Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Series #1)

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Series #1)

4.8 33
by Brandon Sanderson

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The evil Librarians are coming!

A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.
Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult


The evil Librarians are coming!

A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.
Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them! infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Sanderson's (Elantris) children's debut, an over-the-top fantasy/adventure, librarians are evil because they control all the information in Hushland (America). They distort some facts and fabricate the rest. Alcatraz, meanwhile, is the name of the protagonist, who has been raised in a series of foster homes. As the novel opens, on his 13th birthday, he is quickly initiated into the true nature of librarians by his heretofore unmet grandfather, Leavenworth Smedry. Before long, Sanderson brings on talking dinosaurs (it's a librarian distortion that they're extinct), a parallel world, visiting villains and more. The madcap plot can seem chaotic, with action pulling Alcatraz toward new characters at a breakneck speed, but Sanderson unexpectedly draws everything together in an extravagantly silly climax. Readers whose sense of humor runs toward the subversive will be instantly captivated: not only does the author poke fun at librarians, he lampoons books (including this one) in frequent passages directly addressed to readers: "You are saying to yourself, 'The story just lost me. It degenerated into pure silliness . . . . I'm going to go read a book about a boy whose dog gets killed by his mother. Twice.'" Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one (and then revved up on steroids), this nutty novel isn't for everyone, but it's also sure to win passionate fans. Ages 9-up. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information\
VOYA - Arlene Garcia
Alcatraz Smedry has a talent-for breaking things. It is not something that endears him to the foster parents to whom he has been assigned. On his thirteenth birthday, Alcatraz receives a box of sand and a note claiming that it is his inheritance. He then burns down the kitchen. Before he can be relocated, the box of sand is stolen, he is attacked by a gun-wielding stranger, and he is rescued by a man claiming to be his grandfather. It turns out that Alcatraz is not living in the real world but trapped in the Hushlands, controlled by evil librarians feeding misinformation to an unsuspecting public. In a place where swords are more potent than guns, dinosaurs are proper English gentlemen, and only special glasses enable Alcatraz to see the truth, a talent for breaking things might be the only thing that can save the world. In this original, hysterical homage to fantasy literature (Grandpa Smedry's exclamations such as "Edible Eddings!" are nods to masters of the genre), Sanderson's first novel for youth recalls the best in Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events. The humor, although broad enough to engage preteens, is also sneakily aimed at adults (there is a reason why the dinosaurs eat the "C" section in science fiction). "Authors," says Alcatraz, "write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people." Readers are indeed tortured, with quirky, seemingly incompetent heroes; dastardly villains fond of torture; cars that drive themselves; nonstop action; and cliffhanger chapter endings. And as soon as they finish the last wickedly clever page, they will be standing in line for more from this seasoned author of such adult-marketed titles as Elantris (Tor,2005/VOYA October 2005).\
Children's Literature - Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
Alcatraz Smedry (one of the great character names of all times!) receives an unusual gift on his thirteenth birthday: a bag of sand. The accompanying note from his parents explains that it is his inheritance. Alcatraz does not know who his parents are, where they are, or why they have sent him a bag of sand. Things get even more confusing as he is visited by a strange old man who claims to be his grandfather and whisks him away before his other visitor can shoot him. With that, we are plunged with Alcatraz into a fascinating world full of engaging characters, talking dinosaurs, real and imagined danger, and evil librarians. Will he and his friends Sing and Bastille be able to help his grandfather Leavenworth escape the clutches of the Dark Oculator? Will Alcatraz understand and be able to use his special gift—breaking things—to his advantage? And will he ever get to the scene he promised us in the opening paragraph: tied to an altar made of outdated encyclopedias? This book would be enjoyed even more by older readers who will understand sarcasm and allusions embedded in the text.\
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8 The conventional trappings of the middle-school fantasy get turned upside down in this zany novel. Alcatraz is a 13-year-old boy with hidden powers, but his talent is "breaking things." The powerful object he must find is a bag of sand, he battles monsters made of paper, and his arch nemeses are evil librarians. It all sounds ludicrous, but there is actually some consistent logic that makes the adventures engaging, as well as silly. Seemingly random insertions, such as a bunch of very civilized dinosaurs that speak with English accents, later play key roles in the plot development. Alcatraz opens nearly every chapter by addressing readers directly, and frequently interrupts the narrative, a technique that adds to the enjoyable bizarreness. He reflects flippantly upon writing techniques, gives broad hints about what may happen next, and even tells outright lies about his own story. It takes a while to adjust to this intentionally chaotic narration, but it ultimately becomes quite effective. The details of this fantasy world, where librarians dominate "Hushlanders" by withholding information about many things, including the existence of three other continents, make just enough sense to frame the sometimes frantic plot. Though there's intentionally more humor than drama, Alcatraz becomes a more complex figure by the time his adventure is through as he discovers the value of friendship, courage, and family. Readers who prefer fantasy with plenty of humor should enjoy entering Alcatraz's strange but amusing world.-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

