good role model for readers. The peripheral characters were also charmingly well-developed and really added to the story. Plus, where to even start on the setting? It was spectacularly fantastical, mixing just enough eccentricity in with reality to make it extraordinarily possible. I only hope kids aren't disappointed when their own libraries aren't quite as amazing (which is a mostly sarcastic observation).

I loved the seamless way learning was woven into the story. There is so much to discover about Dewey classification, the help librarians offer, and the fun that reading can be. Grabenstein's description of the kids getting caught up reading about Sherlock was almost tangible. This is children's literature, but it's not lazy in the least. Yet it's also completely accessible. It was fast-paced and had a good flow to it.

As others have mentioned, it reminded me of a cross between The Westing Game and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, I think I enjoyed this one more as it didn't have the pretentious, dark edge those two presented (more so the latter). This was just a fun jaunt through the library with a good heart, great lessons, and fun for all!
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,632 followers
December 20, 2015
A very fun book, especially for bookworms. I loved hearing about the library, and the games and puzzles were very clever. I really loved that there were lists of the books mentioned at the back!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,814 reviews32.4k followers
May 9, 2023
3.5 stars

This one was fun, but it took me a bit to get into it. There was a lot going on, and overall I liked the premise. I don't think that I'm the right reader for this book, but I love that this is a book that I feel would be great for middle grade girls or boys to read. So many I read feel like they're more for girls.
Audio book source: Libby
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrators: Jesse Bernstein
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Middle Grade
Length:6h 20m

Profile Image for jv poore.
612 reviews204 followers
June 4, 2015
Update: Just received the Summer Reading List for Rising 5th Graders to give the students a "head-start" on their Passport to Reading Program. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was one of the six books listed. I know that the other students will enjoy this as much as Boy did!

This book was read and reviewed by The Boy, a 4th grader.

"It was really exciting.....like a roller-coaster. I wanted to read the whole book at once, all the way through. I did not want it to end!"

My thoughts? Well done, Mr. Grabenstein. Boy is very excited about Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics!
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,860 reviews112 followers
September 8, 2017
First off are Patrick Carman and Chris Grabenstein secretly the same person?

Are they twins?

Their books felt so similar and not just because they were very poorly done Willy Wonka knockoffs. Both Floors and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library have shallow cardboard characters that spout out terribly unrealistic dialogue. Their plots are boring and consist of very little story beyond having a setting filled with over the top technology. They both strive to be witty and whimsical, and both fail, miserably.

This book is an abomination, I am having a hard time accepting the average rating on this book, I am in disbelief as I look at all the 5 star ratings!

The plot of this book is so stupid. A bunch of kids get to spend the night in a crazy library and are then abandoned by all the adults, locked in for the entire weekend, and watched from security cameras. But guess what! If they can escape from the library they will be in a bunch of commercials, um okay? There is absolutely no risk and not much of a reward. Plus the game seems completely rigged, the team of 'bad kids' seem unfairly punished and the 'good kids' get bonus clues for absolutely no reason. Gee I wonder what the outcome of this extremely uninteresting scenario with be....?

What really makes this book awful is the LARGE cast of nothing characters.

Lemoncello Ugh! This guy is the worst, so incredibly annoying. Here we have an eccentric bazillionaire who decides to spend 500 million on a library for his hometown. He is so wacky, he wears rubber chicken shoes that squeak out POP GOES THE WEASLEY, wow what a wild and crazy guy. He uses tons of out of place literary references and sounds like an after school special most of the time.

Kyle He's our main character and the person we should be rooting for, except I'm not sure why? He has two younger brothers and enjoys playing board games and watching re-runs of Miami Vice, why? Because it is convenient for the plot, duh! Oh and even though this is a library competition, Kyle never reads, that's why he aligns himself with Sierra.

Sierra She likes to read. Apparently she knows everything, literally. Our characters never even have to GOOGLE, they have this convenient plot device who can speed up the process. Never mind that she is 12 years old. For example, one character wonders what event happened on Feb. 20, 1915 and Sierra literally responds immediately oh that was was the day the The Panama–Pacific International Exposition opened in San Francisco, California. Sorry I'm a big fan of World Fairs I actually had to laugh out loud it is so ridiculous. Even Hermione had to look stuff up in the library!

