Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
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Annotation: On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.
Catalog Number: #110662
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2016
Illustrator: Lazo, Hayley,
Pages: 319 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7653-7894-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-7653-7894-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2015029041
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
On his thirteenth birthday, orphan Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand. In short order he's visited by his long-lost grandfather and some evil librarians. Sanderson gleefully deconstructs his fictional world, including Alcatraz's self-conscious narration. For all its self-aware preciosity, this still stands as a happily action-packed romp, with just the right amount of repartee and a cliffhanger ending.
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)
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 Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
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).-Arlene Garcia.
Word Count: 58,202
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 118054 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q42225
Lexile: 730L

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians is the first action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. These fast-paced and funny novels are now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo. On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things. "In this original, hysterical homage to fantasy literature, Sanderson's first novel for youth recalls the best in Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events ." - VOYA

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