“The Forbidden Library” is a quasi-steampunk, fantasy novel. Alice discovers that her world isn’t what it seems when she happens to overhear and see her father talking with a fairy. This leads to some circumstances that throws her world upside down. She ends up living with her “uncle” Geryon who has a library that she’s not allowed to visit unless she accompanied by Geryon. Of course she wants to discover the place for herself and finds that books aren’t what they appear to be in this library. She finds out she is a reader, someone who can read him/herself INTO a book. She meets a fellow reader in this library and adventures ensue.
A student recommended this book to me. I like ya and fantasy novels so at first I thought this might be a fun read. It started out well with the world building and character introduction. It starts to stagnate once we get into the plot. It felt like this book was written to be the first in a series so most of the plot points were left vague. We don’t get clear explanations about who Mother is (where did she come from? why does she stay?), why Alice doesn’t face dire consequences for her actions, or what side Geryon is on. Most of the time I don’t feel excluded from YA novels, but this time it felt like I was at a party to which I was not invited–that’s ok. I don’t think this is a bad book for young adults to read, I just wouldn’t prop this work up as the best of the bunch.