Kirkus Reviews
On his 13th birthday, Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand and burns down his foster mother's kitchen, beginning his involvement in the struggle between the Free Kingdoms and the world we know, controlled by a conspiracy of Evil Librarians. Part of the contradictory flavor of this self-referential fantasy is that the good guys are named for famous prisons. Alcatraz says this is the first volume of an autobiography that will prove he is not really a hero or even very nice. Members of his family have Talents we might call liabilities. Alcatraz breaks things. In the course of the story, he knocks down floors, a wall and two doors in the main library. The premise is intriguing and Sanderson gets in some good digs at pushers of books about dysfunctional families and dying dogs, but the joke becomes tiresome with repetition. Awkward similes add absurdity but stop the narrative flow. Alcatraz often interrupts his story with comments about reading, sometimes predicting accurately that we won't believe the events on the page. He doubts that librarians will recommend this book. He may be right. (Fiction. 10-14)\
From the Publisher

Praise for Brandon Sanderson's adult debut, Elantris (Tor 2005):

"Elantris is the finest novel of fantasty to be written in many years. Brandon Sanderson has created a truly original world of magic and intrigue, and with the rigor of the best science fiction writers he has made it real at every level. What makes this novel unforgettable, however, is the magnificent characters he has created." --Orson Scott Card

STAR "smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won't want to put it down. As the blurb from Orson Scott Card suggests, Sanderson is a writer to watch." --PW

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Alcatraz Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn Trilogy and Elantris, which Orson Scott Card called "the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years." Alcatraz Smedry Versus the Evil Librarians is Brandon's first book for kids. He writes and plays with swords in Provo, Utah.

