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Book Scavenger

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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 ha 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.  


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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 ha 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.  

30 review for Book Scavenger

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Bertman

    I love this book! Disclaimer: I also wrote this book. :) Advance copies of Book Scavenger are being hidden around the US. Join in the game here: http://bookscavenger.com I love this book! Disclaimer: I also wrote this book. :) Advance copies of Book Scavenger are being hidden around the US. Join in the game here: http://bookscavenger.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    This is a middle grade novel about a book-lover called EMILY and "a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles." Why am I not 12 years old anymore!? This is a middle grade novel about a book-lover called EMILY and "a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles." Why am I not 12 years old anymore!?

  3. 4 out of 5

    karen

    i don't really read enough middle grade to know how this book stacks up against others written for that age range; i'm a middle grade tourist who only pops in when i come across a book that's either so magnificently written that it carves out a little bed in my heart (Rooftoppers) or when it's about baby booknerds or baby chefs or cats having adventures or something else that would have caught my eye when i was in that 8-12 age range, so long ago. this falls into that second category. it's not a i don't really read enough middle grade to know how this book stacks up against others written for that age range; i'm a middle grade tourist who only pops in when i come across a book that's either so magnificently written that it carves out a little bed in my heart (Rooftoppers) or when it's about baby booknerds or baby chefs or cats having adventures or something else that would have caught my eye when i was in that 8-12 age range, so long ago. this falls into that second category. it's not at all poorly-written, but it's just a fun adventure book that doesn't try to be anything more than that. which is totally enough for me to have loved it, and to wish it had been around when i was wee; it's just not sleeping in my heart or anything. (shhh, don't wake Rooftoppers) twelve-year-old emily has two interests: books and puzzles. fortunately for her, garrison griswold, the willy wonka of book publishing exists, and has created a game called "Book Scavenger," which is a sort of geocaching treasure hunt where players from across the country compete to crack codes online which lead to hidden books in the real world, earning them points to rise up the ladder of rankings named after famous sleuths to achieve the top status of "Sherlock Holmes." emily has just moved to san francisco, home to garrison griswold and book scavenger's headquarters. she's very used to moving, at the mercy of her parents' dream to live in every u.s. state, nomading across the country allowed to pack only one suitcase each, and one additional box of books. emily loves her parents and her older brother, but it's a lonely life to always be the new girl. fortunately, she has her books to escape into, and the challenges of book scavenging, where her user name is "surly wombat." the following is not a spoiler at all, but a lengthy digression about wombats (with pictures) that gets in the way of the review (much like this long explanatory sentence) so i spoiler-tagged it to maintain narrative flow (which i already ruined with this long explanatory sentence) (view spoiler)[this nickname came about as a joke between emily and her brother matthew which hinged upon her giggling over the idea that a wombat could be surly: "I mean, they're these cute, pudgy animals, and picturing one with an attitude, all surly…" well, spoiler alert - wombats are totes surly. they are all headbutty and bitey and they will knock you right over if they feel like it - they are STRONG little cannonballs. just FYI, in case anyone was thinking that a surly wombat is funny. i mean, it IS, but it's also factual. but they ARE totally adorable and pudgy: but, teeth… whatchoo looking at? punch, punch! aaand that's your daily wombat digression. what were we talking about before this? oh, right, emily. (hide spoiler)] upon her arrival in san francisco, she finds her first real friend living in the same building. james lee* is a chinese-american boy with a cowlick named steve who is just as obsessed with puzzles as emily. and when she introduces him to the book scavenger, it's clear they were meant to be besties 4-eva. meanwhile, garrison griswold is about to announce his brand new book scavenger mega-game when he is attacked and shot in the train station. during the struggle, a book of great significance ends up behind a trash can. the next day, on an unrelated book scavenger quest, with garrison griswold clinging to life in the hospital and the very fate of book scavenger hanging in the balance, emily and james (and steve!) discover this book, which turns out to be the first clue in the mega-game! and so begins an adventure of clue-solving and friendship and running from the men who shot griswold and figuring out who is responsible for masterminding the attack. it's a romp of a book, just fun fun bookfun with charming characters that teaches readers about edgar allan poe but also about san francisco-centric writers like dashiell hammett and the beats. this book is a love letter to san francisco, a place i have never been but where i will be going in the fall. and i already knew i wanted to go to city lights while i am out