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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Ninja Librarians Blog Tour {Review & Interview}

After some technical difficulties and delays, I'm thrilled to have The Ninja Librarians Blog Tour stopping by today with my Review and Author Interview...

The Ninja Librarians: the accidental keyhand
by Jen Swann Downey
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians
Dorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor's closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch's Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.
Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

Jennifer Swann Downey’s The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand is an action-packed, super creative, and captivating middle-grade read that combines all my favorite things: books, libraries, adventure, and swords!

Dorrie Barnes, swords-woman; adventure seeker; overdue library book offender, and her brother Marcus stumble upon an ancient secret and the thrill of a lifetime when they chase a pet mongoose into their local library. They fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library, home of a thousand libraries and a society of sword-wielding, ninja librarians. These ninja librarians protect writers and their words, and their secrets must be protected at all cost. Dorrie wants nothing more than to join this society, and when a traitor turns ups, she gets her chance to prove her worth.

The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand is bursting with excitement, mystery, thrills, and imagination! Fresh and fun, clever and charming, this story delighted and entertained me from beginning to end. Let’s be honest, it just doesn’t get any cooler than fierce, sword-wielding,ninja librarians who can visit libraries all over the world and throughout time. Downey has taken this spectacular premise and, using her wonderful way with words, has created pure book magic!

With a library full of sparkle and shine, Downey’s storytelling is pitch-perfect for the middle-grade crowd. Readers will love falling down that hole with Dorrie and Marcus and exploring the massive world it leads to. Petrarch’s Library, with its connections to other times and places around the world, makes for an inspiring and endless setting. Part Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood, and Narnia, this world is brimming with wonders, amazing things to be learned, and fantastic discoveries to be made. Dorrie and Marcus’ adventures in this world take them from sword lessons with Cyrano de Bergerac to Ancient Greece to putting on a play with the Casanova...and, of course, there’s danger. Wonderful, spine-tingly, exhilarating danger!

But, luckily, our young heroine and hero are more than capable of dealing with such danger! Dorrie, Marcus, and their new friends at Petrarch’s Library, make for an exciting, eccentric cast of characters. I just love Dorrie’s feisty, courageous spunk and Marcus’s goofy, amusing humor. Young readers will easily be able to connect with these two and root for them.

Crazy twists and turns, unexpected friends and foes, and some surprising revelations all lead to a pretty epic showdown and ending that left me wanting more and so excited for further books!

My Final Thoughts: In The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, Jennifer Downey brings history to life and celebrates literature through page-turning adventure and addicting storytelling. A wildly fun must read!

What three words best describe The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand?
Snickerful,. Fantastical, Ox-hearted.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand a try?
Ingredients: Girl with sword, mad warrior lybrarians, a magical library with wings sticking out into the past, ornery mongoose, funny brother, seriously important mission.
Grab a copy of The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand and answer the following:
favorite chapter?
Oh, the agony. But I’ll say Chapter 10: A Little Night Music. For the mix of cozy and madcap
favorite page?
Page 172 . For the mix of fact and fiction
favorite character?
Besides my mix of a dauntful, dauntless heroine? Cyrano de Bergerac
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:
-- In the morning brightness, Dorrie noticed that over the mantel hung an enormous black chalkboard painted with a grid of white lines. Chalked in words crowded in between the lines. At the top, large letters shifted and swam like eels before Dorrie’s eyes, finally spelling out the words: “Mission Docket.”
“Why do the words in this place DO that?” asked Dorrie. --
Where did the crazy awesome idea for The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand come from? How did the story come to be?
The story revolves around a kid, Dorrie, stumbling upon the secret headquarters of a group of warrior lybrarians whose mission is to protect those whose words get them into trouble. It’s an uncomfortable time in Dorrie’s life when she’s losing her faith in her old vision about how she’s going to fight the world’s villains, and hasn’t yet conjured a new vision. I believe her conundrum came from my own memories of being a kid who imagined responses to threatening social realities like war, violence,  racism, totalitarianism,, etc in games of “pretend”, and had to face bumping up against the limits of that strategy, as I got older.
As for the idea for the world in which her story takes place…
With all my soul, I have loved libraries since I remember loving anything. Always, they seemed too be condensed multiverses, with every book a doorway into another reality. Similarly, librarians have always struck me as powerful, heroic, and mysterious guardians of this multiverse. Imagining them as literal warriors took so very little effort.
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at blundering foolishly forward. This, of course, is also the least awesome thing about me.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that I am a terribly irresponsible library book borrower.
The last great book I read was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Mm. I really shouldn’t answer such question on an empty stomach.
About that bottom cakey part…chocolate shot through with swirls of raspberry, vanilla, and secret messages written on tiny marzipan scrolls. On top, a great steep dollop of white icing worked into the architectural tangle that is Petrarch’s Library.  Embedded in both parts? An abundance of spun sugar windows that you can only see with a magnifying glass.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Jen! That cupcake sounds superb!!

Jen Swann Downey's non-fiction pieces have appeared in New York Magazine, the Washington Post, Women's Day, and other publications. Her first middle-grade novel, THE NINJA LIBRARIANS, will be published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, April 1, 2014. Jen divides her time between libraries and other places, and will never stop looking for lickable wallpaper.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

This sounds wonderfully fun, love the mix of fact and fiction plus ninja librarians, sounds way cool. Great review and interview.