Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians -- Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Smedry has lived in a lot of foster homes.  Twenty-seven of them, to be precise.  It isn't that he's a horrible person.  That's not to say that he's particularly lovable, either -- but he isn't violent or anything.  It's just that he breaks almost every single thing that he touches.  Literally.

On his thirteenth birthday, he receives his inheritance in the mail.

A bag of sand.

Within hours, the bag of sand has been stolen, he's met a grandfather he didn't know he had, been held at gunpoint, discovered that his talent for breaking things is an actual, honest-to-goodness Magical Talent, and that the world as we know it is controlled by Evil Librarians.

AlcatrazAlcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians wasn't actually written by Brandon Sanderson.  It was written by Alcatraz Smedry.  But because we live in the Librarian-controlled Hushlands, the book had to be published as fiction:

Hushlanders, I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you for reading this book.  I realize the difficulty you must have gone through to obtain it -- after all, no Librarian is likely to recommend it, considering the secrets it exposes about their kind.

Actually, my experience has been that people generally don't recommend this kind of book at all.  Perhaps you have had other kinds of books recommended to you.  Perhaps, even, you have been given books by friends, parents, or teachers, then told that these books are the type you "have to read."  Those books are invariably described as "important" -- which, in my experience, pretty much means that they're boring.  (Words like meaningful and thoughtful are other good clues.)

If there is a boy in these kinds of books, he will not go on an adventure to fight against Librarians, paper monsters, and one-eyed Dark Oculators.  In fact, the lad will not go on an adventure or fight against anything at all.  Instead, his dog will die.  Or, in some cases, his mother will die.  If it's a really meaningful book, both his dog and his mother will die.  (Apparently, most writers have something against dogs and mothers.)

Neither my mother nor my dog dies in this book.  I'm rather tired of those types of stories.  In my opinion, such fantastical, unrealistic books -- books in which boys live on mountains, families work on farms, or anyone has anything to do with the Great Depression -- have a tendency to rot the brain. To combat such silliness, I've written the volume you now hold -- a solid, true account.  Hopefully, it will help anchor you in reality.

I was a little shocked at how much I liked this book.  I'm usually not huge into silly (sorry Alcatraz -- I know that you're giving us The Real Truth here, but from my Hushlander perspective, silly is an apt description) and I'm usually not huge into humor that feels really self-aware (when I can picture the author giggling over his keyboard).  But it just WORKED for me.  It was funny.  There are cracks about everything from the Newbery Award to Harry Potter to Michael Crichton -- and while it's geared towards the middle-school boy crowd, I think there are a lot of adults who'll get a huge kick out of it.  Big Steve, THIS MEANS YOU.

Definitely try it on teen and tween fans of Artemis Fowl, Terry Pratchett and older fans of the Chet Gecko series.  I am TOTALLY looking forward to the next one.