Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

by Chris Grabenstein

Paperback, 2014



Local notes

PB Gra


Yearling (2014), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages


"Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape"--


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

320 p.; 5.19 inches


0307931471 / 9780307931474





User reviews

LibraryThing member bragan
Eccentric game designer Luigi Lemoncello has just built a fantastic new public library, complete with lots of nifty extras and some impressive futuristic technology. He's invited twelve twelve-year-old essay contest winners to spend a night in the library before it opens, during which he reveals a contest: The front door is shut tight, but there is another way to escape from the library (without using the fire exits!). Whoever follows the many clues provided to discover the exit will win a fabulous prize.

I wasn't super impressed with this one at first. I mean, I'm immediately well-disposed towards anything set in a library, but it otherwise seemed like a fairly run-of-the-mill kids' book, with a not terribly interesting protagonist and a deeply annoying antagonist. Plus, Mr. Lemoncello, while he's compared to Willy Wonka in the story, isn't nearly as interesting.

But once the challenge got started and the puzzle plot kicked into gear, I have to say, I was hooked. It was clever and lots of fun, with the puzzles and clues complicated and non-obvious enough to thoroughly to engage well-read adult me, but without, I think, being too hard for bright kid readers to follow along with and enjoy. I ended up liking it way more than I expected to. I'd definitely recommend it for kids who like books and/or puzzles, and it's entertaining for adults who like kids' books about books and puzzles, too.
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LibraryThing member Lindsay_W
Middle grade avid readers will love this book – and librarians too. It takes place in an amazing library, and gives shout outs to many great children’s books. Students who love to solve puzzles and figure out literary clues will enjoy trying to stay one step ahead of the characters as they try to find their way out of the library and win a contest. Librarians will appreciate the book for its homage to the Dewey Decimal System, and for promoting reading by creating a 100-title reading list scattered throughout the book!… (more)
LibraryThing member AlbaArango
What a fun read! The book is about 12 kids that get to spend the night in a super cool new library designed by a famous game-maker. Once inside, they are invited to play a game where they are challenged to “escape” from the library and receive a prize. The catch? They only have 24 hours to do it, and the library is, well, interactive…in a “Night at the Museum” kind of way.

What I liked: The characters are believable. All kids (and adults) will relate to the personality traits and complicated relationships experienced by the characters. I also loved the clues the kids had to figure out in order to solve the puzzles…totally made me wish I was in that library with them.

What I didn’t like: My only real criticism is that a few of the characters fell a little flat (some could’ve used a little more character development). I found myself flipping to get past a few pages because of the characters. But, the main character is great!

All-in-all, a fun book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member DresdenG.B1
In the book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, author Chris Grabenstein tells an interesting tale of logic and wits. When the game-loving main character Kyle learns that his hero, game maker Luigi Lemoncello, is holding a contest, he decides he must win! After all, the prize is an exclusive fun filled sleepover in the new town library funded by Mr. Lemoncello himself. He wins a spot at the sleepover but little does he know that in the morning the doors will remain locked. For Kyle and the other eleven winners the mission is clear. Solve puzzles. Find Clues. Be the first to escape from Mr. Lemoncello's library.