Charles He's the bad kid. He's bad because he's rich and wants to win the game. Wow what a jerk!

Haley She is the one character that I actually thought deserved to win, but the reader is apparently supposed to hate her, at least at the start. I guess we are supposed to see her as a spoiled brat, even though she isn't. In fact she is actually going through a pretty hard time since her dad lost his job and her mother has been reduced to stealing food, she could have been the most interesting character but she is a girl who just wants attention, ugh! Girls are the worst when they try to be pretty and stuff.

Then there are a whole bunch of other characters that are just as forgettable and stale.

If you are going to market your book as a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory read-a-like and even reference the original in your story you are setting yourself up for comparison. Unfortunately, there is no comparison, Roald Dahl was a genius. he understood how to write for children. He understood that children like to be scared but they don't like to be talked down to.

Being inspired is one thing but you have to take the concept and make it your own, make it fresh, at the very least you have to make it interesting. This book was devoid of danger. There was no suspense, nothing was at risk. With Wonka you are wondering is this guy insane? Is this factory dangerous? What is happening to these children that are disappearing? With this knock off every problem is solved immediately. There is no moral to the story and the child reading at home has learned nothing substantial except for the occasional bit of trivia.

And the ending.... Thanks for wasting my time!

Profile Image for Chelsea.
399 reviews27 followers
July 28, 2014
A fun, entertaining read. Unfortunately, some people might decide not to bother with reading this book since it seems too reminiscent of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." But before you make any hasty decisions, I'm glad to inform you Chris Grabenstein readily addresses the similarities and in quite an amusing manner. There were multiple references to books scattered throughout, which I found quite delightful. How could you not enjoy a book that's meant to teach children the wonderful joys and hidden treasures contained within a public library?

Technology was woven throughout this book, but it was done in such a manner that showed how it can be used for good and not bad. I guess sometimes technology is considered so much more exciting than books it makes me worry what the future may hold. I wonder if one day kids will forgo books entirely for video games. Luckily, this book gave me the hope to think otherwise. I really enjoyed seeing Kyle's interest in reading flourish. It didn't take him too long to realize books are just as good as "watching a 3-D IMAX movie in his head."

I thought some of the trivia and questions might be pretty hard for 12 year olds, especially considering most kids nowadays don't even know the slightest thing about "Hawaii Five-O" or Agatha Christie. Shoot, some of the questions were hard for me! I could be wrong though ;p.

There were a lot of good messages scattered throughout this book as well. I won't spoil them for you, but I was glad to see there were repercussions and rewards for the children's behavior. The riddles were truly enjoyable and I found myself scrambling to figure them out as well.

If you love books, then "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" is a definite must read!

P.S. - There's even an unsolved mystery mentioned at the end of the book! I'm working on figuring it out, but it's certainly a bit of a challenge.
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews442 followers
August 22, 2020
Star Rating: —> 4 Stars

I was feeling the need for a simple, fun, library based MG read, and I got what I came for & more! Loved this!
Profile Image for tiffany.
273 reviews91 followers
November 8, 2022
this book was a fun, easy story to read. everything was really detailed and intricate and the riddles were complex and difficult. there was always something going on that helped progress the plot.
Profile Image for Kristina.
272 reviews28 followers
July 27, 2022
This light, exciting adventure is a perfect summer-reading book for all ages! The puzzles are original and the characters are as well. There’s a bounty of literary references and historic book-lore. It would be amazing to explore a library with even one magical feature present in Mr. Lemoncello’s extraordinary menagerie!!
Profile Image for Anna.
568 reviews102 followers
February 22, 2016
Για όσους λατρεύουν τα βιβλία, δεν υπάρχει μεγαλύτερη χαρά από ένα χώρο γεμάτο βιβλία. Αυτός ο χώρος θα μπορούσε να είναι είτε ένα βιβλιοπωλείο είτε μια βιβλιοθήκη. Επίσης, αν είστε τόσο nerd όσο εγώ, δεν υπάρχει καλύτερος συνδυασμός από βιβλία, παιχνίδια και γρίφους, όλα μέσα σε ένα περιβάλλον "παιδικής χαράς"και υψηλής τεχνολογίας.

