Read the accidental keyhand by Jen Swann Downey Online


Group age: MG (10-14)Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librariansDorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor's closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch's Library -theGroup age: MG (10-14)Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librariansDorrie Barnes had no idea an overdue library book would change her life. When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase her pet mongoose into the janitor's closet of their local library, they accidentally fall through a passage into Petrarch's Library -the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians who have an important mission: protect those whose words have gotten them into trouble. Anywhere in the world and at any time in history.Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society. But when a traitor surfaces, she and her friends are the prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?...

Title : the accidental keyhand
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 17845804
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the accidental keyhand Reviews

  • John Gibson
    2020-01-02 11:18

    go to the card catalogue. find the brass pull plate marked 'fu-fy'. pull out the long skinny drawer and finger through the cards till you get to 'fun'.bingo-- 'the ninja librarians' by jennifer swann downey.see also: 'wacky', 'rollicking', 'subversive [sub-heading: subtly]', 'educational [sub-heading: painlessly]', 'memorable', and 'middle grade fiction adults will totally enjoy'. lots of categories for one book, but 'the ninja librarians, (like petrarch's library, its main setting) contains volumes: fast-paced adventure, coming of age, fantastical universe, alternate history, to name a few.the whole is woven together with real panache and skill by downey. she's clearly an author confident in young reader's ability to grab tight, hang on for the ride, enjoy fabulous scenery, hold their breath, and let out quite a few cheers along the way. the embedded belief system, built on bedrock of free expression, the value of ideas, our debt to history, and the profound bravery of intellectual courage is seamless, essential, and right on time.i'm 48 years old; an omnivorous, yet discriminating, reader. i felt like i was 12 again, up late, under the covers, with a flashlight.can't wait for the next one.hurry up, ms. downey!

  • Wanda
    2020-01-01 13:00

    ***Wanda's Summer Carnival of Children's Literature***Dorrie is not your typical little girl—she lives to re-enact swordplay and loves her acting coach. So imagine her excitement when she and her brother Marcus fall through a hole in a closet in their public library and discover the mysterious world of Petrach’s Library. Training for ‘lybrarians’ here is somewhat different from our world, including cataloguing, deception and impersonation, publishing law, stealth and illicit entry, library organization, unarmed combat, research skills, armed combat, book repair, fire and explosives, patron relations, horsemanship, water training, espionage, escape and concealment, meteorology, geography and field survival, amongst other skills. Her desire to learn swordplay can be indulged and used for good.I never went to library school, but this one sounds a bit more intriguing!Dorrie and Marcus have lots of obstacles to overcome and it is a grand adventure. Very entertaining even for adult readers (at least those who love libraries).

  • Mary Summer
    2020-01-19 12:12

    THE NINJA LIBRARIANS is a rocking middle grade of total win! I loooooove the world the author has set up. It rivals Hogwarts, in my opinion, for sheer awesomeness. I mean, a library floating in the ether of space-time with portals into all the ages of the world? Librarians who fight, sometimes with swords!, all acts of censorship ever perpetrated in the history of everything? Sign me up! Against this fantastic backdrop, our intrepid heroine Dorrie becomes an accidental key hand with access through all the portals connected to the library. She races to learn everything she can about the library while trying to find an important item she accidentally stole and then lost. The best part of the book is the action-packed ending, complete with sword fights, surprising reveals, and the fate of the world at stake. Loved this book! It blends the best of swash-buckling adventure with a profound reverence for books.