there, but after reading this book, i also want to go to hollister's bookstore, although i think, like book scavenger itself, it only exists in this book. but this book also made me want to see lombard street because - fun! it's an adventure book, but it also has solid values, where emily learns how to be a real friend for the first time, and there is an emphasis upon family bonds and sacrifice, and yeah - it gets a little treacly in places, but i think that's perfectly appropriate in books for this age, so it's not groany or anything. and it really made me want to reread those liza, bill and jed mysteries by peggy parish, which are the best MG scavenger hunt books ever. books, codes, san francisco. you could do worse things with your time. *which is also the name of the character in Everything I Never Told You, so i was having fun pretending this was a prequel. come to my blog!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    Had I read this book when I was 9-12 I think I would have given it 5 stars. The children’s mysteries available to me then were nowhere near as good, and none that I can remember took place in San Francisco. This story is great for both boys and girls, and will likely also be appealing to many reluctant readers. Even though this is a children’s book I think many older people (13 and all the way up) can also enjoy it. I particularly loved the San Francisco setting and that this is a book about boo Had I read this book when I was 9-12 I think I would have given it 5 stars. The children’s mysteries available to me then were nowhere near as good, and none that I can remember took place in San Francisco. This story is great for both boys and girls, and will likely also be appealing to many reluctant readers. Even though this is a children’s book I think many older people (13 and all the way up) can also enjoy it. I particularly loved the San Francisco setting and that this is a book about books. I thoroughly enjoyed the real San Francisco portions. The fictional San Francisco parts felt a bit jarring to me (though likely not true for readers who didn’t/don’t live in the city) but they were still gratifying and a hoot. This was a fun, light, enjoyable book. At times I found it scary, with a tad more feeling of menace that I prefer, but given that this book is for middle grade children I knew it wouldn’t get too dark, and it didn’t. There were a couple times I had to suspend disbelief, but not so much that it took me out of the story. Some smartly done red herrings too! Interestingly, the instructions that start the story, although short, were a bit of a drudge for me (I have a story about the exercise my wonderful fifth grade teacher gave us about the importance of carefully reading instructions and they reminded me of that.) But they made the book’s story feel all that more authentic, and I think many readers will enjoy them. I was left feeling love for the main characters and happiness for them. I felt invested in their lives: the three kids, the parents and some of the other adults, and properly scornful of the villains. This is a lovely friendship story and a great romp. Lots of fun, with heart. Perfect for children who are fans of mysteries, puzzles, codes, and definitely children who’ve lived in or visited San Francisco or who have some interest in the city. The author’s notes at the end are wonderful, and I learned a lot about Poe and some other subjects related to this story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I leaped when a friend bought “Book Scavenger” for me this Christmas! Demographics are irrelevant if authors stick to mysteriousness and discovery! We do not need puzzles in the technical sense, as long as characters are answering intrigue. As a girl who is not good at math or sports, I revel in the motivating, equalizing “Mr. Lemoncello” series; rewarding all kinds of efforts. A person great at cryptograms does not lord it over others. Repetition can grow discouraging and boring. Ask the creati I leaped when a friend bought “Book Scavenger” for me this Christmas! Demographics are irrelevant if authors stick to mysteriousness and discovery! We do not need puzzles in the technical sense, as long as characters are answering intrigue. As a girl who is not good at math or sports, I revel in the motivating, equalizing “Mr. Lemoncello” series; rewarding all kinds of efforts. A person great at cryptograms does not lord it over others. Repetition can grow discouraging and boring. Ask the creative girl, living in a world of math and sports. All readers need the thrill of being able to exclaim: “I would rock that clue”! I feel about “Book Scavenger” the way I do about “A Wrinkle In Time”. It is a positive film but does not have the wow factor it could have had. I don’t think it is right to penalize a genre. I must have read that Emily is twelve but envisioned a YA story. I docked one star, for what the wonderfully-creative Jennifer Chambliss Bertram could have controlled: sticking to mysteriousness. This makes books accessible to any reader. Skip parental lectures, nasty peers, bossy teachers, and don’t tack-on crimes. There aren’t enough pure adventure quests! I see the sequels are in the crime style; alas. Yes, it is nice that Emily learns about friendship, has an unusual life, and improves ties with her older brother. Keep that in the background: put the riveting action front & centre. I was excited when Emily and James got creative, solving clues with knowledge about San Francisco. If this series were less about cryptograms, the internet, juvenile issues, and more about creative thinking and footwork; I would continue. A non-crime mystery, about solving clues, is needed! I praise Jennifer’s originality and would relish in book-exchanging scavenger-hunts, in Canada!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa J.

