Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: October 2nd, 2012

Dates Read: June 6th – 18th, 2015


The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity, sheer curiosity and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behaviour and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the secrets extend far beyond the walls of the bookstore.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Yes yes yes this book is yes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

I really really enjoyed this book.

It’s funny, because when I first picked it up I thought it was about a magical bookstore. But when I actually read it, there was no magic, but it’s still mysterious and fun, nonetheless.

The characters were really loveable and realistic, in my opinion. They all had different talents and abilities, and I liked that people from two different generations could find something in common. A mix of the old and the new working together. I wish more adults today thought like Mr. Penumbra.

The plot was interesting, too, for the most part. Sometimes the scenes would be a little slow, which is why I docked half a star, but most other times it was a fun read. It definitely did not go where I expected it to go, and I liked that.

It was very mysterious at the beginning, which made it a little slow. But as soon as the real situation was revealed, the adventure truly began, and it’s great. I kept wondering what would happen next, which made me want to continue reading it even more.

Overall: A book about a books that is actually really good!

This review was originally posted on my booklr on June 18th, 2015.


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