This was a great book. it is one I would recommend unreservedly to anyone. That is sort of nice. I usually have qualifications to my recommendations, but this was great, clean, funny and a quick read, only a couple hundred pages on large print.
It is a YA novel, edging towards children's about a boy who receives a bag of sand from his long-gone parents for his thirteenth birthday. That sets up the story and then it rolls along quite rapidly from there. The narrator is funny, though he did get a bit annoying by the end. It is written in the first person, but in a style more honest than a lot of first person narratives I've read. By honest I mean, he admits and tells you he is relating this after the fact, so he knows how everything turns out and just puts cliff hangers and other things in to annoy the reader. It is a contrived plot device, but it works very well. If you stop to think about it, every first person story is that way, but rarely do the stories reflect that.
One of my favorite thing about the book was the grandfather, or to be more precise, the exclamations that he uses when he is surprised: "Jabbering Jordans!", and "Amazing Asimovs!" were two of them. It took me until I read it out loud to David to catch the joke, but it was really funny. That is one of the reasons I read books I enjoy more than once; I read so fast that sometimes I miss things, especially things that are a bit more verbal. Reading aloud I find things I miss when I read because I don't read aloud inside my head.
So find this book and read it. Read it out loud to your spouse, child or pet, that makes it easier to laugh out loud without attracting weird looks. Oh yes, this is by my new favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, he writes really well in several genres it turns out.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Brandon Sanderson. Scholastic. 2007