The Library of Ever

208p. (The Library of Ever: Bk. 1). Imprint. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250169174.
Gr 3–6—Eleven-year-old Lenora is desperately bored. Her wealthy parents have flippantly dismissed Lenora's aspirations to obtain a job at the planetarium, the museum, or the zoo. Worse, she is forced to accompany her inattentive nanny on errands by limousine. Luckily, the nanny needs to stop at the library, and is indeed inattentive. Within the first 10 pages, Lenora discovers a mysterious stone arch in a wall of the library through which she crosses into the realm of a much larger, fantastical library that agrees to give her a job. Dubbed a Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian, Lenora fearlessly embarks on a series of short, magical adventures in order to answer patrons' reference questions and provide other customer service. Lenora must also contend with the Forces of Darkness, unsavory individuals in bowler hats dedicated to the causes of censorship, control, and the ignorance of the masses. Breezily episodic and fast-paced, the action here begins right away. Deus ex machina moments abound, but seem fitting to the solemnly whimsical plot. Lenora is dedicated to her new career at any cost, and never once questions any of the fantasy elements she encounters or the responsibilities she is given. Quirkily self-referential in tone, the writing attempts to create inside jokes with the reader, e.g., the hypersensitivity of beluga whales and their unique mastery of English.
VERDICT Purchase for larger libraries, for passionate library fans, or to spark early conversations about intellectual freedom.

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