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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
EthanBro More than 1 year ago
Very rarely does a book come along that I would consider “perfect”. Too many factors go into writing to easily make a masterpiece. Nevertheless, along comes Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, which blew my expectations of the book out of the water, and became one of my favorite books of all time. The book’s plot starts out pretty simple: a 13 year-old foster care boy who breaks everything he touches receives a mysterious inheritance from his long-lost parents. Now, while this may seem like a fairly cliché and simple plot for a fantasy book, the way the story is told, and the creativeness of the universe really pull everything together. This story is told through the eyes of the main character, Alcatraz Smedry, writing his own memoirs years later, and as such, relies on fourth wall-breaking humor, and a complete and utter disregard for the normal rules of writing. And it works perfectly. Simply put, this is one of the funniest experiences, let alone books, I have had in years. And despite all the hilarious writing, there is still a lot of time for emotions and character in between.  The main plot of the book is that evil librarians have taken over every part of the known world, and brainwashed the people of these land to be part of their own. The twist is; this is the world we live in currently. There are however, many yet unconquered lands where the technology of the future, based mostly on different types of glass, still resides. It feels very Meta, and shows how easily our society is brainwashed by the media. But, going back to the other civilization, one of the best parts of the whole book is its use of glass. Certain people known as Oculators can use sands to create certain types of glasses that give them different power, such as seeing where people have gone, communication, or even laser vision. And another very creative aspect is the Smedry Talents. These are abilities used by the Smedry family line, that on the surface, sound like bad traits, such as the aforementioned breaking things, always being late or being bad at math. But these can be amplified to such a degree that someone could arrive late to being shot, or altering the amount of things by doing bad math. It’s always hilarious and kind of cool too. But the books always remind you that these powers can just as easily be a curse as a blessing. And I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone.
SecretBookshelf More than 1 year ago
To tell you the truth, I had already decided that I didn't want to read it because of the title/cover.  This book is living proof that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  And in case you were wondering: Yes, I did love the book.  Yes, it was funny.  Yes, I did go to the library and read all the rest of the books in the series.  ¿There is no way to review this book without it sounding cheesy, so I think I'll give a quick overview of the first chapter and then go to the general book description. The beginning of the book starts with the main character, Alcatraz Smedry, being tried to an altar about to be sacrificed.  Then he has a "flashback" and the story starts.  At the beginnning of almost every chapter Alcatraz says (the book's first person narrator) something really funny: why he is a bad person, his opinion on fishsticks, how he thinks it's funny that now you have to read the whole rest of the book to find out what happened with the altar, etc. Alcatraz Smedry has a very rare and special talent- for breaking things.  When his long-lost grandpa arrives to take him home, he realizes that he lost his inheritence- a bag of sand.  In a dangerous mission to get it back, they will have to go to- the downtown library.  Alcatraz learns there that the librarians are trying to take over the world and influence the cultures of the world.  After all, they already have the Hushlands (Americas, Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa). This is one of the funniest books that I have read in a long time.  Not only is it funny, but it also has a gripping plot (a weird one at that).  I would definitely recomend this book to anyone, don't let the title/cover/description scare you away.  If you don't believe me, go to a libray and read the first couple of pages, you'll love it. I've already read the rest of the series, all that's out. *Update:  I convinced two of my friends to read this book when we were in 7th grade, and they both loved it.  In fact, its been a few years and we still talk about it occasionally! 
M-dog More than 1 year ago
4.5 is not good enough!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson was a very enjoyable read. Alcatraz Smedry, the main character, is a thirteen year old boy who has been shuffled between numerous foster homes throughout his life. He can’t manage to stay with a family for very long. He breaks everything he touches; he doesn’t do it on purpose it just sort of happens. On the day of his thirteenth birthday he receives a package that somehow has very old postage on it and handwriting he does not recognize. When he opens the package he finds only sand inside, not understanding why he got the sands he doesn’t give them another thought until a strange man shows up at his door claiming to be his grandfather. Grandfather Smedry tells Alcatraz that he is the decedent of a long line of Oculators. When Grandfather Smedry goes to retrieve the package Alcatraz had gotten earlier, he finds the sands missing stolen by one of the evil librarians Ms. Fletcher Alcatraz’s case worker. Finding the sands gone Grandfather Smedry takes Alcatraz on a crazy journey to get back the sands from the evil librarians. Along the way Alcatraz must find out the truth to save not only him but the