    This book is my dream book from my early years: It’s about a girl – Emily – who loves books. There is a game – Book Scavenger – around the US that consists in hiding books and finding them through clues. There are ciphers and cryptograms, and it’s about books! See why it’s everything a book lover might want? The game itself is silly; I mean, they hide the books in public places, so how the hell do they manage to prevent people who don’t play Book Scavenger from finding and keeping the books? It’s This book is my dream book from my early years: It’s about a girl – Emily – who loves books. There is a game – Book Scavenger – around the US that consists in hiding books and finding them through clues. There are ciphers and cryptograms, and it’s about books! See why it’s everything a book lover might want? The game itself is silly; I mean, they hide the books in public places, so how the hell do they manage to prevent people who don’t play Book Scavenger from finding and keeping the books? It’s not as if a book is an easy thing to miss – they’re rarely small! I let this pass because this is supposed to be a middle grade novel, and I’m obviously not the target audience. Plus, it was entertaining to read this. My 12-year-old self came out and enjoyed herself. However, there were two things I could not forgive. The first one is that answers were given before the questions were asked. I wanted this to be a great mystery! I wanted to think! I wanted to solve the ciphers! What we got, though, was a game in which the answers to every riddle were said before we even knew what they were looking for. That way I could not be part of the game, as I wanted. Look, I love ciphers and codes. I’m currently in the process of decoding the cipher in the last page of The Ghosts of Heaven (dammit), and while it’s kind of an impossible task, I still love the thrill that goes with it. There were ciphers in this book, but we never get the opportunity of finding for ourselves what they mean. Again, I wonder if this is for the fact that this is a middle grade novel. My second issue was that the book could get a little unrealistic at times. Like, how Emily’s brother felt okay about moving from state to state just because of a stupid luxury his parents had. I hate moving. When I moved from my country, I hated it. I hated it not only because I left my family but because I had to start from zero, and that’s not nice at all, unlike some books portray it. Matthew was in high school and he even had a band, so it struck me as really unrealistic that he didn’t care. Matthew’s case is not the only unrealistic thing, though. For example, there is a “bad guy” here who wants the book Emily is hunting for no reason. I mean, this is a freaking game! He goes so far in his task of getting the book: He sees Emily finding the copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold-Bug, and what does he do next? He stalks her. He gets her personal information – where she lives, what school she attends – just for a book! Emily’s character was not particularly likable. She was so incredibly selfish. She only cared about that game. School didn’t matter, her friend James didn’t matter. The only important thing in her life was that game, and I just… Sigh, I guess I’m too old for this. All of the previous points might have led me to rate this 2 stars, but I’m rating this 3 because of two things: 1. Entertaining: Yeah, with its unrealism and its annoying things, it was still fun reading this. 2. This is an ode to Edgar Allan Poe: God, that author is one of my favourites. His sense of humour is so twisted, his horror stories manage to be creepy, etc. I freaking love him, so I had to give this book extra points for making him an important part of the book. If you love treasure hunts, Edgar Allan Poe, or just want to remember your childhood days, this is a book for you. I ended up liking it – not as much as I wanted, but I still enjoyed it. Now I’m going to read Poe’s The Gold-Bug, because according to this book, there are ciphers, and plus, it’s Poe!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rashika (is tired)