  • Monica Babaian
    2020-01-12 12:01

    When I got my ARC of The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey over the weekend, I was thrilled. It seems like I waited forever to get approval for the ARC. I must admit, it was the title itself that attracted my attention. Ninjas are awesome! Librarians are awesome(r)! Put the two together, and it’s an explosion of awesomeness. At least, that’s what was going on in my mind as I requested the preview of The Ninja Librarians from NetGalley. The Ninja Librarians is Downey’s first novel, which is already being set up as a series of books. In this first novel, swash-buckling Dorothea Barnes (aka Dorrie), and her brother, Marcus, accidentally stumble into Petrarch’s Library, and a secret society of fighting “lybrarians.” Although most of the story is set in the time-bending Petrarch’s Library, the theme of the book is linked to modern-day as recent news reports point to an increase in world-wide censorship. The purpose of this secret society is to travel through the history of mankind and try to save some of the world’s greatest thinkers from torture and death for challenging the status quo. (Did you know that a jury convicted Socrates for impiety and “corrupting youth” and condemned him to death by hemlock? It’s mentioned in the book!) Other influential persons in history mentioned in this book include Cyrano de Bergerac, Timotheus of Miletus, and Saul of Tarus who is also known as Paul the Apostle. During their time in Petrarch’s Library, Dorrie and Marcus have to deal with difficult circumstances. None of the lybrarians anticipated an opening between the 21st Century and Petrarch’s Library, and the two newcomers are regarded by some as spies, members of the Foundation which wants to destroy the lybrarians’s work to undo censorship. Nonetheless Marcus is allowed to start an apprenticeship with his new love interest, and Dorrie talks her way into a sword apprenticeship with Cyrano de Bergerac, who teachers her a valuable lesson about her own desire to censor a rival back home. There is a lot of action in The Ninja Librarians. It is full of sword fights, spying, close calls and double crossing. But there are also lots of funny moments, a la Marcus and his Star Wars fascination. In fact, Marcus persuades Casanova to change some of the dialog one of his plays and title it “The War of the Stars.”The writing in this book keeps the story moving along at a fast pace. But what I think the message in the book is even more important than its ability to keep readers engaged. It is imperative for our young readers to understand the dangers faced by the greatest authors and philosophers in our history. Without their courage to challenge conventional wisdom and unwillingness to back down, Western civilization would not have advanced to the point which it has today. We owe these great thinkers our gratitude for being brave and refusing to bow down to political pressures. We also owe Jen Swann Downey our gratitude for keeping their memory alive by honoring their work in such a way that incorporates the interests of today’s youth. The book is set to be released in April 2014. Publisher recommends for ages 9 and up. I highly recommend to teachers, librarians and parents of middle grade readers. Author website:

  • Patty Nourse
    2020-01-25 06:03

    I think many of us have a longing to identify the "Enemy" from the stream of bad news, suffering, and despair that plagues our world. And we secretly hope that just beneath our skin lies a sword wielding hero who will take that enemy on, once identified. In this wonderful adventure, Dorrie, awaiting and preparing for just such an opportunity, unexpectedly finds herself along with her brother, Marcus, embroiled in a battle against "Oppression" that is being fought in the noble houses called Libraries - those sanctuaries of free speech - by the great warriors, Lybrarians. The author, Jen Swann Downey, heroic herself, in her quest to shine a light on the heroes throughout history who have bravely asserted their right to speak in spite of threat of imprisonment, torture, and death has skillfully created a warm, humorous, and intelligent adventure in the exciting world of Petrarch's Library with just enough historic "name dropping" to incite that noble ally, "Curiosity". Great characters, exciting adventure, and a heroic quest makes this book a very good read.

  • Sam
    2020-01-18 13:00

    Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley for this ARC.2.5With a title like Ninja Librarians, how could this book not be amazing? Unfortunately, despite the unique and interesting premise, what readers are left with is a very one-dimensional story with not enough of that unique spark to keep it engaging.I think this book will be a five star read for a lot of people, but where this book fell short with me was the fact that everything in it felt same-y throughout. The tone is consistent, but never interesting enough that I found myself impressed. The idea of Librarians as ninjas is fabulous and if you consider the line of work, they really are in a lot of ways, but how its presented here -- I just wanted more from it than Librarians are sneaky and can do kung fu.One thing I have to praise Ninja Librarians on is its atmosphere. Petrarch Library, as described in the text, is vivid and its easy to feel lost within the library and its walls. It's no wonder then that Dorrie is so in love with the place and when she first encounters it. I actually thought Dorrie was wonderful -- she has all the curiosity and tenacity a girl her age should have, but the rest of the cast was so unmemorable and one note that I had a hard time remember each one because, "omg ninja librarians." I need more than a stereotype to keep me invested in the characters, and I felt like Downey wrote caricatures for everyone but Dorrie.Ninja Librarians is not a bad book, but for me it needed more than a quirky premise to stay memorable. The writing is charming, the humor is spot-on, if a touch cheesy, but what this book has, that I will give it credit for, is that it has a ton of heart, and for what its worth, knows its audience very well. I still think the premise is brilliant, I just wish there had been more variation in the plot and a lot less emphasis on just the unique premise alone.

