A frustrated would-be hero from New Jersey and her teenage slacker brother fall into a library that lies outside of time. Chaos ensues.
Pursuing an errant mongoose into a back closet of their local public library, Dorrie and Marcus drop through a hole that’s suddenly opened at the back. They find themselves greeted with a sharp mix of warmth and suspicion by the residents of Petrarch’s Library—a sprawling institution composed of book stacks from many eras and time portals run by Hypatia with help from renowned Lybrarians like Casanova and other historical figures. Dorrie catches fire when she learns that after rigorous training in library skills and martial arts, professional Lybrarians are sent through said portals to rescue historically threatened writers and books. She earns her apprenticeship (as does Marcus) in a wild, climactic and sequel-positioning attempt to recover from vicious thieves a device that will open portals to the Library from any “wheren” (i.e., time or place). Downey accurately conveys to today’s reading masses the true scope of library science (highlighted by Lybrarian Games at the Midsummer Lybrarians’ Conference that include timed scroll-shelving, book-cart racing, rappelling and dagger throwing—how did she know?). She also shows a rare gift for crafting scrambles so madcap that it’s hard to turn the pages fast enough to keep up.
Well worth a spot on library shelves…but it won’t stay there long. (Fantasy. 10-13)