MMGM and #IMWAYR: The Lost Library!
Why, hello there! It's been a busy few weeks for me, but I'm mostly getting accustomed to grad school. On one hand, I feel like I'm less anxious than I've ever been at the start of a semester—on the other hand, that certainly doesn't mean I'm not anxious!
Anyway, I'm glad to poke my head out to share a few random thoughts with you, as well as a review of a book that nothing was going to prevent me from reading...
Let's dive in!
The Lost Library
(Forgive any confusing grammar—I drafted this late at night, when I was tired!)
Oh gosh, this was wonderful. I mean, I don't know what else you'd expect from Rebecca Stead (my favorite author ever) and Wendy Mass (whose books were a huge chunk of my childhood), but still. They did it once with Bob, and they've done it again.
This story is warm, gentle, and immersive, full of kind and thoughtful details that keep you glued to the page—I once stayed up until almost midnight trying to make a dent in the book. And it's a rare multi-POV book where you don't get bored of one POV and wish for another, but The Lost Library pulls it off.
Within an overarching mystery about the fire that destroyed Martinville's library decades ago, and at the same time that a little free library unites this community around the joy of books once again, we get to follow three characters changed by these events.
There's Evan, a fifth grader with two gentle parents, anxiety about leaving his beloved classroom behind for middle school, and plenty of determination to solve the mystery of the fire with his best friend, Rafe.
There's Mortimer, a cat who I desperately want to be my best friend (although that's neither here nor there) who is misunderstood by fellow animals, has the soul and attentive eye of a poet, and carries his own grief about the library.
And there's Al, a ghost librarian whose direction in life was shaped by books, leading her to the present, when she takes care of two ghosts, channels her energy into baking, and becomes intertwined with the little free library.
In this story, there are reveals to be had (I'm proud that I predicted some of them). There are truly beautiful character arcs. And there are scenes that feel like as much of a refuge as any book or library ever can.
And I love the brief notion that a "Great Reader" is not someone who reads complex books, or long books, or a whole lot of books, but simply someone who feels emotion around books. I suspect that means we're all Great Readers already (we as in the world), and that's a wonderful thing.
The Lost Library feels like everything you've ever loved about MG stories, packed into one—I particularly picked up on Kate DiCamillo vibes here. Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass have already proven their storytelling talent, but The Lost Library is a fresh new tale that pushes against your expectations—and pushes its way right into your heart.