  • Josiphine/Tessa
    2020-01-12 10:17

    It does make me feel like a sub-standard librarian but only because I'm so tied to my college classes that I am too busy for SAVING THE WORLD, TIME-TRAVELING, FENCING LESSONS, AND SWORD AND PEN FESTIVALS. Or, my drafting papers for the Lybrariad were lost in the mail and are somewhere in outer Mongolia. I'm favoring the latter. Heartily reccommended with two nitpicks: The main character's brother is cooler than she is, and the author spells librarian, Lybrarian. It's worth reading anyway.Original review:This might make me feel like a sub-standard librarian...but I'm going to read it anyway.

  • Laura
    2019-12-25 09:07

    Oh, I loved this book, mainly for the author's delicious way with words. This is the kind of writing that just zips along and carries you from one character to the next. It didn't hurt that the book tackled one of my personal favorite topics: secret and lost libraries. I really hope there will be more ninja librarians to come!

  • Aeicha
    2020-01-07 07:19

    Jennifer Swann Downey’s The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand is an action-packed, super creative, and captivating middle-grade read that combines all my favorite things: books, libraries, adventure, and swords!Dorrie Barnes, swords-woman; adventure seeker; overdue library book offender, and her brother Marcus stumble upon an ancient secret and the thrill of a lifetime when they chase a pet mongoose into their local library. They fall through a passage into Petrarch’s Library, home of a thousand libraries and a society of sword-wielding, ninja librarians. These ninja librarians protect writers and their words, and their secrets must be protected at all cost. Dorrie wants nothing more than to join this society, and when a traitor turns ups, she gets her chance to prove her worth.The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand is bursting with excitement, mystery, thrills, and imagination! Fresh and fun, clever and charming, this story delighted and entertained me from beginning to end. Let’s be honest, it just doesn’t get any cooler than fierce, sword-wielding,ninja librarians who can visit libraries all over the world and throughout time. Downey has taken this spectacular premise and, using her wonderful way with words, has created pure book magic!With a library full of sparkle and shine, Downey’s storytelling is pitch-perfect for the middle-grade crowd. Readers will love falling down that hole with Dorrie and Marcus and exploring the massive world it leads to. Petrarch’s Library, with its connections to other times and places around the world, makes for an inspiring and endless setting. Part Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood, and Narnia, this world is brimming with wonders, amazing things to be learned, and fantastic discoveries to be made. Dorrie and Marcus’ adventures in this world take them from sword lessons with Cyrano de Bergerac to Ancient Greece to putting on a play with the Casanova...and, of course, there’s danger. Wonderful, spine-tingly, exhilarating danger!But, luckily, our young heroine and hero are more than capable of dealing with such danger! Dorrie, Marcus, and their new friends at Petrarch’s Library, make for an exciting, eccentric cast of characters. I just love Dorrie’s feisty, courageous spunk and Marcus’s goofy, amusing humor. Young readers will easily be able to connect with these two and root for them.Crazy twists and turns, unexpected friends and foes, and some surprising revelations all lead to a pretty epic showdown and ending that left me wanting more and so excited for further books!My Final Thoughts: In The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, Jennifer Downey brings history to life and celebrates literature through page-turning adventure and addicting storytelling. A wildly fun must read!

  • Laura Lucanidae
    2020-01-10 10:17

    The book is fantastic! Dorrie and her older brother Marcus are participating in a summer festival in which they will perform mock sword fights. Dorrie especially loves sword fighting, and dreams of being a real swords-woman, heroically fighting real battles. In a rush of bizarre circumstances, Dorrie, Marcus and a pet mongoose named Moe find themselves one instant in the staff room of the Passaic Public Library, the next in the labyrinth corridors of Petrarch's Library, outside the bounds of place and time. The library turns out to be populated with sword-wielding "lybrarians" who both know the art of library science and the way of the warrior. Their mission is to defend free speech while time-traveling throughout the ages. Will the lybrarians of Petrarch's Library accept Dorrie and Marcus as apprentices, thereby making Dorrie's dream come true? Will Dorrie and Marcus ever make it back to Passaic? Or will sinister forces defeat the brave lybrarians? You'll have to read it to find out!This book is very literate. You can definitely tell that the author reads a great deal, because there are a lot of good vocabulary words at work within its pages. I can't imagine better incentive for a kid to learn a few new words than seeing them worked into a really good story. I'm really glad her editor didn't tell her to revise it in order to dumb it down, which I understand does happen. My son (9) and I both give it two thumbs up! My son likes adventure stories for sure, but they have to have heart and also a sense of humor. This one hit a home run. The book is clearly meant to be the first of a series and we can't wait to see the sequel!I had only one minor quibble with the book, which arose because I was reading it aloud to my son. The author refers to regular, ordinary librarians, and then refers to the specially trained staff of Petrarch's Library as "lybrarians". The distinction is confusing initially to her main characters, who are hearing the word "lybrarian" spoken and not understanding that there is a distinction. They in turn confuse others towards the end of the book by using the word "lybrarian". This isn't really an issue if you are reading the book to yourself and see the spelling difference, but it is quite confusing if you're reading it aloud. I'd hope an audiobook version would get produced, but this would be a conundrum for the voice artist.