I really liked Mr. Lemoncello's Library because there were lots of puzzles that the reader could solve along with the characters. Solving the puzzles wasn't necessary, but I enjoyed trying. It was a humorous page turner that kept me hooked. I stayed up late reading under the covers because I needed to know who would be the first to escape! Another reason I liked this book was because it was similar to one of my favorite books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both books feature a few lucky winners, an exclusive opportunity, and hilarious results. I think anyone who enjoys puzzles, mysteries, or competition should give this book a try.
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LibraryThing member SherylHendrix
An engaging book for the middle school set, the story takes place in the world's most technologically advanced library, featuring holograms, magnetic hover ladders to take you to the upper reaches of the stacks, etc. A group of 12 lucky 12-year-olds get the chance to experience this library before its grand opening, courtesy of the benefactor who paid for the building's renovation. The evening lock-in turns into a real adventure when the group is given the opportunity to win a terrific prize package - starring in TV ads to promote the library - if they choose to play the game of finding a secondary escape from the building. Those who choose not to play can opt out, but those who choose to stay are really "locked in" until they either find the way out before the deadline or break one of the rules and are ejected prematurely. As an adult reader, this was an especially quick read, 56 short chapters that can be read in a few hours. The author includes an End Note that extends the guessing game into our world with an opportunity to submit a solution to him via email. Highly recommend this.… (more)
LibraryThing member ltcl
I know what you are thinking- she works in a library so of course she is going to love this book. You would be correct! It is wonderful and I can't wait to show it to all our patrons! Mr. Lemoncello is an eccentric board game inventor who has donated a public library in his small hometown. This is the ultimate in technology, fun and creativity and a select few will get to spend the night in it before it opens to the public. What quirky Mr. Lemoncello doesn't share with the lucky winners is that they will have to solve a series of puzzles to escape. It is Jeopardy! mixed with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mixed with The Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler and the game of Clue! Full of action and wonderful challenging puzzles (I got giddy when I was able to solve some of the clues). Author Chris Grabenstein knows how to grab the attention of middle schoolers since he is the co-author of the popular series with James Patterson. This is a wonderful trip down memory lane for the parents, one all night Trivial Pursuit game and my personal favorite book this year!… (more)
LibraryThing member brangwinn
Chris Grabenstein has written a very creative mystery set in a brand new library. Sure to appeal to fans of Willie Wonka, and The Gollywopper Games, it all begins with a contest created by the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello. “Balloons, there might be balloons” the last minute essay Kyle turned in a chance to win a night in the new library turns out to be a winner. He and other kids find themselves in an amazing game competition based on the amazing games of Mr. Lemoncello Kyle turns out to be a leader emphasizing the importance of teamwork and honesty as he and his teammates work their way through clues they find in this library of the future. But it turns out to be more than just fun when they discover they have to find the secret way out of the library. The bully, Charles Chilington, another of the 12 year old contestants, keeps reminding everyone Chilingtons don’t lose. He’s the perfect nemesis for Kyle. Readers will cheer as they see Chilington’s shenanigans get him booted out. And of course, as all bibliophiles know, Melvil Dewey rules—even in the holographic library of the future. Bookworms will lovethe titles of books cleverly hidden in sentences thoughout the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member LibrarianMaven
Kyle is chosen, along with eleven other twelve-year-olds, to spend a night in the new state-of-the-art town library before it opens to the public. However, he and the other library guests soon find out that Mr. Lemoncello, a famous game designer who donated money for the library, has more in mind: they are all contestants in a game to find out who can find the secret exit for the library first…and they have twenty-four hours to do it. A mix of The Westing Game and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with frequent book name-dropping, readers have the chance to play along with the puzzles. To gladden librarian’s hearts, there’s a lot of emphasis on how cool libraries are, and the ability to navigate a library is central to solving the puzzle. There is no romance or spooky stuff, making it a good read for kids who like mysteries but don’t like gore or ghosts. The strong emphasis on teamwork is welcome, and though the mean kid is a little overdrawn, it’s nice to have a book where kids are rewarded for being team players and decent people from the get-go. A fun book to have in the collection- perhaps with some games or a library scavenger hunt to tie into it. Available as ebook.… (more)
LibraryThing member Renee.Brandon
