St. Charles Herald-Guide

Book review: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore”

From staff and wire reports - October 4, 2013

Robin Sloane is the author of the novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. This mystery is set in modern day San Francisco at, unsurprisingly, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore.

A night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is not Clay Jannon’s first choice of profession. An out of work Web designer, he stumbles into the job, and he ends up with far more than he bargained for. The bookstore is less of a business and more of a front for a puzzling library, dubbed the "Wayback list" by Clay, frequented by strange visitors. With the help of Google employee and love interest, Kat Potente, and a few friends, Clay accidentally solves an ancient puzzle for a secret society and finds himself falling deeper into mysterious events.

Mysteries have never been my favorite genre, but this book managed to grab my attention through my love of books. Honestly this book would probably receive three out of five stars from me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The book is wonderfully written, but I find it hard to sympathize with Clay, the vaguely annoying narrator. I had been expecting a very different novel when I picked up this book, and it has unfortunately, negatively colored my review.

Claudette is a junior in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. She enjoys knitting, reading, and singing loudly.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published weekly in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program.

Claudette Breaux
Claudette Breaux