Are you a good librarian or a bad librarian?
Marcus, along with his friends Lu and Theo, are struggling to make it through middle school. Lu gets a bad grade and Marcus' parents want him to be involved in extracurricular activities. At least things aren't as bad as they are at Coppell Middle School in Massachusetts, where disasters like the bleachers collapsing at the pep rally are starting to occur almost daily. When Marcus' key gets very warm, he visits Everett in the library and checks out the story of CMS. When he gets there, he manages to meet the evil Nate Christmas (who is busy trying to flood the boys' bathroom) as well as Ainsley, the preppy and peppy class president, and the painfully shy Kayla. . All three are frequently in the middle of the latest disturbance, but Marcus starts to realize that Ainsley is the most likely instigator of events. With the help of Lu and Theo, who also come to the school, Marcus is able to connect Ainsley and the school librarian to a coven that is trying to resurrect a witch with connections to Salem.
Aside from the creepy mystery, there are some really interesting middle school dynamics going on. While Nate is easily blamed for mischief because he's always in the middle of one scheme or another, it's far creepier to realize that Ainsley, the go-to girl for all events in the middle school, might be the one mysteriously creating trouble! No one will suspect the good girl, who will be given unprecedented access to the school, and unwarranted trust by her classmates! So much more havoc can be wreaked by such a person!
The Library itself is an intriguing space, and there is a lot left undiscovered about its secrets, although we do find out that they still use paper circulation cards. It's nice that Marcus is able to go to Everett for help; as scary as this series is, it's a good idea to have some adult back up just in case. I was very amused by Marcus' choice of extra curricular activity at the end of the book as well.
While there isn't as much about Marcus' biological parents in this book, the ending hints that the trio will investigate the disappearance of Lu's cousin next, and I'm hoping that we find out a little more backstory about both Marcus' family as well as the stories held by the library. We'll certainly have the idea reinforced that having a mechanical fortune teller tell you future is never a good idea! Readers who like MacHale's Morpheus Road series, as well as books by Hahn, Kehret, Poblocki and Barbara Brooks Wallace will scare themselves silly reading The Library with a flashlight under the covers.