The Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen was, admittedly, my first step into young adult fiction in quite a while. I purposely picked something up from the comedy genre to see if I could relate to it in any way and due to my time as a librarian.
I have to admit, Knudsen does a very good job at taking the subjects of friendship, young romance and teen drama, setting them against the background of a demonic invasion, and maintaining a readability throughout the book. While some would descend into an over the top, campy story, Evil Librarian remains lighthearted and a page-turner, while celebrating the teenage years.
The arrival of Mr. Gabriel, the new school librarian sets Cynthia Rothschild’s world into a whirlwind. Instead of being angsty, sharing secrets with her best friend, Annie, and crushing on her dream-boy, Ryan, she must save her school from a demonic invasion. Cynthia and Ryan find out that Mr. Gabriel is a demon of power, capable of making their worst fears come true, including involving Annie in a creepy, demonically influenced relationship that he needs to pursue his goal of becoming the demon-king.
I found myself rooting for Cynthia, cheering for her to get her friend back by vanquishing the demon, while finding success in the area of romance. The characters are all likable and the junior/senior involvement of Annie and Mr. Gabriel is handled tactfully. There are certainly enough twists and turns to keep the plot or the action from getting staid and stale. The humour definitely works, though there were few parts that I found myself laughing out loud at. That said, it probably speaks more to the age of the reader than the effectiveness of the humour.
Considering all of the above, the sequel, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, is on order and I will be first in line to see how Knudsen manages to continue the characters and if she maintains the freshness that this series brought to my reader’s catalog.