The Lake and the Library by S. M. Beiko
Wishing for something more than her adventureless life, 16-year-old Ash eagerly awaits the move she and her mother are taking from their dull, drab life in the prairie town of Treade. But as Ash counts the days, she finds her way into a mysterious, condemned building on the outskirts of town—one that has haunted her entire childhood with secrets and questions. What she finds inside is an untouched library, inhabited by an enchanting mute named Li.
Brightened by Li’s charm and his indulgence in her dreams, Ash becomes locked in a world of dusty books and dying memories, with Li becoming the attachment to Treade she never wanted.
This book has a four-star plot with a two-star writing style. The plot and conflict of the book were engaging and interesting, if a little convoluted at times. The wonder of the library and Li's world was tangible through the pages, and Li himself was as promised - enchanting. He was the most complex character in the book, with the most thorough back story. The other characters were pretty generic and flat, even Ash. Li and his library were what made the book so interesting. The constant blurring of reality and fantasy throughout the book was marvelously done and, if not exactly believable, captivating.
Unfortunately, most of the plot was lost in overly-flowery descriptions and an avalanche of metaphors. Some of the language emphasized the whimsical, dream-like atmosphere of the library, but mostly it got in the way of the story. The overabundance of figurative language and ill-fitting adverbs was at its worst in the first few chapters, but it was just present enough to be annoying in the rest of the book.
Despite the awkward, clunky writing style and a few flat characters, reading The Lake and the Library was like falling down the rabbit hole.
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