Monday, August 10, 2015

Review! Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

(This book was the first review I wrote, so there isn't really a pre-thought and post-thought section; I sort of combined them into one)




This book originally piqued my interest because of the interesting premise that the inside cover summary presented to me. I was hoping that this book would be a real adventure with lots of puzzles and witty solutions. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t everything I hoped it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad by any means, it just wasn’t something that kept me at the edge of my seat like other stories of its kind can normally do.

I’ll start with the characters. Twelve children are invited to a lock-in at the newly built library to celebrate its opening. The morning after the lock-in, Mr. Lemoncello, a famous game designer (both board games and video games) and the funder of the library, tells the twelve kids that they have a choice to participate in a game where they are locked in the library for an extra 24 hours and have to escape following all of the rules given to them. Out of the twelve characters, only 7 or so of them actual play a large role in the story. In the end, there are two teams that are competing against one another; one team is led by the charismatic Kyle and the other is led by the cruel Charles. The main thing about the characters that I disliked was that I felt they weren’t very three dimensional. None of the characters seemed to have any personality traits that set them apart from any other character. They all were just sort of average characters, for example there was a girl named Halie. She was so beautiful that people called her the Princess of the Seventh Grade. Underneath it all though, she was really smart but people constantly underestimate her. That basically was the only trait she had. One trait doesn’t really make a character. I felt that all the other characters were like that as well.

Second, I’ll comment on the story. The humor that was used during the story wasn't that good for me. There wasn't any slapstick humor (which if written correctly can be hilarious). The humor was probably funnier to the intended audience (which is age 8-12), but it only made me crack a smile every once in a while. A lot of the humor came from puns involving book titles, which for the most part I enjoyed. One part that I specifically found enjoyable was when Akemi and Kyle were discussing Egyptian deities and Kyle doesn't know anything about them. Akemi then responds by asking Kyle if he's read The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. I found it so funny because that's exactly the only reason I know the Egyptian deities! Overall I would say that the humor was okay, but I've read funnier (mainly The Hero's Guide to series). I thought the ending wasn't as smashing as it could have been. I didn't get much satisfaction from the ending, nor did I get a sense of finality. I thought that the way that Charles is eliminated from the game was a bit anticlimactic. I don't think that Charles got his just desserts.

I didn't have to force myself the finish the book, but at the same time I wasn't reeling on my seat to figure out what happens at the end. Overall, this was a solid book that I would recommend giving a try.



  1. Hey! Great post. Just a few thoughts here:

    1. Add pictures, they really help with the pacing of the article and just add an extra dimension to the words.
    2. Vary sentence length. Throwing in some short, quick sentences to go with more longer, flowing ones helps to add variety and keep the reader engaged, as well as add emphasis to certain points you want to emphasize.
    3. Vary sentence structure. Another very important one. Too many sentences started with 'I' - try to shake things up so as not to bore the reader!
    4. Add deliberate structure to the entire piece. Even a review can be thought of similarly to a story: you are taking the reader on a journey, helping them discover something new, and ultimately entertaining them. Remember, you want to engage the reader, so make your writing as exciting as the story you're reviewing! Foreshadowing, metaphors, and other rhetorical strategies are all completely valid in this type of writing, even if you are meant to only 'inform' the public.
    5. A few minor grammatical mistakes, such as using 'peaked' instead of 'piqued'. This will get ironed out as you write more though, I imagine!

    Anyway, great job! I enjoyed it a lot.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Patrick! I was experimenting with the pictures, so you must have seen the draft with no pictures. I'm still trying to figure out how to do all the small things on this website (aka add pictures and a few other things) so hopefully I get better as time goes on. Regardless, I still appreciate your comments and hopefully my writing will get better as I go on!

    Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it!