This was a lovely book. As my first audio-read experience, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer book to be read to me during one of the worst weeks of traffic ever. A big thank you to crystalclear for lending it to me!
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” follows unemployed Clay Jannon as he discovers the mysteries and secrets of a strange bookstore when he takes a job as the night clerk.
This book is fun and beautifully written with a collision of the musty, nostalgic world of old books and the rampant digital age. Sloan does a fabulous job of connecting these two worlds through his characters and their individual talents.
I felt like this book’s greatest achievement was its encapsulation of the 2008 crash and the Millennial problem. Clay is a smart and enthusiastic graphic arts graduate who finds himself unemployed and with no money after the company collapse of his 4–month first job. With no time to build a portfolio and no one to act as a job reference, Clay has no prospects, which is how he becomes employed on the graveyard shift at a 24-hour bookstore. However, Sloan also shows the other end of the Millennial equation in Neel and Kat, both of whom are Clay’s age, but are millionaire business owners and powerhouse coders at Google unaffected by the crash due to their digital capabilities.
Clay’s first response to his new job with long hours to sit in a musty bookstore waiting for customers is to try to use his graphic design skills and digital understanding to build an ad campaign to bring in customers. He wants to revitalize this store and get business going; bring it in to the 21st Century.
Several moments like this are peppered throughout the book, and they spoke to me, since anyone in the age-bracket of 25 – 35 who’s walked into an out-dated job system has been there. Sloan truly captures the Millennial experience in the modern workforce, and it was one of the things I loved most about this book.
Like crystalclear says in her review, the plot here isn’t perfect; characters are all suspiciously cooperative, problems are quickly fixed, and the strands of mystery come together far too easily in many cases. In the end, Sloan ties everything up with a nice, shiny bow, but even though I could have used a little more tension in places, or a bit more realism in problem solving, this book was a joy to read!