Friday, March 29, 2019

Review: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Date of publication: June 2015

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold's attackers make them their next target. 

Book Scavenger was a really fun middle grade mystery.    It involves Emily, who is a book worm who also loves puzzles. She loves to play the Books Scavenger online game.  The game involves people leaving books out in the wild and posting clues to the app.  When her family moves to San Francisco, she gets involved in the biggest hunt of her life.

I thought this was a really cute story. It reminded me of The Westing Game and Harriet the Spy, both of which I loved when I was younger. I enjoyed following Emily and her friend James as they solved the clues. I'm not going to talk plot because I don't want to give anything away.  I will say that I I enjoyed the references to Edgar Allen Poe as he is one of my favorite authors.  I also liked the use of ciphers.

More than the plot, I really liked the characters. Emily is a girl after my own heart.  She loves books and loves to spread her love of books.  She also loves puzzles.  I loved her friendship with James. Moving school frequently has caused her to have issues making and trusting friends.  So their friendship was special. I also thought her relationship with her older brother was wonderful.  One of the best parts of this book, from a parental point of view, was the 12YO kids did not run around San Francisco alone.  There was actual parental involvement.  They made sure that the kids were accompanied by Emily's older brother when they went on their book hunt adventures.  I feel like there isn't enough of that in middle grade books.

I definitely recommend this one, especially to middle grade readers..  It's a series, so I'll be seeking out the next book, The Unbreakable Code very soon.

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