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

(Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  48,132 ratings  ·  6,016 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

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 cov
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Chris I hope so. I tried to make it a fun and fast paced read.
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  48,132 ratings  ·  6,016 reviews

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Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-9-12

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
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ohio, kids
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 rated it did not like it
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
Rachel Reads Ravenously

This gets 5 stars because I couldn't put it down and wanted to cancel plans with friends just to finish it.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library is the modern day Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, just without creepy oompa loompa's and it takes place in an awesome library. Twelve kids are selected to stay overnight in a library, but little do they know they are being entered into a game to see who can find a way out! Winner gets prizes galore.

Like I said, I really loved this one because I was s
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
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
What a wonderful, imaginative, and creative story! This book totally reminded me why I still love to read children's books!

After several years without a city library, a new wonderous library has been built by an ecentric, quirky billionaire...Mr. Lemoncello. Kyle and his school friends are familiar with Mr. Lemoncello as his company has made many of their favorite boardgames, including Mr. Lemoncello's Indoor Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. At school, they write essays for a contest -- the winners get
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: So Kyle had gone down to the basement and dug up one of his all-time favorites: Mr Lemoncello's Indoor Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. It had been a huge hit for Mr Lemoncello, the master game maker. Kyle and his brothers had played it so much when they were younger, Mrs Keeley wrote to Mr Lemoncello's company for a refresher pack of clue cards. The new cards listed all kinds of different bizarre stuff you needed to find, like 'an adults droopy underpants', 'one dirty dish' and 'a rotten banana ...more
Just a Girl Fighting Censorship
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,
jv poore
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Update: Just received the Summer Reading List for Rising 5th Graders to give the students a "head-start" on their Passport to Reading Program. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was one of the six books listed. I know that the other students will enjoy this as much as Boy did!

This book was read and reviewed by The Boy, a 4th grader.

"It was really a roller-coaster. I wanted to read the whole book at once, all the way through. I did not want it to end!"

My thoughts? Well done,
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Star Rating: —> 4 Stars

I was feeling the need for a simple, fun, library based MG read, and I got what I came for & more! Loved this!
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
this book was a fun, easy story to read. everything was really detailed and intricate and the riddles were complex and difficult. there was always something going on that helped progress the plot.
Richard Derus
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jody McGrath
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun book for adults and children. The only problem was the puzzles in the game were impossible to solve along with the kids. That was kind of a bummer. Still I throughly enjoyed it. It was a less creepy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Kate Willis
I’m a fan of Willy Wonka. I’m also a fan of The Westing Game, Night in the Museum, National Treasure, and the first Brixton Brothers book. This book had elements of all of these and ended up being pretty fun. :D

Okay, libraries are pretty cool to start with, but I’m not sure any can compare to this one. There’s a hoverboard for checking out books on higher shelves, holographic statues, and huge screens on the ceiling to represent the Dewey decimal system. And much more. At first, especially durin
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting because you get to play along and try to figure out the clues yourself. Very different and clever. I wish our library was this amazing!
C.  (friends, please call me by name)
I relish creativity, the bravery to make-up possibilities! I am amazed at how much fun this novel is; a writer appreciative of exciting stories. Dialogue sped naturally. We needn’t care about phrases being au-courant. I never compare literature to berate it. There is no ownership on a whacky adventure. I would cherish this kind of extravaganza! I love “Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” on its own merits, which are numerous. I venture to describe this story as: a younger, non-sullen “The Brea ...more
4.5 stars

Yeah, I wasn't sure if I would like this as much as I did, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. Chris Grabenstein is excellent as the narrator of his own book, although I sort of expected that as he has voiced other things I've listened to. I previously listened to his Riley Mack Audible book and greatly enjoyed that so I figured I would like this as well. But when you're inspired by Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it can either be terrible or it can work out qu
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
Karen • The Book Return
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
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
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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

Other books in the series

Mr. Lemoncello's Library (5 books)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #2)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #3)
  • Mr. Lemoncello's All-Star Breakout Game (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #4)
  • Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, #5)

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