Μην περιμένετε μεγάλες περιπέτειες και κακούς που καταδιώκουν τα παιδιά, το βιβλίο αφορά μια χαλαρή απολαυστική περιπέτεια μέσα στη βιβλιοθήκη, με απόλυτη ασφάλεια. Φανταστείτε μια περιπέτεια του Ρόαλντ Νταλ, αλλά με βιβλία!!!!!!
Profile Image for Nhi Nguyễn.
964 reviews1,239 followers
December 18, 2018
Hay tuyệt cú mèo!!! Trời ơi mấy kiểu giải đố để tìm được lối ra này kia là mình khoái lắm (kiểu người thích mấy trò thử thách cần dùng tới não và suy luận :D) nên là đọc cuốn này như cá gặp nước :D Đã vậy ngài Lemoncello còn thòng thêm câu này nữa:

"Cứ hình dung là trò chơi này giống như phim Đấu trường Sinh tử nhưng thay vì phải bắn cung, lũ trẻ sẽ được ăn uống ngập bụng."

Ha ha ha, chỗ nào có ăn là mình chui vô à :)))) (người 24 tuổi rồi vẫn còn ham ăn đấy các bạn ạ =)))))) Trời ơi muốn cái thư viện này có thật, muốn được tham gia giải đố cùng tụi nhỏ quá ư ư ư!!! (mặc dù đầu óc tư duy này kia thì chẳng bằng ai :D).

Vì cuốn này là bản dịch, mấy câu đố, dữ kiện và cả lời giải đố đều phải được Việt hóa cho phù hợp với ngôn ngữ của cuốn sách, nên chắc chắn là sự tinh quái của những câu đố ở bản gốc đã mất đi ít nhiều. Nhưng mà không sao (vì thật ra mình cũng chả hiểu lắm lời giải của mấy câu đố ấy vận hành như thế nào :D), bởi vì theo cảm nhận của mình, cốt lõi cái hay của cuốn sách này không chỉ nằm ở những câu đố, mà còn nằm ở cái cách tác giả Chris Grabenstein xây dựng bầu không khí thi đua đầy hồi hộp giữa hai nhóm thí sinh: một nhóm của Kyle Keeley (nhóm những đứa trẻ đáng yêu dễ thương thông minh tốt bụng) và nhóm của Charles Chilltington (cái thằng này thì đáng ghét mất dạy kiêu căng tự phụ khỏi nói!).

Nhịp điệu và diễn tiến câu chuyện vô cùng nhanh và căng thẳng, kiểu cỡ mình mà còn thấy căng, thấy hồi hộp thì huống hồ gì tụi nhỏ 12 tuổi ^^ (vậy mà mấy em vẫn giải đố như đúng rồi, thế mới ghê :D). Đặc biệt mình cực kỳ thích cái cách tác giả khiến mình càng ngày càng yêu mến nhóm của Kyle và ủng hộ các em giành chiến thắng, dõi theo sát sao từng bước đường suy luận và hành động của các em để tới cái đích cuối cùng, giữa cảnh thằng Charles Chiltington thích dùng mấy trò chơi bẩn và đâm sau lưng đối thủ để giành lợi thế (chùi ui đọc mà đâm ghét thằng nhóc này khủng khiếp luôn ý!). Giống như thể mình thực sự đang theo dõi một cuộc chạy đua, thi đấu đích thực ngoài đời, tay cứ lần giở sách liên hồi mặc dù hai mắt đã muốn díp lại :D

Cực thích cô bé Sierra Russell, kiểu người thông minh bác học theo hướng mọt sách, nhưng ra đời thì hơi bị thơ ngây trước mấy trò chơi xấu của kẻ gian (giống như mình ^^). Còn cái thư viện của ngài Lemoncello cùng những thiết bị, hiệu ứng góp phần vào cuộc thi thì ôi thôi, đọc thích phải biết ^^ Cuối sách tác giả có tiết lộ một câu đố bí ẩn được cài cắm vào câu chuyện, độc giả nào đọc xong mà biết lời giải thì email cho tác giả để lượm quà. Nhưng quá đáng tiếc, mình thêm chí còn chả nhận ra có câu đố dành cho độc giả được cài trong câu chuyện nữa, lên mạng kiếm thì cũng có khối người giải ra rồi ý (có cả mấy em nhỏ cỡ tuổi mấy nhân vật hoặc nhỏ hơn nữa ^^), nhưng tuyệt nhiên chả ai tiết lộ điều gì, nên là thôi đi ha :)) Phận này ngu muội nên đành cúi đầu trước tác giả :D

P.S.: Cuốn này đã được dựng thành TV movie trên kênh Nickelodeon rồi đấy ạ. Trailer đây nha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1nOp...

Trông có vẻ không được giống sách lắm, đặc biệt là cái vụ first puzzle (méo nhớ trong sách có cái này...): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uagpL...

Nhưng mà thôi kệ, để xem thử xem thế nào ^^

Với lại bản dịch của NXb Trẻ có chỗ này hoàn toàn sai: tên cuốn sách The Westing Game của Ellen Raskin bị dịch thành "Vui với những trò chơi miền Viễn Tây". Mình đọc mà thấy ngứa ngứa, vì chữ "Westing" trong tựa đề cuốn sách là tên riêng, tên của Samuel Westing, người tổ chức ra trò chơi trong câu chuyện, chứ chẳng phải miền Viễn Tây Viễn Đông gì cả... Nếu dịch đúng ra phải là "Trò chơi của ngài Westing" hoặc đại loại vậy. Trước khi dịch sách không biết dịch giả Trần Hạo Triết có đọc qua tóm tắt của những cuốn sách được đề cập đến trong tác phẩm này không nữa... Mấy cuốn kia mình không biết rõ nên không có nhận xét gì, chỉ riêng cuốn "The Westing Game" này mình đã đọc qua và biết cốt truyện của nó là như thế nào nên cảm thấy cần phải lên tiếng.
Profile Image for Heidi.
2,648 reviews53 followers
November 4, 2013
Mr. Lemoncello has the coolest library on the face of the planet! Sigh. Too bad it isn't a real place. Kyle and his friends win a chance to be the first to experience the new library and play some fun games. Mr. Lemoncello is, after all, a game creating genius. But the overnighter takes an unexpected turn when the door won't open in the morning and a new game is introduced. The game requires those who participate to find an alternative exit to the library, but they only have 24 hours to do it. Kyle and his friends must decide how to approach the game using only the resources in the library and each other. But will they work together and share the prize or alone?

Strengths: I loved the library in this book, it sounds absolutely awesome, with lots of bells and whistles as well as the books themselves. Kyle is a fun, nice kid who tries to do the right thing even when it is disadvantageous. The puzzles are fabulous and I enjoyed them a great deal. The references to literature are great as well. While a lot of kids might not recognize some of the book references the book is till very enjoyable and they should get at least a few of them. Loved this one!

Weaknesses: Didn't see many, except maybe the references to adult literature, but the book can be enjoyed even without knowing all the books that are referred to.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,890 reviews1,920 followers
November 1, 2016
Rating: 3.75* of five, rounded up because DAMN!

Want to know something? I read this book *after* its sequel! Want to know something else? I hate reading Young Readers books! And guess what? No, you guess, c'mon! C'mon, please? Oh okay: I did NOT hate reading this book OR its sequel!

I know, right?

