The idea of a book within a book isn’t a new idea—The Book Thief, Inkheart, and Fahrenheit 451 have all explored this concept. Still, it’s fun to think that the characters you’re reading about may show up in your living room and share their literary lives with you. In some cases, such as Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, the books become characters themselves. And for a quick, light-hearted read, check out Lane Smith’s It’s a Book. Although it’s a children’s picture book, the humor will definitely appeal to teens.
SLOAN, Robin. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Farrar, 2012. Tr. $25.00. ISBN 9780374214913.
Gr 10 Up—The debut of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is taking my library by storm. Partly, it’s the unique glow-in-the dark cover, but the story inside holds its own. Book lovers will find comfort in the dark, mysterious bookstore that’s open all hours of the day. Clay Jannon, experiencing the recession and out of a job, takes the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s. He soon realizes he’s not working in an ordinary store. A variety of quirky characters patronize the place, always “checking out” volumes, never buying. As Clay begins to unravel some of the store’s secrets, readers will be led on a journey that involves tech gadgets, clandestine societies, and the quest for answers. This is a tale that skillfully combines books and technology.
PICOULT, Jodi and van Leer, Samantha. Between the Lines. Emily Bestler/Simon Pulse, 2012. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781451635751.
Gr 6 Up—Bestselling author Jodi Picoult teams up with her daughter, Samantha van Leer, to write a book within a book. Delilah loves books—they are much more interesting than the kids at her high school. Her favorite fairy tale, Between the Lines, feels real, and it’s about to take a turn for the unbelievable, as prince Oliver starts to vent his frustrations over being a literary character and wishes for more depth. For all those who have imagined their favorite characters coming to life, this is a fun new read.
Other titles that feature books:
BRADBURY, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. S & S, 2012. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781451673319. Gr 9 Up.
FFORDE, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. Penguin, 2003. Tr $16.00. ISBN 9780142001806. Gr 10 Up.
FUNKE, Cornelia. Inkheart. Scholastic, 2009. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780545046268. Gr 5 Up.
SMITH, Lane. It’s a Book. Roaring Book, 2010. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781596436060. Gr 1 Up.
ZUSAK, Markus. The Book Thief. Knopf. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780375842207. Gr 9 Up.
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