Dorrie’s quest to join the heroic lybrarians in protecting intellectual freedom in all times and climes takes her literally and figuratively from Passaic, New Jersey, into deadly waters in this madcap sequel to The Accidental Keyhand (2014).
Again largely pooh-poohing the idea of downtime in concocting plots, Downey pitches her 12-year-old white protagonist into a nonstop series of mad scrambles. These range from joining fellow slovenly apprentices (a joyfully diverse crew) in a frantic pre-inspection dorm cleanup to defending the entire course of human history from extensive revision at the hands of a malign organization from the future. Meantime, summer-term assignments take her and her West African bestie Ebba from Athens—where her 14-year-old brother, Marcus, with an assignment of his own, debates Aristotle in a lawsuit—to pre–World War I London for a revolting but perspective-broadening gig with an anti–women’s suffrage organization. Not to mention a surreptitious side trip to ancient Timbuktu for encounters with camels, heaps of bones, and, in a hidden cave, clues to the nefarious schemes of the mysterious Foundation. By summer term’s end, Dorrie has learned how to get past profound fear after nearly drowning, picked up some pointers in swordplay from Cyrano de Bergerac, and, oh yes, dealt the schemes of the Foundation a severe setback. On to fall term!
Never a dull moment in this lybrary school. (Fantasy. 10-13)