    ***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato This book is basically everything past Rashika would have wanted from a book and one present Rashika adores. The past couple of middle grade novels that I had read were great but there seemed to be something missing. I figured that could have been the result of me not being the intended audience but this  book reminded me that it doesn't matter who the reader is, a book can be enjoyed by a reader of any age. I know I always say that my favori ***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato This book is basically everything past Rashika would have wanted from a book and one present Rashika adores. The past couple of middle grade novels that I had read were great but there seemed to be something missing. I figured that could have been the result of me not being the intended audience but this  book reminded me that it doesn't matter who the reader is, a book can be enjoyed by a reader of any age. I know I always say that my favorite genre is fantasy and that is true but my favorite comfort books are always a blend of mystery and adventure.  In middle school, I went through a phase where all I read were quirky, intelligent mysteries and this book is one that would have made kid Rashika really happy. It makes adult Rashika happy too because while I may no longer be 11, there is always something to be said about a mystery that mentally challenges you. One of the things this book has going for it is the great main character. Emily is not a perfect character. There are a lot of times where she will put her own needs above those of James (her new friend) and that may be frustrating but it’s also realistic. Sometimes, you get too wrapped up in what you’re focusing on and when it turns out people don’t have the same priorities as you do, it’s shocking. But, Emily is still great. She is also a smarty-pantsy! She doesn’t always figure out all the clues on her own and sometimes requires help but then again, what fun would the book be if she magically knew the answers to everything? Another great thing about the book were the secondary characters. From James to Matthew to Hollister. They help make the book all the more lively. Matthew and James especially contribute a lot because through them, we get to see two important relationships: the one between siblings and the one between friends. Matthew is an adorable little fanboy who no longer has time for his little sister and doesn’t even realize how much he has hurt her in the process of not spending time with her. He quickly redeems himself once he figures out what a douche he was being and becomes such a supportive brother! James, I don’t think is Emily’s first friend, but I would definitely wager that he is one of the more important ones. With him comes an element of diversity because he happens to be Chinese American which is great. James puts up with Emily until he cannot and then calls her out on her shit which is great because it makes her aware of the fact that James is not someone she can take advantage of. Fantastic characters aside, THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT BOOK SCAVENGING. That should be reason enough to pick this book up! I know I practically did somersaults when I read that part in the summary. What is awesome is that this book delivers what it promises! Book scavenging actually plays an important role in the book! The plot is also well developed and I loved putting the clues together! I wasn’t surprised when we found out who the bad guy was but it’s not really meant to be a big twist. It’s actually makes sense given the actions of the character. One of the awesome parts about the mystery aspect is that it is intertwined with a treasure hunt. The main character has to solve the clues to get to the treasure and yes to treasure. This is such a fun read to be swept up by and I’d recommend it to everyone looking for a fun middle grade read that will take you on an adventure.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karsyn

    I normally do not rate DNF books, but since there was a very specific reason I didn't finish this book, I felt like my rating was justified. Review ~ Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Did Not Finish 1 of 5 stars 368 page Kindle book I received this book from NetGalley for my honest review. It's a sad time that I write my first DNF review. I wanted to LOVE Book Scavenger. It's my kind of book. Puzzles and clues and a scavenger hunt?! This was (I thought) right down my alley. Even as a 37 yr I normally do not rate DNF books, but since there was a very specific reason I didn't finish this book, I felt like my rating was justified. Review ~ Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Did Not Finish 1 of 5 stars 368 page Kindle book I received this book from NetGalley for my honest review. It's a sad time that I write my first DNF review. I wanted to LOVE Book Scavenger. It's my kind of book. Puzzles and clues and a scavenger hunt?! This was (I thought) right down my alley. Even as a 37 yr old woman, I love certain children's books. After all, I've LOVED similar children's books, such as the following, which all have (in some way) clues or puzzles to solve ~ There's a definite difference between juvenile and childish. This book fell too far on the childish line for me and I couldn't get past it. The most unfortunate thing about why this book was a DNF was the reason I could not finish this book. That reason ~ STEVE. The first time Steve was mentioned, I giggled. It really wasn't funny actually, but it was late and I was tired, so I admit it, I giggled. I thought it was a joke. Unfortunately, it was not. The 2nd time Steve was mentioned I scowled. It wasn't a joke? She was going to mention Steve again? By the 5th time, I decided if Steve was mentioned one more time, I was done. I gave it more than 1 time, but soon after, I was done. To appease my own curiosity, I decided to search the Kindle book to see if Steve was mentioned anymore. If he was mentioned 1 or 2 more times, I might have continued. Steve was mentioned a total of 35 (that's THIRTY-FIVE) times in the book. So, by now, you are wondering "Who the hell is Steve? Why are you so bothered by Steve?" I'll tell you. But prepare yourself, this might be disturbing. Steve is..... . . . . well, there's no easy way to say this, so I'll just put it out there ~ . . . . Steve is a COWLICK. W....T....F?!?!?! I'm NOT kidding you all all here. The one main character, James, named his COWLICK Steve. Not only is Steve mentioned in the first place, Steve is referred to a whopping THIRTY-FIVE times. This is, to me, the difference between juvenile and childish. That was childish to me, and while 7 year olds might like to hear on going tales of Steve, I could not do it. Steve ruined this book for me and that made me very sad because other than that, the book had been OK. It wasn't great yet (DNF @ 23) but I would have kept with it, if not for the ongoing discussion of Steve. Setting = A Plot = B Conflict = ? Characters = D- Theme = A Cowlick = F-