new people he has met. The book truly is a fast, fun read. It may have 308 pages but you will get through in a matter of hours, it truly kept me on my toes I couldn’t put the book down. This book was nothing like I had expected, I honestly was a little worried looking at the cover of the book, and I was literally laughing out loud at some parts in the book. I felt like it was just a fun, different book for young adults. It stretches the boundaries of a normal young adult book. The story line in and of itself is so creative. The entire book tests the imagination of the reader, the way it is written is like it truly is real life, or could be the true story of Alcatraz. All the ideas in this book are completely odd and outlandish, again nothing like I’ve ever read before. I can understand how it could be hard for some people to read because of the shear absurdity of the book. I would recommend this book for anyone, I feel like it could be enjoyed by any age the language is easy to understand and very clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
notstinky More than 1 year ago
A very fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was reading this book to my brother and I pretty much fell in love with it myself. I would this book to recommend this book to kids from 7- 10. Me and my brother loved it and I know you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book and the series. It's a nice break from dark and vampire-filled science fiction that's everywhere. The story is fairly dramatic, but is told from a very comedic view. I would defintely reccomend this to people in search of a funny sci-fi type book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lightning Thief is Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians. Easily the best kids book of the decade. Frankly, (don't shoot me) It's better than Harry Potter. I laughed out loud for hours and tortured my co-workers by reading passages every two minutes around the breakroom table.
Twinner2 More than 1 year ago
Brandon Sanderson has struck gold with his novel, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Told through the eyes of the thirteen-year-old protagonist, this story is zany and completely hilarious! It is unlike any other book I have read before-where else can you find a story about magic glasses, talking dinosaurs, and librarians seeking world domination? One of the many reasons why I love this book is because of the way it is told. As mentioned above, Alcatraz, the main character, narrates the story. He opens the book by warning readers that he is not a good person and could never be a hero. Throughout the novel, he reminds readers of this fact. Furthermore, while relating his tale, Alcatraz interrupts himself and frequently goes on strange tangents. By writing this way, Sanderson makes it seem as if the story is really being told by a thirteen-year-old boy. It also brings an added measure of personality to the book. Alcatraz Smedry is an orphan who has been bounced from foster home to foster home all his life. Why? Because he has a talent for breaking anything and everything he touches. Of course, Alcatraz doesn't mean to-it just sort of happens. On his thirteenth birthday, Alcatraz's world is turned upside-down when he receives an unusual birthday present on his doorstep: a bag of sand. Unbeknownst to Alcatraz, this is no ordinary sand-it contains powerful magic. After a strange turn of events, Alcatraz discovers that his sand was stolen by a group of evil librarians trying to take over the world. Now, Alcatraz must team up with his long-lost Grandpa Smedry and some unlikely heroes to get his inheritance back and stop the librarians! Although it is 308 pages, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a quick read because of its fast-paced and entertaining plot. On the surface, this book is great for those simply seeking something fun to read. However, upon further examination, readers can find some great lessons hidden in the plot: finding faith in oneself, accepting one's talents, and learning to let others in. Because this book is a cross-over between Children's Literature and Young Adult Literature, I would recommend it to youth ages eleven to fifteen, although it can easily be enjoyed by readers of any age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarian by Brandon Sanderson was an enjoyable read. The main character, Alcatraz Smedry has been shuffled from one foster home to another mostly because he can't manage to make his foster parents keep him. He keeps breaking things. Not on purpose mind you, it just happens. Doorknobs, kitchens, you name it and it breaks before him. He's used to it but he has no delusion that anyone else will be able to get used to it. Alcatraz receives a package with a mysterious postage date and a note that says that it is from his parents. Seeing that the package contains only sand, Alcatraz sets it aside. He has just managed to burn a room in his current foster home when Ms. Fletcher, his caseworker shows up and gets down on him for destroying everything. As Alcatraz prepares to move to yet another home, none other than his long lost grandfather Smedry shows up (late as usual) revealing to Alcatraz that he is part of a long line Oculators. Grandpa Smedry finds that the package and the sands within have been stolen and consequently drags Alcatraz on a journey to retrieve the sands which have unfathomable power and revealing that everything that Alcatraz has known before this moment was a lie concocted by the evil librarians who are in control of the Hushlands. Alcatraz must save the sands and come to know the truth about the world and himself or all is lost. It was fast paced, fun, and definitely kept me on my toes. Admittedly, I wasn't overly excited to read this book. The cover was a little random and the title is odd to say the least. