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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  22,541 Ratings  ·  3,795 Reviews
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Night in the Museum in this action-packed New York Times Bestseller from Chris Grabenstein, coauthor of I Funny, Treasure Hunters and other bestselling series with James Patterson!

Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most no
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2013)
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Chris I hope so. I tried to make it a fun and fast paced read.
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Amy Eydman
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 e
3.5 stars rounded up - Fun middle school fantasy story - that takes place in a library....

I picked this up over winter break for a change of pace and also because I am curious about reading the sequel, Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics which was released in 2016. As a book lover, a library setting sounds pretty exciting to me!

The story takes place in a fictional town in Ohio that hasn't had a public library in years. Renowned genius and gamemaker, Mr. Lemoncello, has constructed and donated a l
Lola  Reviewer
If you like your reads to be partially interactive, this one’s for you. The interaction is done on the reader’s part, so you can decide not to take part of the game and still enjoy the book, but by playing along with the characters, you become even more invested.

I honestly did not care to play the game along with the characters, because it slowed the pace at which I was reading, but in hindsight, I think I should have, because the rebus is an important element of the story.

Still, I found this t
Marjorie Ingall

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
Raeleen Lemay
This was a super fun read! I loved trying to solve all the puzzles and clues along with the characters, but aside from that I had a few problems with it. Of course, this book is written for 8-12 year olds, and the writing definitely reflected that. Because the plot was so fun, it was easy to ignore the inconsistencies in the characters, and their one-dimensional natures, but now that I'm finished I can see those issues clearly.

Overall, a very entertaining, easy read. I recommend it! Just don't g
Feb 03, 2016 Brina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, ohio
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
Jan 11, 2014 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
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
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 see
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 annoyin
The Library Lady
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
Jun 17, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit, own
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!
Callie Rose Tyler
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,
Feb 18, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 05, 2013 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 an ...more
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. K ...more
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 i
Richard Derus
Nov 01, 2016 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 d
Jun 25, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile
+ 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
Sep 14, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! To me, it was a love letter to libraries and books in general. As a librarian, I loved how Grabenstein showed how much fun finding information can be. I also appreciated that our protagonist Kyle was presented as a non-reader in the beginning, but evolved into a reader by the end after both talking to kids who liked to read and also picking up a book himself. Grabenstein also very cleverly and very subtly inserted a reading list for people who read this book. Several titles ar ...more
Mari Anne
Aug 21, 2013 Mari Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book!! What's not to love??? Basically a MG re-working of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" but with an eccentric game maker and set in a LIBRARY!!! Not just any library either, but a state of the art, amazing, magnificent library with holograms, digital ceilings, mag lev lifts to retrieve books shelved high in the air, a gaming room and food! I really, really, really want to go to Mr. Lemoncello's library! Peppered with fun puzzles, anagrams, rubrics and literally DOZENS of literat ...more
Julie  Durnell
Apr 09, 2017 Julie Durnell rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
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!
Mar 17, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery, puzzle book. It is full of puzzles and clues to the mystery. It also makes many references to modern books and websites as well as classic literature and it's authors.
This book is about a group of children who win an essay contest and, as a reward, are granted early access to the town's new library. This library was designed by the rather eccentric, famed, game creator, Mr. Luigi Lemoncello. When they arrive at the library, however, they are told that they ha
As many have said, this is for readers who loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Westing Game or Mixed Up Files. This book is overflowing with layered puzzles and literary references masquerading as Dad jokes.
The flat and throw away characters and the overtop pandering to library land had me as an adult who works in libraries bored. BUT it went over well with the the bookworms of my Tween Book Club. It was light and fun and they loved the idea of such a tricked out library. We had a fun co
Aug 27, 2016 Elly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow I got through this book quickly. It feels like I just picked it up. Anyway, it was like a weird mix of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Night at the Museum meets Ready Player One. My biggest issue with this book was that the group of twelve year olds were too freaking smart. For not having a library in their town they sure knew a hell of a lot about books and libraries. It was so unrealistic that it kept pulling me out of the story. Either way, it wasn't a bad book. I would recommend ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 23, 2016 Ivonne Rovira added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids 9 to 99
Recommended to Ivonne by: Bill Wolfe
The book’s dust jacket describes it as a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the film A Night in the Museum; however, I found it more of equal parts Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The View from Saturday, and Key to the Treasure: children with different abilities banding together to win a contest of puzzles and growing into true friendship.

After 12 years without any library at all, Alexandriaville, Ohio (nod to the famed Library of Alexandria) gets a state-of-the-art new libra
Emily Rosenbaum
Feb 04, 2013 Emily Rosenbaum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book-lover’s book, a game-lover’s book, a sink-into-something-delicious-lover’s book. Twelve kids win an essay contest and get to do an overnight in the town’s new library, a facility way beyond state-of-the-art that fulfills the fantasy of every nine-year-old child with holographic librarians, talking mannequins, and hovercrafts to retrieve books. And let’s not forget the game room.

The kids soon learn that they’re actually in a contest to find the secret exit. Mr. Lemoncello – the bil
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
3.5 stars.

I borrowed this in the hopes that I could convince my reluctant reader niece to give it a go, seeing as it's basically an action/adventure novel about boardgames, and she's trash for boardgames and action/adventure stuff. BUT NO.

So I read it instead, because it's one of the most popular titles with the year 5 and 6 kids at work and I felt like I should know what all the fuss was about.

It's...pretty fun, really. A Willy Wonka type character, who made his fortune in boardgames, gifts
Karen (The Book Return)
This is a kind of a new twist on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but better because it's in a library. I want to say that I not much of a middle grade reader but I am trying to get my kids to love reading and I am rereading some books that I loved as a kid. I say this on the library website and it seemed fascinating to me so I thought I would give it a short. I loved the characters and the games but my favorite was all the literary figures, authors, and books, that were worked into the sto ...more
A delightfully eccentric billionaire game creator, Luigi Lemoncello, credits his early success to the town library and its librarian. Building a new technologically fantastic library, he invites 12 contest winners to explore it first. A fun book full of literary references and library science, readers will enjoy discovering clues and learning more about books and libraries. I wonder how many children will pick up these references, but I hope it will spark my students' interest in finding more bo ...more
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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
More about Chris Grabenstein...

Other Books in the Series

Mr. Lemoncello's Library (3 books)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #2)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #3)

Share This Book

“A library doesn’t need windows, Andrew. We have books, which are windows into worlds we never even dreamed possible.” 30 likes
“Because, my dear friends, these twelve children have lived their entire lives without a public library. As a result, they have no idea how extraordinarily useful, helpful, and funful - a word I recently invented - a library can be. This is their chance to discover that a library is more than a collection of dusty old books. It is a place to learn, explore, and grow!" -Mr. Lemoncello” 3 likes
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