Chris Grabenstein, charming and personable author of the John Ceepak mysteries, has now veered into young adult territory, with striking success. He has a few books he’s written with James Patterson for middle grade readers, and this one, a standalone, is pretty much an instant classic. Bearing a similarity to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in format, this fun volume is a love letter to libraries, reading and enthusiastic young readers everywhere.
Much like Willy Wonka, Mr. Lemoncello is a legendary figure, a puzzle and game creator extraordinaire. He’s also rehabbing the local library in Alexandriaville, Ohio, and he’s holding a contest to let twelve lucky twelve-year-olds be the first patrons of the new town library. They’ll be locked in for a weekend of fun, games and puzzles. All the kids have to do to get to be one of the twelve is write an essay telling why they want to be a part of the new library opening.