Very good book for grades 4 and up. Fun adventure and lots to learn about how incredible the library can be. Kids have to use library clues to figure out the way out of the library. Excellent way to introduce the kids to many different styles of books, remind them of the dewey decimal system, and more. :)
LibraryThing member carolvanbrocklin
A lot more fun than I had expected.
12 kids have to guess trivia questions in order to win prizes and get out of a library. Using the Dewey Decimal system, rebus clues, knowing literature and authors, all of it comes into play in this rather delightful little book.
Get for the library
LibraryThing member sgrame
Kyle Keeley loves games. He lucks out when he wins an essay contest with the grand prize of being one of 12 12 year olds, who gets to spend a lock-in night at the new Lemoncello library before it's grand opening. It is unveiled that the student who figures the other way out, besides the way he entered, gets to be the spokesperson for the new library. Part reality show, part mystery, students end up working together sifting through book titles and dewey decimal numbers for clues to solve the riddle. Quirky Lemoncello has all kinds of odd inventions and holograms to brighten the story and aid the children along their way. The pressure is on... let the games begin! Great for grades 3-6.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jen4k
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is a lot like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but with a twist. Luigi Lemoncello is a game maker, and has designed a library full of secret puzzles Kyle and his friends must solve in order to leave. This book is sure to be a favorite of those who have read Roald Dahl, or those readers who enjoy a bit of suspense.… (more)
LibraryThing member Mad.River.Librarian
What's a librarian not to love about this modern-tale Willy Wonka twist, where instead of candy, the children are enticed to find clues within a fantastical public library? Grabenstein has certainly polished up his Dewey Decimals and this librarian, for one, is delighted that he has. Pure delight!
LibraryThing member MicahCorporaal
Mr. Luigi Lemoncello, eccentric designer of the renowned Lemoncello board games and video games for all ages has returned to his hometown in Ohio to build his grandest creation yet – Mr. Lemoncello’s Public Library. Everyone wants a sneak peak of the futuristic, colorful and hi-tech library including some of Mr. Lemoncello’s youngest and most loyal fans. Kyle and 11 other middle school essay winners each earn the highly coveted VIP ticket for an overnight library lock-in at the game-inspired library. After an exciting night of game playing, puzzle solving, book reading and adventure-seeking they are offered an opportunity to win the ultimate prize so long as they can find their way out of the library by 12pm the following day.
Grabenstein reinforces children’s love for libraries while paying tribute to timeless children’s books like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Sherlock Holmes. In this silly and riddle-ridden mystery Kyle and his friends discover what it really means to appreciate a challenging game and a good book. Most importantly, they learn what it means to work together and play by the rules
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LibraryThing member LibraryGirl11
A delightful romp that disguises a lesson in library organization. For the grand opening of the Alexandriaville library, a group of kids is selected to participate in a grand new game--escape from Mr. Lemoncello's library using only your wits and the information contained in the library. Could you do it? A good book club possibility.… (more)
LibraryThing member AMQS
For me this was book number 2 of the 2015 Colorado Children's Book Award nominees, and a terrific read! Oh, my younger bookworm-libraryloving-puzzlecrazed self would have LOVED this book! Lucky for me I get to read it now (and press it on every under 13 YO book/library lover I know). THE world famous game-maker Mr. Lemoncello is building an incredible new library in his hometown, which has been without a public library for 12 years. Mr. Lemoncello sponsors an essay contest -- the winners of which (12 lucky 12 year-olds who have lived their entire lives without a library) will have the opportunity to spend the night in the new library, and unbeknownst to them at the time of entry, participate in a game in which they must conduct library research, master challenges, and decipher clues to get them out of the library. Liberally sprinkled with book and author trivia, Dewey Decimal references, anagrams, rebuses, puzzles, holographic statues of famous authors, and the coolest library technology, well, anywhere, this book is a fast-paced hoot! Favorite line: "Halfway across town, Dr. Yanina Zinchenko, the world-famous librarian, was walking briskly through the cavernous building that was only days away from its gala grand opening," HA! I need to figure out how to get on the track to library fame and glory. It would help to start with a billionaire benefactor to make my library like Mr. Lemoncello's. Any takers? Seriously, though, I would like to host a Lemoncello-inspired party at the library. Need to do some serious thinking.… (more)
LibraryThing member librarian1204
How could you not love this book! Book lovers and librarians can rejoice in a book this good. Puzzles, plot, characters.
LibraryThing member acargile
This novel is about a library that's much like a video game where it’s interactive and challenging to learn the different levels of the library system.

