Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. (MG, YA, Everybody Else Too)


Sanderson, Brandon. 2007. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. Scholastic. 307 pages.

So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of Evil Librarians. As you might imagine, that sort of situation can be quite disturbing. It does funny things to the brain to be in such danger -- in fact, it often makes a person pause and reflect upon his life. If you've never faced such a situation, then you'll simply have to take my word. If, on the other hand, you have faced such a situation, then you are probably dead and aren't likely to be reading this.

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians is one of those rare gems of a book where you could open it to practically any page and find treasure. It's funny. It's fun. It's exciting. It's clever. Take for instance, this little treasure found at the beginning of chapter four:

Hushlanders, I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you for reading this book. I realize the difficulty you must have gone through to obtain it -- after all, no Librarian is likely to recommend it, considering the secrets it exposes about their kind.

Actually, my experience has been that people generally don't recommend this kind of book at all. It is far too interesting. Perhaps you have had other kinds of books recommended to you. Perhaps, even, you have been given books by friends, parents, or teachers, then told that these books are the type you "have to read." Those books are invariably described as "important" -- which in my experience, pretty much means that they're boring. (Words like meaningful and thoughtful are other good clues.)

If there is a boy in these kinds of books, he will not go on an adventure to fight against Librarians, paper monsters, and one-eyed Dark Oculators. In fact, the lad will not go on an adventure or fight against anything at all. Instead, his dog will die. Or, in some cases, his mother will die. If it's a really meaningful book, both his dog and his mother will die. (Apparently most writers have something against dogs and mothers.)

Neither my mother nor my dog dies in this book. I'm rather tired of those types of stories. In my opinion, such fantastical, unrealistic books -- books in which boys live on mountains, families work on farms, or anyone has anything to do with the Great Depression -- have a tendency to rot the brain. To combat such silliness, I've written the volume you now hold -- a solid, true account. Hopefully, it will help anchor you in reality.

So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them that you don't read "fantasy," because you prefer stories that are real. Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.

I think everyone should read this book. Seriously. It's the story of a boy--Alcatraz Smedry--who receives his inheritance--a bag of sand--on his thirteenth birthday. His parents are dead, and he's been in the foster care system for years. He has difficulties in settling down with families--he's been moved from foster home to foster home--because he has a way of breaking things just by touching them. When we first meet Alcatraz, he accidentally has broken a stove and set the kitchen on fire. Most would say this 'gift' makes Alcatraz extremely unlucky. But, it may just be his saving grace. When a mysterious old man claiming to be his Grandpa Smedry appears the day after his birthday, the boy is in for a shock or two. Fortunately for us readers, we're along for the ride! What follows is one exciting adventure. Grandpa Smedry claims this world is controlled by a cult: a cult of evil Librarians. Evil librarians that have stolen Alcatraz's inheritance: the bag of sand is missing! Can these two team up and reclaim what is rightfully theirs?


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Subscribe to receive updates in your favorite reader.

8 comments:

Tricia 11:33 AM  

I just picked it up at the library yesterday. I can't wait!

DesLily 12:32 PM  

this one sounds like it's about to go on my wish list.. can't do much else right now, but this does sound cute and I could use a smile!

Iryna 12:53 PM  

Really well written review! Do you know what would be really funny? If this book DID end up winning an award. I wonder what readers would say about that excerpt in Chapter 4 then!

Chris 10:16 PM  

Ha! This sounds so awesome!! I can't wait to read this one!

Jules 9:40 AM  

Haha! I may have to make my way down to the library for this. (As I am one of those "evil" librarians" it looks like a funny book. Thanks for the great and entertaining review!

Anonymous,  7:05 PM  

I have this book at home. It's hilarious! I couldn't put it down when I first started reading it, and have sense read it a couple of times over.

Zibilee 5:57 PM  

This looks like a really fun read. Glad you enjoyed it!

Peter Ahlstrom 6:24 PM  

The sequel Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones is also out, and the third book Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia comes out in October.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP