From Publishers Weekly
Makkai shows promise in her overworked debut, an occasionally funny crime farce about a hapless librarian–cum–accidental kidnapper. Lucy Hull is a 26-year-old whose rebellion against her wealthy Russian mafia parents has taken the form of her accepting a children's librarian job in smalltown Missouri. After an unnecessarily long-winded first act, the novel picks up when Lucy discovers her favorite library regular, 10-year-old Ian Drake, hiding out in the stacks one morning after having run away from his evangelical Christian parents, who censor his book choices and are pre-emptively sending him to SSAD (Same-Sex Attraction Disorder) rehab, and Lucy soon aids and abets his escape. The tale of their subsequent jaunt across several state lines dodging cops, a persistent suitor of Lucy's, and a suspicious black-haired pursuer is fast-paced, suspenseful, and thoroughly enjoyable—the real meat of the book. Unfortunately, the padding around the adventure too often feels like preaching to the choir (censorship is bad, libraries and independent booksellers are good) and the frequent references to children's books—including a "choose-your-own adventure" interlude—quickly go from cute to irritating. There's great potential, but it's buried in unfortunate fluff. (June)
"[Lucy's] relationship with Ian is charming and original...A stylish and clever tale for bibliophiles who enjoy authors like Jasper Fforde and Connie Willis."
"Makkai takes several risks in her sharp, often witty text, replete with echoes of children's classics from Goodnight Moon
to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, as well as more ominous references to Lolita
. . . the moving final chapters affirm the power of books to change people's lives even as they acknowledge the unbreakable bonds of home and family. Smart, literate and refreshingly unsentimental."
proves [Makkai] is a great writer...This is a wonderfully entertaining story packed with moral conundrums and beautiful writing."
-Patrick Neale, co-owner, Jaffé & Neale Bookshop & Café, in The Bookseller