  • Alexandria
    2020-01-17 07:57

    Twelve-year-old Dorrie Barnes has “never been orphaned, kidnapped, left for dead in the wilderness, or bitten by anything more bloodthirsty than her little sister.” She has no supernatural relations, nor is she particularly more deserving than anyone else. She is the UN-Harry Potter. And that’s a good thing. Because she’s a heroine with true ninja potential…and has loving parents and a brother who feeds the chickens from a shoot in his bedroom.The Ninja Librarians: Accidental Keyhand paints a portrait of a loving family, with a house alive with layers of people, objects, and plans. We get the idea that the best order is one that is always in flux. (Later in the book we read, “’Someone’s cleaned everything up!’ ‘Always a mistake,’ panted Marcus, expressing a long-heldbelief.”) There is a mysterious great-aunt living in the house and sometimes in conversation with suspicious visitors. And there is room for dreams of sword fighting and heroine-ism.Dorrie has wielded a pretend sword for a while now, but when she is challenged by the character-challenged Tiffany she has to examine her real fighting abilities. Tiffany has had years of fencing experience. The Ninja Librarians proves that the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” sets up a false choice. You can have both the pen and the sword, and one can help the other. While Dorrie and her brother Marcus fall into Petrarch’s Library, they learn about authors who risked their lives by writing the truth, and they learn about the Lybrarians who protect them at different times in history, times that are all accessible from the central library. The writers’ universe is constantly shifting in energy and situations that Dorrie and Marcus learn to navigate—eventually with the same deftness that they live the rhythms of their own bubbling household. Dorrie meets Tiffany again, after sword-fighting lessons from Cyrano de Bergerac and after Lybrarian training. But as is often the case, when the foes meet, the stakes that were once high have become lower, and what is really important to protect becomes knowledge and truth.

  • Elizabeth
    2020-01-25 14:18

    I so want to be a Ninja Lybrarian!! I can't wait for the sequel!

  • Charity
    2020-01-04 13:57

    My synopsis: Homeschooled siblings Dorrie and Marcus accidentally discover a secret doorway to a hidden library full of warrior librarians where they have to prove themselves, help some new friends, learn some new skills, confront some paradoxes, and eventually find their way back to their own time and, with any luck, save the day.This review copy came to me in a rather different way than the others I've reviewed. Last fall, I saw a note on one of my homeschool lists that Jen Downey had a new book coming out and was looking to have a review copy make a reading tour among the homeschooling community in several states. Excited to read a book from a fellow homeschooling mom, I responded immediately and said, "Yes! Please put me on your list!"I got the book last week when a local homeschool mom delivered it to my driveway as my spouse and I were digging out from the first snowstorm of the new year. I probably should have tossed down my snow shovel and dug into the book right away, but I made myself finish City of God first. As soon as I'd finished my business with St. Augustine yesterday, I started reading The Ninja Librarians.I'm always hesitant about reading review copies, unsure sometimes whether some of the continuity errors will be caught and corrected before the final version comes out and whether I should say anything about it when I review the book. But inevitably I take off my editor hat (although if anyone felt inspired to give me a job copyediting review copies, I would be all over that) and just settle into the book.That's what I did with Dorrie, Marcus, Ebba, and the rest of the gang, and it was phenomenally easy to do. The plot was intricate and satisfying, and most of the characters grew and developed over the course of the book, which doesn't always happen with middle-grade children's books.The homeschool angle is subtle, but the love of learning comes through loud and clear; I recognize the piles and piles of books throughout the house all too well. As someone who routinely has dreams about spending the night in the library (the most recent was last month, and in it, the librarians caught me and forced me to enter a clinical trial for a new bug repellent, sending me home with an aquarium filled with scorpions, ticks, and wasps and a hope that I'd gotten the active compound), this book was a pleasure to read. It's kind of a cross between my own dreams (minus the stinging bugs), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Harry Potter.Downey has done a beautiful job of weaving the story together, delivering believable---and likable---characters, and delivering a heart-pounding climax. Dorrie was the most well developed of the characters, followed by Elder and Savi. These were the characters whom I could see most clearly. Marcus and Ebba remained a bit flat; I would have liked to have had a little more about them. And the mean-girl nemeses in both Passaic and in Petrarch's Library were pretty much just outlines, but that didn't bother me too much. They served their purpose, and maybe we'll get to know them better in future books.I loved the element of Dorrie's growing up when she realizes that modern, non-fictional baddies aren't as clear-cut as they are in books. Much of her growth comes from accepting the nuances of life---although she gets out of a bit of this by getting a chance to travel through time and fight baddies while she's learning these lessons.If I'd not waited so long to pick up this book, I would have shared it with my eight-year-old daughter. I think she would have really enjoyed it. But, I've got to get it in the mail to the next person on the list. I'm holding up the works!When this book comes out in April, I will definitely share it with my daughter. The Ninja Librarians isn't just a good first novel; it's just a good novel.I'll be watching for more from Downey about the Ninja Librarians of Passaic.

