This is a fun book. I mean, just the title alone is fantastic. This is the story told by a boy named Alcatraz who is explaining his discoveries about all of America truly being the Hushlands, ruled by the evil librarians. When the story starts, he doesn't realize this, of course, and just considers himself a very unlucky boy who can break or destory everything. He is sent from foster parent to foster parent because of his destruction, but he has little if any remorse. Then, he gets a present for his 13th birthday and everything changes.
This is actually the first Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. My students rave about his Elantris and MistBorn books, but I just haven't got there yet. If they are as enjoyable to read as this, I will get there sooner rather than later.
This is Sanderson's first exploration of YA fiction. There are a couple things I really like. First, it is written about a subject that is fun enough that Will could enjoy the plot, but Sanderson understands the target audience of this book is older and there are many parts that are just for them. He doesn't talk down to his audience, but has explanations and sarcasm that every teen I know who has read even part is laughing and wanting to read more. I don't think these have stayed checked in our school library for a couple months now.
This is really a fun read - and I have it on good authority that the audiobook is absolutely delightful. Really, if you want a fun story that is imaginative and easy to read, give Alcatraz a try. Afterall, any book that starts with a description of being tied to an alter of encyclopedias, about to be killed by the evil librarians deserves a try, right? :)