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Michelle Knudsen proves that you can write the exact same book twice and call it a sequel, in Revenge of the Evil Librarian.

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BOOK REPORT for Revenge of the Evil Librarian by Tom Michelle Knudsen

Cover Story: Xerox
Drinking Buddy: The Critics Were Not Kind
Testosterone Estrogen Level: Weak
Talky Talk: Rerun
Bonus Factor: Drama Camp
Bromance Status: No Curtain Call

Cover Story: Xerox

Same exact cover as the last book (though it's a script for The Scarlet Pimpernel instead of an Italian textbook).

Talky Talk:

So theater geek girl Cynthia is going to be spending summer at drama camp with her new boyfriend, outrageously hot Ryan. Cynthia gets to show off her technical chops backstage, while Ryan will bring down the house in a production of The Scarlet Pimpernel. But when Cynthia arrives at camp, she's shocked that Ryan's best camp buddy is a girl named Jules. A very pretty girl named Jules. Who everyone assumes is dating him. While Ryan assures Cynthia they're just friends, Cynthia's not so sure. Especially when she seems them holding hands.

Plus, there's this new playwright, Peter. Kind of has a hot nerd thing going on, and he's totally crushing on Cynthia. Maybe they'd make a better couple. But how can she give up the boy she's longed for for so long?

In a minor subplot, the demons Cynthia and Ryan defeated in the first book return from the grave to exact revenge, while the queen of the damned insists Cynthia accompany her to hell to repay her debts.

Drinking Buddy: The Critics Were Not Kind

In the first book, a demon named Mr. Gabriel invades Cynthia's high school in an attempt to kidnap her best friend. It was fun to watch nerdy, awkward Cynthia try to defeat the forces of hell and act as the school musical's tech director at the same time.

But now that Cynthia's literally had a trial by fire, she's still flighty and goofy, concerned more about her relationship with Ryan and her production's success than the fact that demons are invading camp, possessing and killing people. I was expecting a bad-ass Buffy this time around, not a backstage manager who explains how the new guy 'Isn't like the other demons.'

Testosterone Estrogen Level: Weak

Cynthia is what the demons call a 'super roach': she's naturally immune to a lot of their powers. In the previous book, she made a deal with the demon queen that if her friend was saved, Cynthia would return to hell a couple of times to do the queen's bidding. It was a deal with the devil (so to speak), but Cythia had no choice. She does not tell Ryan about this.

In the sequel, when the queen calls in the favor, Ryan finds out. And he's pissed! Not 'How could you place yourself in danger like this?' angry, but 'How can you have lied to me, woman?' furious. I didn't like it. It gave me a bad vibe.

And instead of shooting back with righteous anger about Jules, Cynthia just sits there and takes it, hoping that someday she'll earn his trust back. If she's a better girlfriend.

Talky Talk: Rerun

In the first book, Cynthia and Ryan fight demons and put on a high school musical. In this book, they fight demons and put on a drama camp musical. It's not that this was a bad book, but it's pretty much the same book. There are only one or two new characters of note and we learn almost nothing new about the demon world and their plans for humanity. That's the trouble with sequels, they rarely measure up.

Bonus Factor: Drama Camp

Bromance Status: No Curtain Call

I really enjoyed the original production, but it didn't call for an encore presentation. Don't call us, we'll call you.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. No money or virgin blood exchanged hands.

 

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.