  • Meredith
    2020-01-11 06:16

    For several reasons I felt obliged to read this. I liked the beginning (your standard secret-world, eccentric-family, madcap kids' adventure), was about to give up in the middle (great world-building*, but not enough New to keep my attention), but the last third grabbed me again with a few unexpected turns of events, so I'm glad I stuck it out. It was fun. I imagine this would be a good one to read together as a family.Historical/classical tie-ins and awesome camp-type place where you learn cool stuff like Lightning Thief, secret world accessed by cupboard where time moves differently like Narnia, and a little Rex Libris/Noah Wyle librarian-hero glitter thrown in to pull in the book nerds. It's a good mix, you have to admit.There's a mongoose, and a slathering evil lizard, so those are pluses. As is the over-arching anti-censorship message, which is a good one, and could have been a tad more nuanced, but that would have gotten in the way of the swordplay, so maybe not.The 'Index to 14th Century Angry Letters Left on Tables by Girls Planning to Run Away from Home' was a cute touch.Also, of course, what library school curriculum _should_ include: 'There's cataloging, deception and impersonation, publishing law, stealth and illicit entry, library organization, unarmed combat, research skills, armed combat, book repair, fire and explosives...patron relations, horsemanship, water training, espionage, escape and concealment, meteorology, geography, field survival...'Sidenote: What gives with the copyediting, Sourcebooks? (At least) Three blatant typos in the first 25 pages... E.g. mismatched quotation marks, misplaced commas. I noticed fewer later on, but it was a poor first impression. It made me make my what-is-the-world-coming-to face and say 'tsk'. Don't make me do that.*almost to the point where a character provides exposition, seemingly, 'just in case you were wondering about this detail, Reader, here's how-&-why', not because it moved the story along

  • Dana
    2020-01-14 06:15

    Lovely adventure! Sword fighting, a secret librarian society that fights for the right to publish books and for free speech, time travel, action, bad guys, a magical library hub that connects libraries in all times and places and more! When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase their friend Rosa's loose mongoose into the library, they wind up in Petrarch's library, the magical library hub to libraries in a variety of times and places. Unable to return home immediately, they stay with the secret librarian society for four weeks although no time passes at home in Passaic. They meet Socrates and Dorrie gets sword fighting lessons from Cyrano de Bergerac in a manner rather like the Karate Kid. Lots of action, adventure, plot twists and fun! I received this book free to review from Netgalley and I highly recommend it.

  • Christina Miner
    2020-01-12 08:24

    I always wonder what the next great, unique story idea will be. Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand is it! A secret society of librarians who can pass through time and space via "spoke libraries" in the Lybrariad (from Ancient Athens to 17th Century France) with characters like Cyrano De Bergerac in order to preserve and defend the freedom of thought, writing and speech? Does it get any better? Yes, it does. Dorrie and her brother Marcus, along with their new found friend Ebba, oh yeah, and the mongoose, are a pleasure to get to know. Their missteps and antics throughout the book found me laughing out loud, often. I loved all of the characters, from officious Mr. Scuggins to the historical power-house Hypatia. I highly recommend this wonderful book by Jen Swann Downey.

