by Chris Grabenstein
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Twelve-year-old Kyle Keeley and his classmates have grown up in a town without a library. That’s why, when his town’s native son, the world-famous board game creator Luigi Lemoncello, returns home to build a new library, he kicks it off with – what else? – a game to reward those twelve-year-olds who can successfully “use what they find in the library to escape.” Kyle and his friends must collect clues and solve the puzzles to win the grand prize. Though it is full of futuristic elements like a hoverboard to reach the upper balconies of books, smellovision, and lifelike hologram tigers, this story is very rooted in a particular moment in time. Despite being set in an alternate reality where Mr. Lemoncello rules the game world, Grabenstein for some reason decided to include actual video games and technology (like Playstation 3), which may make the story lose a classic feel over time. It’s also a smudge didactic on the “teaching the Dewey Decimal System” side, but overall kids will probably pick up a lot (and incidentally, it sounds like an incredible library!). On the plus side, the book features challenging puzzles, teamwork, and the jerk/bully getting his comeuppance (er – spoiler alert). Totally delightful and satisfying for any fan of games and puzzles, even grownups!