Who's a Villain?

Petworth Library

Who's a Villain?

"Maybe...he has a master plan to get all the points he can by charming ... [and] getting them to read a lot. Maybe it's not even his masterplan; maybe it's, like, the American Library Association's master plan, and they are stocking high schools across the country with hot young librarians as part of a massive literacy initiative."
-- Evil Librarian by Micheele Knudson, page 22-23

While it's debatable that you will find a hot librarian the next time you visit the library, what you probably won't find is a devilishy evil one  -- or at least we'll try to hide it really well. Michelle Knudson's new book Evil Librarian is just one of several young adult books out this year that feature a fresh perspective on villainous types of characters. Knudson's text, however, is a witty take on a type of character who is often seen as shy, retiring or just plain nerdy.

Evil Librarian's heroine, Cynthia Rothschild, is somewhat dismayed when she discovers that her best friend has fallen for the intriguing new librarian. But with a huge crush of her own to contend with and a high school play to help stage, Cynthia finds more than few distractions to take her mind off this calamitous event.

Hilarity and horror combine as Cynthia quickly learns just how far Annie is willing to go under Mr. Gabriel's spell. As the plot escalates, Mr. Gabriel begins sucking the life force from the entire student body, and soon it's not just a question of Cynthia saving Anne: Her entire school's future hangs in the balance.

From show tunes to a glimpse of the dark arts, Knudson's narrative explores this drama in a tongue-in-cheek style, while still hinting at real life scenarios that will appeal to any reader: the bloom of a first love, the complexity of friendship, or the tension that arises as one reaches the cusp of adulthood and begins to question their own role in life. 

Narratives like Evil Librarian are not only fun to read but they also offer a novel approach to the typical hero and villian dynamic. There is no doubt that Mr. Gabriel is evil, but Knudson's use of entertaining banter and sly humor underscores a realistic take on the high school landscape. Fans of cult classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed may identify with Knudson's portrayal of Cynthia, a brave and sharply observant teen who battles against the odds to save her friend's soul. Regardless, there is much to satisfy in this diabolic delight. 

Feeling a little demoniac? Mybe your inner imp is prompting you to try these books: