The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead


2023 (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)


A TODAY SHOW Kids’ Read Pick and The Amazon #1 Best Kids’ Book of 2023

When a mysterious little free library (guarded by a large orange cat) appears overnight in the small town of Martinville, eleven-year-old Evan plucks two weathered books from its shelves, never suspecting that his life is about to change.

Evan and his best friend Rafe quickly discover a link between one of the old books and a long-ago event that none of the grown-ups want to talk about. The two boys start asking questions whose answers will transform not only their own futures, but the town itself.

Told in turn by a ghost librarian named Al, an aging (but beautiful) cat named Mortimer, and Evan himself, The Lost Library is a timeless story from award-winning authors Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass. It’s about owning your truth, choosing the life you want, and the power of a good book (and, of course, the librarian who gave it to you).


“A boy who visits a little free library gets more than he bargained for when he becomes a sleuth caught up in the middle of his town’s most enduring mystery…. A page-turner with striking characters and a satisfying puzzle at its heart.” – Kirkus Reviews

“When a makeshift Little Free Library appears on the town green, almost 20 years after the mysterious fire that burned down the town library, the people of Martinville are drawn together once more to not just solve the mystery of the fire but also to decide what it means for their own fates. Mass and Stead employ a rich cast of characters—including ghost librarians, graduating fifth-graders, mice, and a cat—to dive into the heart of Martinville. … Full of heart, sly narration, and Stead’s expected air of mystery, this is well suited for lovers of books and libraries and novels featuring ensemble casts.”- Booklist

“There are enough twists to hold puzzle-loving readers’ attention, along with great emotional authenticity throughout. Stead and Mass dedicate their book to “the librarians of the past, present, and future,” and many readers will come away feeling inspired.” – Horn Book

Bustling with well-rounded secondary characters and threaded with metafictional elements, Mass and Stead’s collaboration is a humane ode to the courage needed to face life’s changes as well as the power of libraries as centers of community. – PW

The Lost Library’s whimsical simplicity is a delight. It is subtly magical, sweetly optimistic and above all, kind. The Lost Library reminds us that each book contains an entire universe, and the next one you step inside of could be the one that changes everything. –Bookpage

Stead and Mass light a candle for reading.”Soman Chainani for The New York Times Book Review