Posted by Venus on Friday, February 7, 2014
Labels: intermediate book review
Mr. Lemoncello is famous for his games. Form board games to video games and everything in between, there isn't a kid alive who hasn't played his games. Especially Kyle Keeley. So when Mr. Lemoncello opens a library and invites twelve lucky 7th graders to a lock-in as a grand opening, Kyle, although a bit slow to enter the contest, knows he has to be there. Once inside though, it isn't as easy to get out. 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.
This story was a cross between Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but peppered throughout with tons of children's literary references. The idea is really simple, the library can be an important and holds all the information you could possibly need, Librarians can open your entire world, and the point of a good game is to have fun, not win.
Yet, despite these rather didactic nature of the book, it was a rather fun read with good pacing and a really good guy in the character of Kyle Keeley. In fact, this is one of the better characters I have read in a while. A kid who just loves to play games and treats others with respect and is willing to lose in order to help others. There is of course the antagonistic-Veruca-Salt-like character who never really got his moment of redemption, but then there are some people who never figure out how to play fair so i will chalk that one up to realistic.
A fun read for middle grade readers, but especially for the ones who are already bibliophiles or mystery solvers.