Originally posted 2016-02-16 12:00:30.
I have pretty low expectations anymore, but Evil Librarian is a surprisingly clever YA novel that actually exceeded those – albeit modest – expectations. It still tends to be a bit repetitive and long-winded; but for the most part, Michelle Knudsen’s journey to Hell is a rewarding read.
The below excerpt pretty well summarizes the plot of Evil Librarian. Be warned, it doesn’t sound very promising:
He [Ryan Halsey] turns to look at me. There are so many things I want to say. An evil librarian is taking over the school. He appears to be making my best friend his special library monitor. I am afraid that he knows that I suspect him. I am also afraid that if this craziness continues, the school community will never get to experience your portrayal of Sweeney Todd, which I think would be a terrible crime. I would also like to kiss you. Evil Librarian p. 68
On one hand, Knudsen’s novel is a typical YA novel with a lovesick teenage protagonist and her oh-so-dreamy crush squaring off against an ominous antagonist together. Cyn constantly describes the things that Ryan does to her “nerve endings,” which is . . . uncomfortable. On the other hand, Evil Librarian stands out in that Knudsen is consciously and intentionally playing within the paradigms of the genre. She employs the sappy love story, the conveniently absent/uninterested parents, and the best friend conflict, but turns YA on its head by adding a troop of fiery and entertaining demons to the mix.
Evil Librarian doesn’t take itself too seriously. Add to that a colorful cast of characters and a performance of Sweeney Todd, and you’ve got a completely unique and humorous addition to the YA world.
Previously published on Danetrain.com on February 14, 2015