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found when I started to read it. It is witty and completely unexpected. The main character is sarcastic and cynical which adds to the humor. It is a very imaginative young adult novel, and even though I am in my twenties and am not a young adult, I still enjoyed it. I loved the story line. The characters are very memorable (and a little odd). The story in and of itself is creative. It also questions everything that those of us in the "Hushlands" believe. I like how Sanderson writes as if this is a true story and that it is only because we live in the Hushlands that this is called fiction. It continues the illusion, which seamlessly fits into the plot of the story. The absurdity of it all both add to and detract from the book. At the beginning I kept thinking "what?" but there came a point when things got so weird that I either had to embrace it or abandon it. I chose the former and I am not sorry that I did. The story, as previously stated, is for Young Adults but would be suitable for others as well. The language is clean and nothing in the story is graphic. It is a good read and it is fun and exciting. I really liked this book and I would definitely recommend it... just be prepared that it is a little odd (but that's half the charm of it).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This entire series is absolutely amazing. Mr. Sanderson has a way of manipulating your thoughts into considering that there actually is something as ridiculous as a conspiracy among the librarians of the world. I read this as a young adult, and feel, like in Lemony Snicket's SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, while this book is perfectly appropriate for any reading children it is funniest to more experienced readers who can recognize the clichés that Alcatraz repeatedly tears down. The monologues at the beginning of the chapters were, in my opinion, the best part of the series. This book is highly recommended as a light, quick read that will make you laugh out loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leigh_Whitehill More than 1 year ago
With a name like Alcatraz verses The Evil Librarians and a cover with a dinosaur in a dress coat on it, I felt it was sure, tell tale sign that I was about to read the most ridicules, fanatical and amusing book of all times. And surprisingly, the book delivered. I will admit I had my doubts. Any book that seems to pin librarians or libraries as "evil" I tend to be cautious about, seeing as how I am a librarian. But I must own up to the fact that within the first few chapters I was hooked. I was downright amazed and loving each new plot twist and creative idea kept the pages turning and had me wanting to read more. I really love how Brandon Sanderson was able to take what most would label in our society as a weakness or problem and turn it into that person's strength. (He gave a whole new meaning to having a "super power") I also believed he did a nice job on bringing the voice or his characters in the book. Although, I believe, his long (and somewhat tedious) discourses towards the beginning of each chapter could have been cut down some. But his twists with the characters relationships and the perceived ideologies of how the word is were very refreshing. I love a good book that can start me thinking about how my world is and why things are the way they are. Not only was I starting to believe that the world had more land, countries, and technology then I originally knew I also felt like I was almost helping add to the cause of the villains every day I went to work. Yes I got that caught up in it. Although, word to the wise. Anyone who does not like Lemony Snicket's writing I would advise you find a different book, perhaps one about happy elves. There writing styles are much the same. But if you're a fan of Snicket's writing, then you're in for a real treat. In fact I might even venture to say that I enjoyed Sanderson's writing style more than Snicket's. Honestly, this book was refreshingly light and playful and a wonderful breath of fresh air that I found exhilarating and enthralling. Two thumbs way, way up.
Jules_Olson More than 1 year ago
You may or may not know it but you live in a world where Dinosaurs are very much alive (speaking with British accents), bad romance novels make vicious demon-like creatures, and things that we think are a curse or fault are actually a talent. With this laugh out loud series you will find that Evil Librarians are fighting to dominate the Earth and control the knowledge that is given to those of you who would actually be reading this very review. This book is written from the view of Alcatraz Smedry, an orphan who has been going home to home breaking things (doorknobs, windows, an occasional chicken) all along the way. He doesn't mean for these things to happen, of course, however they just happen. It isn't until an unusual elderly man appears claiming to be his long lost (or rather VERY late) Grandfather Smedry that Alcatraz comes to learn that his ability to break things is actually a talent. With this new knowledge Alcatraz embarks on an adventure to recover stolen sands from his local Evil Oculator. Sands that are key to making powerful magical glasses that if in the wrong hands could do very bad things! Adventure throughout, hilarious comments, random thoughts, this fast paced book is a great read for the young going through an awkward stage in life searching for acceptance or for those who are "young at heart" looking for one of those books where the author calls himself out on several things that readers have experienced. But be careful, as the story is "told" from Alcatraz Smedry, a 13 year old, it might do you well to think as a 13 year old boy would. Trust me on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