Chris Grabenstein writes for middle-graders like a middle-grader would, and I mean that as a compliment. He gets right into the mindset of a young person in a way that I don't see a lot of adult writers doing. He anticipates the questions a younger reader is most likely going to ask and, before they can even be posed consciously, leads the reader to the answer while making it seem they've gotten ahead of the author. That's quality writing for any age, let alone the finicky and detail-oriented 9-to-12 market.
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 20 books501 followers
February 1, 2018
I’m a fan of Willy Wonka. I’m also a fan of The Westing Game, Night in the Museum, National Treasure, and the first Brixton Brothers book. This book had elements of all of these and ended up being pretty fun. :D

Okay, libraries are pretty cool to start with, but I’m not sure any can compare to this one. There’s a hoverboard for checking out books on higher shelves, holographic statues, and huge screens on the ceiling to represent the Dewey decimal system. And much more. At first, especially during the construction scenes, I had trouble picturing the library since it is pretty bizarre, but after awhile I was able to build a picture in my head. ;)

The games were very fun and clever, though not too hard that a middle-grade reader couldn’t enjoy trying to solve them along with the characters. There were a ton of literary references too. :D :D Mr. Lemoncello talks almost entirely in book titles, and reading a couple Sherlock Holmes’ short stories helped the characters figure out a clue. (A+ for that!) Mrs. Tobin is the classic librarian.

I really liked the concept of learning to appreciate and use all the tools a library has to offer. (I think we miss what a goldmine they are sometimes.) I feel like I should learn the Dewey decimal system now. XD The characters were pretty cool, and Kyle was a great protagonist. My favorite part though was how compassion, teamwork, and determination were what in the end won the game. (Thanks to some bonus clues. :D)

Just a note, there are a few instances of mean children and a couple slang words.

Best quote: “Congratulations, Rose!” cried Mr. Lemoncello, who had put on a pointy party hat. “For sticking to your prior commitments, you will receive our special Prior Commitment Sticker prize: a complete set of Lemoncello Sticker Picture Games and a laptop computer to play them on! Enjoy.”

Altogether, this book kept me amused and guessing. ;)
Profile Image for Jody McGrath.
352 reviews52 followers
July 12, 2017
A fun book for adults and children. The only problem was the puzzles in the game were impossible to solve along with the kids. That was kind of a bummer. Still I throughly enjoyed it. It was a less creepy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Profile Image for Susan.
596 reviews78 followers
June 27, 2013
+ 1/2 star just because it's hard to feel too snarky about a book that so unabashedly oozes such love for libraries and games.

I think this is the book that my 8-12 year-old self had always hoped for--if I could have written a book then it would be something like the world in this book. Some of my favorite books back then incorporated quirkiness and puzzles and word play. I loved the Westing Game and The Phantom Tollbooth and I wanted to love this book--because how could you not love the idea of a group of kids locked in at a library overnight, competing in this epic challenge competition where they get to live out a board game?

The thing is though, with Raskin, and Dahl, and Konigsburg is there was always sort of an underlying edge somewhere-some poignancy, or a little darkness, or a wry little twist. Heck, Dahl could be pretty freaking disturbing when he wanted to be. There's a reason Johnny Depp was a little off-putting as Willy Wonka, and also a reason that Gene Wilder immortalized the role. He perfected that weirdly fine line between giddiness and cynicism by balancing his own good natured affability and sweetness with the Willy Wonka bite. In contrast, Mr. Lemoncello (and his book) are basically Gene Wilder sans bite. The game guru is basically just an overgrown kid in a candy store-or in this case--a library. Grabenstein was clearly inspired by these other books and authors and references abound, but without the nuance of the shading, all the enthusiasm and giddiness starts to feel a little contrived after awhile. Rather than have the book work so hard to sell the fact that reading is fun and libraries are wondrous places, I think it would make it even better if the game and personalities of the characters could be given a little more detail and distinction.

Fans of the Candy Shop Wars could give this a try.
Profile Image for Heather.
1,911 reviews43 followers
June 14, 2013
Review of an advance copy:

I'm breaking a 5-month Goodreads hiatus to post my review of this excellent book. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy and the kids at my library will be able to read the final version in only 11 days. I can't wait to hear their reactions! :)

So, for starters, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is brilliant. It has all the wonder, imagination, and wackiness of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory or Merganzer Whippet's hotel (Patrick Carman's Floors), and yet it takes place in a library. As the 12 competitors try to solve the puzzle, they (and the reader) are confronted with some very clever codes, clues, and rebuses. The hunt takes them all over the library, so they learn about authors, books, and Dewey Decimal Classification. At the same time, though, the information is so well-placed that readers won't even realize they are learning. Like Kyle, though, they may have a list of books they'd like to look at once they finish this one!

