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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  8,416 ratings  ·  1,743 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

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.

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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Yearling (first published June 22nd 2013)
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Popular Answered Questions

Chris I hope so. I tried to make it a fun and fast paced read.
Chris Hi. Yes, the book is written for 8-12 year olds but I am hearing from 3rd and 4th graders who love it, too.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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
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
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
2.5 stars

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. It's called tweeting! Also, the author kept making references to books. New books, not just the classics. That got annoying real quick.

Second, it was so predictable. Kyle's team won, blah blah blah. The book
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
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
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
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
Emily Rosenbaum
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
+ 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 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
Delightful. I devoured it in one afternoon. I don't know if it will actually be effective in turning apathetic kids onto libraries (after all, their library is not as cool as this one), but for someone like me who wants to live in a library, this was fun.

It was frustrating to read this as an adult and see the kids saying 'cool' all the time - don't they have their own slang? And this didn't have the heart and depth that it could have - when I saw that the author had TV credits I was not surprise
Barb Middleton
I went into a convenience store this morning and there on a stool was an African Gray Parrot bobbing in circles as it waited for its owner to check out at the counter. I live in Taiwan where it is common seeing dogs in grocery stores, restaurants, or pushed in baby strollers dolled up with bows and human clothes, but I've never seen a parrot. I found myself sitting on the stool next to it asking the gorgeous creature if it knew English, then feeling silly. It probably isn't a talking parrot. It ...more
Monica Edinger
How about a contest in a new-over-the-top-cool library? The one in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library involves a wealthy wacky Willy Wonka-like game-maker (and creator of the library), a varied bunch of kid competitors ( a la those in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but, with one exception, much nicer), and a completely awesome library (textual eye-candy for book lovers). Locked in to the library overnight, the kids race against the clock to find their way out using clues of ever sort ---r ...more
Michelle Iglesias-holland
Are you a library and board game lover? Than this book is for you! Meet Mr Lemoncello the Willy Wonka of the board game world and also a public library lover. He builds a new library in his home town and has a special sleepover night for 12 twelve year olds. The night is filled with games, prizes and surprises. Great for elementary and middle school students this book will have kids learning the Dewey Decimal System, as well as how to properly use a library.
This Ga. Children's Book Award nominee is a 5 in every way - so far my favorite read of the summer! I have never read any of the work by Chris Grabenstein before and was surprised to learn that he had actually worked for James Patterson (yes, the author) before they both started writing novels. In fact, he attributes his writing skills to his time working with him at an advertising agency.
I was hooked when I learned that the main character Kyle loved to play board games. I LOVE board games and
Colby Sharp
This one might win a Nerdy.
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,
Mari Anne
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
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
Marisa Grimes
This book was a lot of fun. It was obviously written for middle school kids, but the writing was done so well and the story was so engaging that it didn't bother me in the least. There were tons of references to a lot of my favorite things that it made my heart flutter at several parts. I recommend this to anyone that is in need of a quick, fun read. This is the first book in a while that I totally read past my bedtime most nights ;)
Recommended for grades 4 to 6.

I saw this on Goodreads before borrowing a copy from my library for my eleven year old to read. She raved about it so that I had to read it for myself. What a fun story! It is upbeat, has positive role models, encourages kids to make the right choices, think of others, want to read, find out how the library works... And it is full of puzzles. If fact the whole escape from the library is a mega puzzle. I loved how book titles were embedded in regular sentences, very
Oh such fun. This book is basically a combination of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Ready Player One. But for children. And set entirely in a library. I think Chris Grabenstein might being trying just a LIIIIITTLE too hard to make children's librarians fall in love with him, but dangit, it TOTALLY worked on me.

I immediately knew I needed to have my 9-12-year-old book club read this, and that our book club NEEDS to be a scavenger hunt in the library. Fun and quirky and great for both rel
Laura Gardner
Love love love love love this book!!! Anyone who loves kid lit, puzzles, etc. will, too. Similar to Charlie and the Chocolate factory. 12 kids age 12 get locked in a brand-new, super cool library overnight and have to solve puzzles to escape the library. A bunch of them end up working together. Lots of references to all my favorite books from childhood. Highly highly recommended. :)
This is a library I would love to visit. Think Willy Wonka meets a library and you'll only be part way to the fun, games, quests and adventure that await in this magical book. If you love libraries and all they have to offer, or even if you don't, this is the one you'll wish was in your neighborhood.
Really fun book to read. Need to find a way to use this in the library when we're talking about the Dewey Classification system. I could even challenge the classes to see how many book references/titles they could find in a chapter!
Olivia P
Escape From Mr.Lemoncello's Library is a book about Kyle Keeley and his friends entering an extra credit project and competition. The competition is to write an essay on the new library the famous game maker Mr.Lemoncello builds. Mr.Lemoncello picks twelve year olds as winners. The winners will go to the library before it opens and sleep over at the library. All Kyle’s friends did the extra credit but there is one problem Kyle forgot about it and didn’t do it. Mr. Lemoncello throws in an extra ...more
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Chris Grabenstein is an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian.

Winner of two Anthony and four Agatha Awards, he is also the co-author with James Patterson of The #1 New York Times bestseller I FUNNY.

A former writer for Jim Henson's Muppets and past president of the New York Chapter of the
More about Chris Grabenstein...

Other Books in the Series

Mr. Lemoncello's Library (2 books)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics
Tilt-a-Whirl (John Ceepak Mystery, #1) The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery, #1) Mad Mouse (John Ceepak Mystery, #2) Whack A Mole (John Ceepak Mystery, #3) Hell Hole (John Ceepak Mystery, #4)

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“Dr. Yanina Zinchenko, the world-famous librarian, was walking briskly” 2 likes
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