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The borrower
Rebecca Makkai
Adult Fiction MAKKAI

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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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This entertaining first novel reads like a liberal librarian's illicit fantasy-save a child from an overbearing, ultrareligious mother by surreptitiously introducing him to new ideas through great literature. Lucy Hull is a young, accidental children's librarian with few friends. Her one interest is ten-year-old voracious reader Ian, who she predicts will come out one day. Lucy willfully ignores the list of forbidden subjects that Ian's mother presents to her, checking out books for him on her own library card. When Lucy discovers Ian camped out at the library, backpack and getaway plan at the ready, it doesn't take much convincing for her to drive off with him, launching a wacky, aimless cross-country road trip. Lucy is a self-centered, exasperating heroine, but her relationship with Ian is charming and original. VERDICT Librarians may beef that Lucy's reading suggestions and Makkai's descriptions of library practice are not current, but the general public probably won't notice. Overall, a stylish and clever tale for bibliophiles who enjoy authors like Jasper Fforde and Connie Willis. [See Prepub Alert, 12/13/10.]-Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lucy Hull
Children's librarian; helps Ian smuggle books past his mother; discovers Ian hiding out in the library after hours; desperate to save Ian from his family and the pastor; embarks on a road trip wtith Ian.

Ian Drake
Age: 10
Has an overbearing mother; addicted to reading; enrolled in antigay classes with the local pastor; hides out in the libraey after hours; embarks on a road trip with Lucy.

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