Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
368 pages–ages 9 and up
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on June 2, 2015
Summary (from bookscavenger.com):
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.
Saw this book in the bookstore and it piqued my interest. My little sister couldn’t decide if she wanted to get it so I decided that we should give it a try. The premise sounds interesting and it’s a mystery book so I think that it should be pretty good. It’s been recently published and from what I can tell it’s by a new author so it should be nice and fresh (hopefully).
When I first started reading this book I found it hard to get into for some reason. The premise sounded interesting and when I first bought it I was exceptionally excited to read it, but I was just finishing up a big project at work so I didn’t have a bunch of free time to read. I started reading it during small break periods I could find, but it was hard to get into. The book gets straight into the story with the first chapter being like an introduction, setting the whole story up. When I first read that a character in the book, Mr. Griswald, would be in a coma I thought it would be something along the lines of he hits his head and hasn’t woke up or something, but the reason that he is in a coma is because somebody shot him with a gun. To me that was a sure sign that the perpetrators, Barry and Clyde (probably the descendants of Bonnie and Clyde…hehe), were a serious threat and would do anything to get their hands on the book that they wanted. For the rest of the novel, every time Bonnie and Clyde (whoops, I meant Barry and Clyde) showed up I was waiting for them to do something dastardly, especially in the scene where they corner Emily all up until the final confrontation with the mastermind behind the mugging (I can’t tell you who it is).
There are quite a few side stories, such as the cipher challenge and the identity of a book scavenger player. Some parts of the book were really easy to figure out, such as the identity of the Babbage. But others, like the true villain, were a little harder. It was a nice mix between knowing exactly what was going on, but still following along with the mystery.
Some of the little mysteries where somewhat easy to guess, but due to that I figured the wrap up of the story would be predictable and easy to guess, so I completely missed the clues that feed to the end and when the final plot points were revealed I was caught off guard.
Eventually, in the final confrontation, where they meet the mastermind behind it all (I still can’t tell you who it is) the antagonistic group gets their comeuppance which was nice.
Overall, I would recommend this book to a young reader who likes adventure and a light mystery.
Visit bookscavenger.com for more information about the book and a first chapter preview also.