Maybe the Best Book Ever

posted by Gina

You guys. Seriously. This is the most amazing, fabulous, wonderful, crazy-pants-happy-making thing I have ever read. Or read recently. How has no one told me about this book? How did it take me almost ten months to find out about it??

Fear not, those of you who have also been in the dark, I bring you the joy, the wonder, the THIS-IS-SO-AMAZINGNG-NESS of …

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library


I don’t want to say too much about this book, because I don’t want to take away the joy of discovery – the kind that kept me up until 3 in the morning because I absolutely. could. not. put. this. book. down.

But I will tell you that an eccentric billionaire – who also happens to be the world’s most amazing board game creator – has remodeled the local library and the grand opening includes a very, very special opportunity for a group of lucky 12 year olds. Imagine a mash up of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and A Night at the Museum. With board games. And the dewey decimal system. And puzzles.

This book has:

  • Board games. All kinds of references to games we know, and fictitious, Lemoncello-brand ones you wish you could have.
  • This library. Oh, this library you will not believe. You who love books, oh, how you will yearn. Oh, how you will wish, desperately, this library were true.
  • Books! The text is CHOCK FULL of references to the greatest books out there. One character settles herself into an armchair with When You Reach Me. There’s a hilarious reference to Walter the Farting Dog. Mr. Lemoncello is constantly quoting various tomes – some I caught, many, I’m sure, I didn’t.  You and your kiddo will have endless fun tracking down the books the characters read, find, talk about, and look through.
  • Puzzles! Rebuses and codes and clues galore. Apparently, according to the author’s note, there’s a puzzle mentioned in the text that none of the characters solve and you, the reader, are invited to do so.

After you read this book you will want to:

  • Invent a board game. Or merely create your own version of Mr. Lemoncello’s inside/outside scavenger hunt.
  • Write rebus notes to each other.
  • Invent codes and leave coded messages for friends.
  • Go to the library! One of the best things about this book is the love it will re-awaken or newly-instill for all that is magnificent about a public library.  Take a field trip – and maybe tuck a coded message inside a favorite book for someone to find.

Age range: This is one of those dandy books that spans a lot – the protagonists are all 12th, so it’s a good middle school read (plus a lot of the books referenced are more challenging).  But much younger – down to a high 3rd – could potentially read and love, and certainly love being read to.

Go read. Go play. Go wallow in the delight.

UPDATE:  Yeah, so, the author has left us a hint to the mystery puzzle in the comments. That’s right. A hint from the author. Who left me a comment. On this post. It might be the best day of my life.

Author: Gina L. Grandi

Moderately well-read. Fairly socially awkward. According to Greg, 'a sentimental cynic with artistic sensibilities.' Somewhat nifty.

One thought on “Maybe the Best Book Ever”

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my book. Here is a hint for solving the puzzle that is in the book but not the story: Mr. Lemoncello’s first and worst idea for a game is your certain solution. Think about that as you flip through all 56 chapters one more time.


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