Clay Jannon is an out of work art student in San Francisco. One day, as he is walking around the hilly streets, he comes across a small, narrow shop called Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore. Soon, Clay is climbing up the ladder to retrieve books as he works the bookstore’s night shift. While the bookstore is unusual in of itself, the customers who come in to ask for the strange tomes in the back are even more peculiar Clay senses a mystery and plunges himself into the investigation. What he uncovers is beyond his wildest dreams.
This book was incredible! Sloan has created a story with lots of intrigue, nerdiness, quirk, and thoughtfulness. I greatly enjoyed the conflict that sprang up as a result of Clay’s digging–I am fascinated by the relationship between print materials and technology, and I loved how that conflict played out in Sloan’s book. I also absolutely adored Clay and Mr. Penumbra as characters. Clay is understated, yet funny, and acts as a great, relatable narrator. Mr. Penumbra fits into the epic old man category; he is an endearing, energetic character, and Sloan painted him so clearly.
I was a little disappointed with the other characters in the story, but the exciting plot and Clay and Penumbra more than made up for it. Overall, this is a great adventure, and I highly recommend it!