  • Katie
    2020-01-20 12:12

    Readers of all ages who love books and libraries will enjoy this bookish adventure! Dorrie is a real hoot, and her antics (as well as Marcus’s and Moe’s) will keep you laughing throughout the story. I love books and libraries, so when I saw that this book was releasing this year, I was pretty excited, to say the least. I was even more thrilled when I received an e-ARC through Net Galley AND hosted an interview with Jen Swann Downey on the blog! Thank you Source Books! I expect there will be a sequel, and I am quite excited to read what happens in the next adventure of the Ninja Librarians! Full review on blog.

  • Dana Alison
    2020-01-20 06:00

    I absolutely love this book. I love the humor,(especially Marcus, who provided several literal laugh-out-loud moments), I love the adventures and swordplay (because really, who doesn't), but most of all, I love the Dorrie and her all-too-human struggles to be her best self. Also? Ninja. Librarians. Enough said.Sorry to rave about something that the rest of the world can't get their hands on for a few more months, but this should be added to everyone's TBR list. It has all the ingredients needed for a perfect middle grade, including a strong message advocating for free speech that, sadly, matters now as much as ever.

  • L. Chase
    2020-01-04 14:04

    This book is FANTASTIC! I love Petrarch's Library, which is a library that has portals to a whole bunch of different eras of time-- the setting is so vivid and lovely, and quite frankly, I'm ready to move to Petrarch's Library right now. Dorrie is a wonderful character, an underdog with lots of determination and spirit. The absolute best part about this book is the humor! Downey has such a wickedly brilliant, dazzlingly original sense of humor, and this book shines with it. I was laughing out loud on practically every page from the funny quips and wonky descriptions!From Moe the mongoose to ninja lybrarians, this book is a joy and swashbuckling fun!

  • Jenni Frencham
    2019-12-30 06:26

    LOVED this book. Definitely want a copy for my library. A longer review will be posted later, but for now you can visit my blog ( for more information about this book. :)

  • Celeste_pewter
    2020-01-04 09:58

    I've read a lot of fantastic MG in the past year and a half, so I was ridiculously excited to get the opportunity to read Jennifer Downey's debut novel The Ninja Librarians. It's a smart, inventive adventure that I guarantee will be on everyone's must-read list! Thanks to an accidental mongoose chase, Dorrie and Marcus Barnes accidentally stumble into Petrach's Library, which is managed by a group of ninja librarians who have one very important message: protecting those in history who have gotten in trouble through the power of their words.Downey does a fantastic job of skillfully balancing the adventurous elements of her debut novel (sword fights! ninja librarians!) with an ongoing mystery, while also making sure to include a very thoughtful message about how the power of words have changed and dictated history, and how people have taken the risk to use those words, simply because it's the right thing to do. With smart, snappy writing, characters who feel so real, they feel like they can step off the page, and an expertly and tightly plotted story, Downey proves that she's definitely a writer to watch. This is a book that is perfect for not only the most avid MG readers, but also for reluctant readers. It's smart, funny and has the same type of magical/universal readership quality that attracters readers to Rick Riordan's books. I know I'm definitely getting this book for the reluctant readers in my life, and am confident they'll love it too! ***Final verdict:Not only was The Ninja Librarians an incredibly fun book, it also had an important message interwoven through the story.Downey never fails to remind readers, both young and old, of the importance of standing up for your convictions, and the obstacles that have been faced by some of history's greatest thinkers. It's a pretty heady lesson for younger readers, but I think they'll absorb it beautifully, especially with Downey's wonderful writing to lead the way. Also, this book made me want to thank all of the fantastic librarians and thinkers who've influenced me throughout my life: thank you for making me think and stand up like the characters in this book. Buy this book. You'll love it, and you'll want to give it to all of the readers in your life.