Kyle Keeley loves to play video games and is very competitive. While on the school bus, his friend Akimi asks if he finished his extra credit essay on "Why I'm Excited About the New Public Library." Alexandriaville hasn't had a library in 12 years because the city doesn't support it; they tore down the library to build an elevated parking garage. Mr. Lemoncello, who grew up in Alexandriaville and loved the library where the librarian, Mrs. Tobin, was kind to him and helped him learn as he rose from a poor kid to being very successful, is building the most modern and innovative library ever. Therefore, only 12 year olds, who have never had a library, can apply to win the sleep-in in the new library. Kyle writes a quick essay after hearing games may be involved for those who win, as he doesn’t read much.

At the assembly Kyle is surprised to be selected. There are many cool prizes, including $500 to spend on games. Kyle and his friends spend the night in the library experiencing the 3D library experience, which is really cool. In the morning, however, the doors are locked and they can’t get out. There’s a new game—a mystery to solve. Whoever can find the clues left for them and find a way out of the library besides the main doors will win.

The clues are clever and it’s fun to figure the mystery out with the characters in the book.
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LibraryThing member Turrean
A very enjoyable mystery!
LibraryThing member klburnside
Hmm. I can't decide what I thought of this book. It is about these kids that have to find their way out of a library by using all these dewey decimal clues that lead them to books in a super technologically advanced magical library. It was a lot like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except it takes place in a library instead. At times I found the characters and story eye rollingly contrived and annoying. Other times it was endearing and fun.… (more)
LibraryThing member Bduke
I enjoyed some things in this book, and I was annoyed by some things in this book. I loved all the literary references, but they felt kind of forced and show-y, and the target audience won't understand most of them. Although since this book is technically a love letter to librarians, maybe that is really the target audience and not middle schoolers. (Audience is not the word I'm looking for, but I can't think what it is. Target readers?) And I found it a little disturbing that a book about libraries didn't really have much to do with the love of reading. The love of gaming was more apparent. There was one character who loved to read, but it was made to sound like she read because she had no friends and once she made friends she stopped having her nose in a book all the time. Those are my feelings, but I'm hoping middle schoolers who love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will love this. It has the same kind of stereotypical mean, rich kid; the same kind of know-it-all kid; the same good, honest, loyal-to-friends kid... And maybe it will cause some readers to look into the books that are mentioned (and mentioned, and mentioned).… (more)
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Kyle hasn't really bothered with that extra-credit assignment to write an essay about the town's new library -- big deal, it's just a library, right? But when he learns that the library was designed by Luigi Lemoncello, the eccentric millionaire game designer, and the twelve students who win the essay contest will get to be part of a lock-in with the potential for all kinds of wacky fun, he scribbles something down and hands it in. He spends the rest of the day trying to work on and then submit a better essay, even going so far as to locate Mr. Lemoncello's email address. The game's not over until it's over, he figures -- and sure enough, his last-ditch efforts get him the final spot in the library lock-in . . . which turns into a competition with difficult puzzles and fabulous prizes ("Like The Hunger Games, but with plenty of food and no bows and arrows," quips Mr. Lemoncello). Kyle and his friends form a team, working against the snotty rich kid who "never loses," but can teamwork and cooperation triumph over sneakiness and cunning?

This book is a lot of fun for its intended middle-grade readers. The library's attractions are described in a way sure to inspire envy, and the kids' adventures keep the plot moving briskly along. I'll be sure to recommend this to readers who like this sort of puzzle-based mystery story.
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LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: A cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chasing Vermeer, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Westing Game--for book loving readers, the allusions to literature are fast and furious. Reading Level: 10-12; F-P: U-W.
LibraryThing member sszkutak
I loved this book! I want to share it with the world!... Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is like a combination of Willy Wanka, a puzzle book, and a library. It kind of make me think of the movie from the 90's called The Pagemaster, but instead of solving puzzles to get back to real life (out of an animated tale), these kids are figuring them out to get out of the library for a prize.

The book starts off telling the tale of Kyle, who is always competing with his brothers and when the chance arises to enter a school contest he originally thinks nothing of it. He then realizes that it is being held by his favorite game maker, the famous Mr. Lemoncello. Through the book there isn't much character building but Kyle realizes that the best way to play the game is with others versus being overly competitive - which is nice.

The puzzles were my favorite part, the book is full of them. There are even ones outside of the story. I found myself wanting a piece of paper nearby to complete the puzzles for myself versus reading the answers as the kids in the story figured them out. It think Middle Grade readers who enjoy word and picture puzzles will have a blast with this as well. I could even see this as a great book for the family to read and experience together.

I think older readers will enjoy this book as well as it sprinkles various nods to classic books and events throughout. I found myself laughing out loud, participating in the puzzles and trying to figure it all out for myself before the kids did. It was a lot of fun.
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LibraryThing member AnigL
I picked this book up as a birthday present for myself. I mean, it had "library" in the title; I couldn't ignore that.




(408 ratings; 4)
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