The Borrower (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Lucy refused to use her
family’s connections, instead she settled for becoming the children’s librarian
in Hannibal Missouri, a decision her parents found frustrating and a location
they considered the back of beyond.  Nonetheless
it should be a position with little possibility for dangerous hijinks.  Not so with Lucy, she either kidnaps or is
kidnapped by her favorite patron, ten year old Ian Drake.  The young boy is a voracious reader with a
quick mind.  He devours books, coming to
Lucy for recommendations and conversation. 
She appreciates his intelligence and creativity.  The two form a close bond.  Ian’s parents have a different view,
fundamentalist Christian, they do not believe in free and easy access to all
the worlds books can offer. Lucy colludes with the young boy, slipping him
copies of A Wrinkle in Time and The Princess Bride.  Ian’s lack of interest in sports
and his preoccupation with reading disturb his parents, they see the potential
for the child to be gay and they see that as bad.  Ian’s attitude and mood darken when he is
enrolled in an “anti-gay” program with a controversial minister.   Disturbed by what is happening to Ian, Lucy
gets caught up in a dynamic that just might be well beyond her ability to solve.  And kidnapping could cause some problems in
her own future.  This is a fascinating,
quirky, highly entertaining story that touches on so many great themes for
discussion.  Not the least is the
relationship Lucy has with her own parents

— Deon Stonehouse

June 2011 Indie Next List

“A 26-year-old children's librarian, Lucy Hull, allows herself to be 'kidnapped' by one of her precocious 10-year-old patrons, a boy intent on running away from home. The pair end up on a hilarious road trip that ping-pongs them across the Midwest and out to the East Coast. Makkai's writing is sharp and funny, and book lovers will enjoy the many references to well-known titles, from echoes of the road trip in Lolita to a chapter that is structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. What a wonderful, assured, and original debut!”
— Shuchi Saraswat, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA


In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road.
Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

About the Author

Rebecca Makkai s stories have been anthologized in "The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2009," and "2010," and have appeared in "Tin House, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review," and on NPR s "Selected Shorts." Makkai teaches elementary school and lives north of Chicago with her husband and two daughters."
Product Details
ISBN: 9780670022816
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: June 9th, 2011
Pages: 336