  • Angie
    2020-01-10 07:11

    Dorrie and Marcus accidently open a portal to Petrarch's Library. The Library connects to many other libraries in many other times. Their portal is the first in the 21st century and they are greeted with suspicion by some. They are still able to start apprenticeships though. Marcus follows his true love into the world of plants and Dorrie learns swordcraft from Cyrano de Bergerac. Petrarch's Library is filled with librarians whose mission is to save those throughout history who are persecuted for speaking out. The head of the library is Hypatia of Alexandria and many other historical characters inhabit this world. Dorrie and Marcus learn that there is also a secret society called the Foundation who works against Petrarch's. They must decide if they want to go home to their world or learn how to become Ninja Librarians themselves!What could be better than ninja librarians? I can't think of a thing. This story is filled with adventure, sword fights, espionage and all kinds of craziness. But it also tells the story of some of history's persecuted. Characters like Socrates and Hypatia and Saul of Tarsus (Paul of the Bible). There is a message throughout the book about speaking the truth and being persecuted for it. I loved Dorrie's spunk and Marcus's humor and fascination with Star Wars (he even gets Cassanova to do a play based on the movie). I think it would be amazing to travel to a place connected to so many other times and places and where you get your meals by reading them from a book. So very imaginative. Now I must go and practice my ninja skills. Never know when you might be called upon to be a ninja librarian. I received a copy of this ARC from Netgalley.

  • Jackie
    2020-01-06 14:19

    “The Ninja Librarians is a title that is sure to tempt all Librarians for deep down we all want to believe that we are for the preservation of knowledge and the right of an individual to his or her own thoughts. Getting to know Dorrie and Marcus and watching them change is a delight. Dorrie changes from stage-struck Dorrie to a Dorrie who wants to fight for the right to think. While “Apathy Is Hard Work” Marcus suddenly realizes that dreaming about kissing a girl is not reality but endangering a person’s life with a thoughtless exchange of information creates in him a desire to defend the free exchange of knowledge. These ideas and transformations slide by so quickly that you don’t notice the importance behind them until you’ve finished the book and have time to pause a moment and think. I like this universe and hope to visit it again.

  • Amanda
    2020-01-07 12:09

    Ninja Librarians is a fun read for anyone who loves books, libraries and history. There is some mild suspense, nothing too intense, in which the protagonist and her brother are stuck in an alternate world and can't get home. The story will be very comfortable for 3-6 grade children, especially those with a passion for books.

  • Lata
    2020-01-20 13:19

    I can't rate this as I barely got into this story. Maybe I'll come back to it one day. I just don't think I'm in the mood for it now.

  • Chris
    2020-01-13 11:17

    But in addition to trying to make the world a quieter place for those trying to read and think, our lybrarians are also trying to keep people from having their tongues cut out or being thrown into jail or set on fire for scribbling the wrong thing on a piece of parchment. Not to mention keeping their writings from being destroyed or locked away. . . . A properly trained lybrarian is one of the most fearless and fearsome beings in the world! . . . There's cataloguing, deception and impersonation, publishing law, stealth and illicit entry, library organization, unarmed combat, research skills, armed combat, book repair, fire and explosives, . . . patron relations, horsemanship, . . . water training, espionage, escape and concealment, meteorology, geography, field survival . . . -----More than anything, Dorrie has two great loves: books and swords. She dreams of fighting evil with a blade the way the heroes in all the great stories do. Unfortunately, she knows only how to use her prop sword for stage combat and realizes that even if she were truly skilled she wouldn't stand a chance against modern weapons. Then she and her older brother fall--literally--into Petrarch's Library, an extra-dimensional center with hubs in different times and places throughout history whose lybrarians fight for intellectual freedom using any and all means necessary.It could be a dream come true, except Dorrie and Marcus are the library's first visitors from the twenty-first century, and their unexpected, uninvited entry puts them on the wrong side of security as potential hostile agents, particularly since they caused unintentional chaos and damage during their panicked first moments. They find themselves under investigation as probationary guests of the library, exploring a world they never knew existed and getting caught up in time-travel espionage, feeling entirely unqualified and unprepared, hoping not to end up on the wrong side of the lybrarians.Well done and much fun, with believable characters and realistic situations within the fantastical circumstances.