The book emphasizes teamwork, loyalty, fair play, reading, libraries, puzzles, and problem-solving. It is very fast-paced, as the competition takes place over a 24-hour period, and I can't picture any kid finding it unexciting. It is also quite amusing. I particularly enjoyed the fabulous puns using book titles that our wacky game maker, Mr. Lemoncello, comes up with.

I would recommend Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library to fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Floors, The Westing Game, and fans of mystery and adventure in general. Frankly, I would recommend it to any kid. It fits in any public, school, or home library. It would be great fun for family or classroom reading as well as individual reading. It's a perfect book to take to the beach or on a summer road trip, too.

Kids who read this book will wish they could visit Alexandriaville's new public library. I sure did! And librarians should be prepared for fans of life-size games (life-size chess, Clue, etc.) to request to play a version of Mr. Lemoncello's game. I'm already trying to figure out how we could make this ultimate scavenger hunt/clue search/adventure work at my library.
March 16, 2016
I relish creativity, the bravery to make-up possibilities! I am amazed at how much fun this novel is; a writer appreciative of exciting stories. Dialogue sped naturally. We needn’t care about phrases being au-courant. I never compare literature to berate it. There is no ownership on a whacky adventure. I would cherish this kind of extravaganza! I love “Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” on its own merits, which are numerous. I venture to describe this story as: a younger, non-sullen “The Breakfast Club” and an urban, non-dangerous “The Goonies”!

Our protagonist is youngest of three brothers: good at video and board games but no match for them elsewhere. Readers root for Kyle to shine and he is honoured to discover that his brothers always considered him a team mate. We have a brainy reader who becomes admired by a new gaggle of friends and a girl whose family needed money but who felt good about putting friends first. “The Breakfast Club” bonding refers to peers who had not been buddies before; seeing schoolmates in a new light. “The Goonies” flavour of course, is this once-in-a-lifetime quest: each child using their talent and knowledge to solve clue after clue, culminating in a triumphant end-game.

Being able to speak to a departed, beloved librarian was touching. I was especially moved by the way Kyle’s heart leaped, because he could treat his whole family to a gift card! It’s wonderful seeing bookworm Sierra’s knowledge blossom into friendships and Kyle beginning to read. Imagine the wonderment of having free reign of a place, to brainstorm clues with friends and solve a highly-rewarding quest! It pays off, that Chris Grabenstein let himself carry zany ideas and Mr. Lemoncello’s personality, all the way! This cache of puzzles motivates us to think and to seek possibilities everywhere.
Profile Image for Julie  Durnell.
1,011 reviews97 followers
April 9, 2017
A very fun read especially for middle school ages! I really enjoyed the many book references and "quotes" hidden between the lines! This would make a fantastic movie!
Profile Image for Eileen.
1,936 reviews74 followers
December 31, 2019
4.5 stars

Yeah, I wasn't sure if I would like this as much as I did, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. Chris Grabenstein is excellent as the narrator of his own book, although I sort of expected that as he has voiced other things I've listened to. I previously listened to his Riley Mack Audible book and greatly enjoyed that so I figured I would like this as well. But when you're inspired by Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it can either be terrible or it can work out quite well as a nod to that book. In this case, I think it worked very well. The general premise is that 12 students from Kyle Keeley's class (including two of his best friends) end up earning a chance to attend a lock-in at the brand new library, the brainchild of Mr. Lemoncello, who was an immigrant inspired by his own childhood library to love books and make something of himself using his love of knowledge. They compete in games that result in the great "escape". Several of the competitors were clearly inspired by CCF, but there are other unique characters as well. I loved all the literary references, and I particularly loved the reference to The Eleventh Hour because I had never heard of the book before last week when an old friend introduced me to it. So the story was fresh on my mind as they talked about it in this book. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this to anyone over 4th grader, but especially those that like adventure and puzzles. I was a bit concerned that I would have trouble understanding/visualizing the puzzles in this book because I listened to the audiobook, but I did not find that to be the case at all. After this, I definitely want to check out other additions to this series.
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