Skip to main content

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen, 343 pp, RL: TEEN


After reading my review, be sure to read my interview with Michelle Knudsen here!

When I heard the title of Michelle Knudsen's new novel, Evil Librarian, I got really excited. I didn't even need to know what the plot was, the mere idea of a  character who is a high school librarian AND a demon is hands-down awesome. Happily, Knudsen brings so much to the plot of this supernatural story, from some serious butt-kicking in the underworld using only a protractor and a biology textbook, to a high school production of Sweeney Todd, to a hilarious occult bookstore owner, to a romance where the shy backstage girl gets what she wants in the end, what she knows she has earned.

Appropriately enough,  Evil Librarian begins in Italian class, the "shining highlight" of Cyn Rothschild's Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, thanks to Ryan Halsey. Narrator Cyn swoons in a gushy but smart way over the handsome, almost unreal gorgeous athlete who also is the running star of the annual high school musical. In their review, Kirkus describes Cyn as enjoying a "healthy relationship with her own carnal desires," which is fantastically accurate. Knudsen, in the voice of Cyn, does a great job expressing those thoughts that run through everyone's minds when in arm's reach of a crush. Seeing Ryan pass in the hallway, Cyn's legs implore her to "release us to chase our destiny!" and it's hard for her to shake the desire to "throw him down and take a big juicy bite of his absolute deliciousness." Outside of Italian class, Cyn gets to see a fair bit of Ryan because she is the tech director for the fall musical and Ryan has been cast as Sweeney. 

Sadly, or, ultimately, happily, Cyn doesn't get much theater time with Ryan because the new (evil and smoking hot) librarian Mr. Gabriel shows up a few pages into the novel and chooses Annie, Cyn's somewhat sheltered best friend (who was moments earlier bemoaning the fact that she has never been into a guy the way Cyn is into Ryan) as his future queen, once he wins the fight for the demon throne. Annie is in instant crush-mode, spending all her time in the library with starry eyes. That is, when she's not using a strange new power that Mr. Gabriel has imbued her with, one that allows her to suck out a small part of the essence of a person with the touch of a hand. When Annie does this to Jorge, Ryan's best friend, it brings Ryan and Cyn (who learns that she possess an immunity to demon power that translates roughly into human language as being a "super-roach") together, first to figure out what Mr. Gabriel is doing at their school and, eventually, to fight to save Annie's life and possibly the lives of all their classmates.

I know I focused a lot on the romance in Evil Librarian, but there is so much more, from the brilliant design of Sweeney's barber chair that serves a dual purpose to the creepy rituals and demon action that gives the novel a suspenseful, sometimes bloody edge that is usually tempered with Cyn's hilarious internal monologue that frequently involves not being kissed by Ryan just when she thinks he might. Evil Librarian delivers on every promise that the superb title holds, and then some! Best of all, Knudsen has left a window open that hopefully will lead to two more visits to the underworld for Cyn in the near future...


Other books by Michelle Knudsen:


Big Mean Mike, illustrated by Scott Magoon.



The Library Lion illustrated by Kevin Hawkes





Soon to be a trilogy, the Dragon of Trelian and the sequel, 
The Princess of Trelian

Source: Review  Copy



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret) The Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…