premierbookreviewsdotcom More than 1 year ago
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson ISBN 9780439925525 Release Date: November 2008 Publisher: Scholastic At ConStellation where Brandon was a Guest of Honor last night I got my hands on a copy of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. I thought that I was a true Brandon Sanderson fan and had read all of his books. Come to find out, I completely missed the release of this Gem! Departing from his usual adult fantasy world, Brandon masterfully ventures into the world of Young Adult writing. Personally, I am a fan of Youth Novels. I started reading R.A. Salvatore when I was in high school and have been addicted since. However, if Brandon started the Alcatraz series when I was a teen, R.A. would have been a footnote in my teen reading career. As a teenager, I always thought myself slightly clumbsy. I tripped on stairs, knocked things over and generally left a path of destruction. Alcatraz, however, is a step above anything I could ever manage. He breaks everything. Seriously. Everything. He grabs a door handle and it falls apart. He tries to cook food and sets the kitchen on fire. Even with his talent for breaking things, he is still considered a hero to the people of the Free Kingdoms. Wait, you haven't heard of the Free Kingdoms? You must be from the Inner Libraria. That's OK. I didn't know I was from Inner Libraria either. Those darn Librarians are really good at controlling what information we have. Suffice it to say, there's a whole world we know nothing about. The map of the world you and I are familiar with is missing continents. Yes. Continents. You might wonder how the Librarians could hide continents from all of Inner Libraria but all I know is they are sneaky devils. Anyways, Alcatraz is a Smedry. All the Smedrys have amazing powers. Alcatraz is a very powerful Smedry. We know this because breaking things is an awe inspiring power. It's one of the rare ones. Also, his inheritance is also extremely powerful. It is a great honor to get a bag of sand. Again, if you're from Inner Libraria it probably doesn't make sense. Trust me, as soon as you learn what the world is really like, not what the Librarians want you to think, it will be crystal clear -even if you're not wearing glasses. In the end, I fell for Alcatraz's nefarious plot and could not put the book down. (Darn those devious authors!) From beginning to end it has a great pace. I enjoy Alcatraz's narration and I can't wait to read the sequel, Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones! Anyone looking for good clean fun will adore Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians.
Pepper-Pages More than 1 year ago
Brandon Sanderson is one of the best writers ever. He is an amazing adult sci-fi author and now he has delved into the child literature realm with amazing results. Alcatraz is loaded with outrageous characters, plots and subplots. Every minute spent in this book is fun, suspenseful and hilarious. The ideas in Brandon Sanderson's writings are so unique and you will never feel like this book is like anything else you've already read. My children loved this book and there were times that we were laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes. The Evil Librarians are villains worthy of our hero and the author spends much of the book talking to the reader, describing the craft of telling stories in witty, fun blurbs.
DragonHeart More than 1 year ago
This was a very entertaining book. The characters were funny, the plot was fairly exiting, and the general concept of the book was great. This book was so idiotic that I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
like i said, love the book .
CatsInSpace More than 1 year ago
Alcatraz is a young boy who is stuck in the foster system, moving from house to house because he has a way of somehow breaking something valuable at each home he visits. However, on his thirteenth birthday he receives a mysterious package containing a bag of sand, and his life takes an odd turn. Soon a man shows up in a self-driving car claiming to be Alcatraz's grandfather and wanting the sands - and Alcatraz - to come with him in a fight against...librarians? Only the sand has mysteriously disappeared. The story follows Alcatraz as he learns about the world as he knows it vs. reality. This story feels at times as if it were written by a librarian for librarians. The author references the uselessness of librarian training, librarian's propensity for packing books so tightly on the shelves no one can get them out, and librarians seeking to control the world. Most of the jokes seem as if written to cause librarians to laugh at themselves. Does this translate to the young reader? Perhaps for some, but not for this reader. I found myself mostly distracted by the narrator's constant asides to the reader. The author uses such an aside to start each chapter, usually trying to point out how hard it was to write this book or how lucky we are to have a copy or stressing he is not a hero. I found these parts of the text rather useless and they made me annoyed with the character. I would prefer the author had just let the story unfold (showing) without having Alcatraz constantly telling us about himself, his motives, his history, etc. I enjoyed some of the clever language used in this book, and the characters were pretty well developed with interesting talents. Overall, though, I wasn't too entertained by the story.
Mom_with_books More than 1 year ago
He had read all 5 of the Percy Jackson series and appreciated books with a great sense of humor. He found it with this 1st book and was very excited to find that it too was part of a series. I sent him the 2nd book (he is away at camp) and have pre-ordered the 3rd. I can't wait to read it too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago