Summer Hours at the Robber’s Library by Sue Halpern
Young, precocious tween Sunny tried to steal a dictionary from the local bookstore. Since it’s kind of hard to sneak a book of that size out from under the noses of the attentive staff she was caught and sent before a judge. The judge found the crime strange (to say the least) and didn’t feel Sunny was a danger to herself or others but needed to be taught a lesson. So he sends her to work five days a week during summer vacation at the local library in their small town in New Hampshire. Sunny is thrilled! She craves normalcy and the idea of a schedule is thrilling after living with her hippy parents and being homeschooled her whole life. Her new “boss” at the library, the head librarian Kit, is not as excited about her new employee. Kit escaped up here to get away from everyone and having this enthusiastic bookworm wiggle her way into her life is not what she had planned. Add in a stranger who turns up one day and parks himself at the library computers and befriends Sunny and the locals who also spend their hours at the library and things start to get much more complicated than Kit had hoped.
This is a great book for those who love reading, libraries, coming of age stories and stories of adults recreating themselves after life throws you a curveball that hits you smack in the forehead. The three main characters are well drawn and you want good things for each of them even if they weren’t always their best selves. It is a feel-good book without being saccharine. There is adversity, challenges and bad things happening to good people just like in reality; but overall this is a story with a positive vibe. The best way to illustrate this is the reason Sunny stole the dictionary: because all the stories that have even been or will ever be written are contained inside.