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

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Genre: Childrens, mystery
Series: Mr. Lemoncello’s Library #1
Goodreads rating: 4.07
My rating: ★★★


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 (Goodreads).


I have to admit the cover drew me in (but that often happens with books I haven’t heard of before) and when I read the blurb it sounded like a fun light read, which I suppose it was. If I had been younger I would have absolutely loved this. A big library with puzzles and riddles to solve? Little Michelle would have eaten it up (not literally. I promise I’ve never eaten a book). Big Michelle would recommend it to a younger audience, not so much her own age group.

See the characters were just… meh. They barely had any personality and of course there’s the mean, spoiled, rich kid who never loses. You can guess what happened to him. Mr. Lemoncello himself felt really fake and like he was trying to hard to be excentric. Like he was trying to hard to be Willy Wonka, which he’s not. The only character I liked was Haley, because she had a little more depth in her than the others did. At first sight she seemed to be the popular, dense, mean girl, but there was more to her than meets the eye (which was pretty obvious from the get go, but still). There was also the girl who liked to read (I’ve already forgotten her name, and I finished the book last week. Wow, it had such an impact on me). I could relate to her and it was nice to see her open up, but still. I couldn’t really tell you anything about her than that she is smart and likes to read. Every character is flat, and that would be a bit more okay if the main character at least was round, but he wasn’t. He was just the typical protagonist of a children’s book. The leader, he who helps those in need of help, he who figures it out (though at least with help of the others)He was just so boring, but again, as a little kid I probably wouldn’t have thought so. I’m just too old for this book haha.

All in all it was a fun, quick read. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to teenagers, as there are so many amazing books out there to read that you should spend your time and money on! It’s a fun read for kids though, and who knows, it might get them interested in visiting the library and reading more.

– The Writing Hufflepuff


9 thoughts on “Review: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

  1. Awh man, that’s a real shame. I was reading the blurb like, YES, THIS IS EVERYTHING I LOVE. A library? Clues to solve? Gimmie!
    It’s sad when you read a book and know you would have loved it when you were younger because of the writing style. I’ve had that happen a few times, and you feel like you want to grab a time machine and give younger you a book rec. :)

  2. Absolutely! I read this a few years ago, when it first came out, and I had not broadened my horizons (as far as reading) wide enough to know the difference between good and bad writing. In other words, I loved the book! However, I’m definitely not planning on rereading because as you said, it’s a great book for kids but not so great for teenagers. ;-) wonderful review!

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