Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

penumbra“There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.” 

Clay Jannon’s skyrocketing career nosedives when the Great Recession hits. Out of desperation he takes the night shift at a mysterious bookstore run by the enigmatic Mr. Penumbra. Strange customers come and borrow strange, beautiful books Clay has never even heard of. Something important is happening at Mr. Penumbra’s run-down bookstore and Clay is determined to find out what. Using all his resources–including the entire Google complex, an anonymous hacker, his millionaire nerdy best friend, and his own ingenuity–Clay delves into the world of ancient cult societies and literary secrets.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore won an Alex Award a few years ago. The Alex Awards are given to books published originally for adults that have teen appeal. Although all the characters in this book are in their mid-twenties (or much older) teen readers may relate to their humor and worries about jobs, the economy, their friends, romantic relationships, and the future in general. As a narrator Clay is engaging and funny—never pretentious and always curious. This book makes the print books versus eReaders debate irrelevant by showing how fluidly the two mediums work together for modern generations. It is crack for tech junkies and bibliophiles alike. Most importantly, no matter who you are, it makes you wonder about the secrets of the universe.

5/5 Stars


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