  • The Styling Librarian
    2020-01-20 12:12

    recently received an advanced readers copy of The Ninja Librarians – The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey through Netgalley, and knew I was in for an adventurous read! I wasn’t wrong. Loved every minute. I became a little anxious while reading this book… I mean, as a present day librarian, I haven’t been approached with the idea of being part of a secret underground society that is actually protecting the world and able to travel through time… when would MY time be coming? Nail biting!I loved this book as much as another book, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson. Where Brandon goes science fiction with a technology slant (and dinosaurs in the mix), Jenn Swann Downey goes science fiction adventure in history and time twist complications. Just loved this book.Sometimes Jenn can be an author who can make you frustrated, saying to yourself “Hey, I KNOW I read about this situation EARLIER! When is the character finally going to notice the connection?” And then she’ll finally reveal how the character catches up and smoothly uses his/her memory…I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, especially to students who love adventure, science fiction, and suspenseful books! Certainly this book would be in perfect partnership with Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein.So… do you like “Golden” lines? I decided these were sparkly golden library lines:“Dorrie listened so hard that her ears seem to be creeping away from her head.”“The panic that Dorrie had been staving off now exploded within her, electrifying her fingers.”“An idea with stubby wings and a ridiculous ungainly body took clumsy flight within her.”

  • Chris
    2020-01-12 13:09

    Reviewed from a digital copy provided by Netgalley.Dorrie and her brother, Marcus, are participating in a simple sword play demonstration at a Renaissance Fair when they chase their friend’s escaped mongoose into the public library, accidentally opening a secret, ages old, hidden lybrariad (complete with portals to different time periods). With its walls, they find friendship and excitement, adversaries and intrigue. Of course, being kids, they stumble into danger and do not take the easy way out by telling a trusted adult. Rather, they enlist the help of a child living in the lybrariad and try to fix the problem on their own, creating new problems along the way. That, in and of itself, is the nature of a middle grade novel, so it will appeal to kids. I love that the lybrarians are adventurous and daring, and fallible, as well. I did not like aspects of Mr. Scruggins, the head librarian in the public library, as he flouted ALA policy by doing things like publicly posting pictures of patrons owing fines, but he does not figure into the story too much. The story took awhile to warm up, but towards the end, it picked up steam, culminating in a fun and exciting chase, with just enough danger. I hope that in future installments, we see more of the ninja aspect of the lybrarians, as that seemed almost absent in this book. They were adventurous and daring, as mentioned before, and able to infiltrate different times with ease, but I did not see much in the way of ninja stealth. The lybrarians seemed more swashbuckling than ninja in nature, but I suppose, something must be saved for book 2.

  • Sam
    2020-01-07 06:14

    This is what I wanted to do as an adult: I want to be a ninja librarian!! I wish this book had been out when I was younger because I would have gobbled it up even more than I did now (if that’s possible…). Jen Swann Downey knows exactly how to draw you into a fun fantasy full of sword fights, time travel, and librarians!Dorris and Marcus are the classic picture of clashing siblings in the 21st-century. Two kids with seemingly different interests, she in being a hero and pirate, saving the world with as a sword-wielding pirate, and him wearing pajamas outside and knowing just the ways to get out of doing work. Throughout their adventure, their bond grows and we are shown many scenes of them being protective of each other. Not only does their bond grow, but they also discover things about each other that were previously unknown (ax throwing for one!). Their closest friend, Ebba, really made me smile as well. She is enough of a dreamer to believe that everyone should get along and is willing to take care of any creature she stumbles upon (human or otherwise).Speaking of creatures, the world that Downey created with the Lybrarians is truly amazing. It is so well thought out and I could picture it in my head ever twist and turn. It really is the ideal place for any child with the state of mind to save the world! In my opinion it tells us that ignorance is a terrible curse and should be fought, but to be careful because the world is dangerous but if you work hard enough, you can achieve your dreams.I highly recommend this book for any middle school student or anyone with a dreamer’s heart. Five of five beans from me!

  • Andréa
    2020-01-03 05:57

    I wanted to love this book, I really did. What librarian wouldn't be excited about a book featuring "your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians"? And just look at that cover! (Although if the ARC had been distributed with the final cover for the hardback, instead of this cover, I may not have had such high expectations.) But no matter how much I wanted to love it, in the end, it just wasn't one of my favorites.It took me a long time to get through this book; whenever I had to set it aside, I wasn't very excited to pick it up again. I didn't find any of the characters particularly endearing and wasn't too concerned with what happened to them. The plot wasn't as exciting or action-filled as I expected, with a plot like "ninja librarians," and at times it seemed to drag.The concept of a library that spans time and space, with librarians who defend free expression, is an excellent one, but in the end I think it was all a bit much for one middle-grade book. There were so many characters, historical mentions, and Lybrariad rules/traditions that it was difficult to keep them all straight or really get a handle on things.Note: I received a digital galley of this book through NetGalley.