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Not having kids of my own, I judge these books based on how I would have enjoyed them as a kid. If I still had my spiral notebook where I kept track of my many Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High books, I would have chosen the fuschia color from my multi-ink click pen and drawn in rounded script the title of the book followed by five shakily drawn stars (By the way, I still haven't mastered the art of a perfect star shape). Emily Crane's parents have vowed to live in all fifty states. This means Emi Not having kids of my own, I judge these books based on how I would have enjoyed them as a kid. If I still had my spiral notebook where I kept track of my many Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High books, I would have chosen the fuschia color from my multi-ink click pen and drawn in rounded script the title of the book followed by five shakily drawn stars (By the way, I still haven't mastered the art of a perfect star shape). Emily Crane's parents have vowed to live in all fifty states. This means Emily never really grows roots into any one place or ever makes any really good friends. Her constant companion is Book Scavenger, a treasure hunt where players score points for both finding and hiding books, using their online profiles to track their progress. The Crane family is on their newest adventure, moving to San Francisco, which also happens to be the headquarters for Garrison Griswold, creator of Book Scavenger. His newest game is to be unveiled that afternoon, but is never announced as Griswold is involved in what's believed to be a mugging and is in the hospital. Not long after this Emily, along with her brother Matthew and neighbor James, come across flowers and get well cards left at the subway sight where Griswold was attacked. While bending down to retrieve some trash that didn't make it to the can, Emily sees a book crammed between the can and wall. She is convinced that the book must be part of the scavenger game. What she doesn't know is that she isn't the only one seeking that book and this will lead her on a quest to solve the puzzle before anyone can take the book away from her. What follows are lots of really fun puzzles and code breaking with themes of family and friendship interwoven throughout. There are a few sections that ask the (ahem, older) reader to suspend belief, but it never takes you out of the story. I would not hesitate to recommend this to any reader, young or old. And bonus - there's already a Book 2!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline Emily isn't too thrilled about moving yet again, but she's used to it. Her parents are both able to work from home wherever they are, and they are gathering material for their book 50 Homes in 50 States by moving about once a year. Emily is excited about moving to San Francisco, though, because it is the home of Garrison Griswold, the founder of the Book Scavenger Game. It is helpful that her new neighbor, James, is also a fan of puzzles and is able to help E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline Emily isn't too thrilled about moving yet again, but she's used to it. Her parents are both able to work from home wherever they are, and they are gathering material for their book 50 Homes in 50 States by moving about once a year. Emily is excited about moving to San Francisco, though, because it is the home of Garrison Griswold, the founder of the Book Scavenger Game. It is helpful that her new neighbor, James, is also a fan of puzzles and is able to help her out with many of the clues, as well as to introduce her to life in San Francisco. When Emily finds a book that Griswold lost in a subway attack, she uncovers a game that has yet to be released. With the help of James, as well as a teacher at school as well as her rock band loving older brother Matt, she is able to work out the puzzles, foil thieves, and get a great introduction to a city she loves. Will she also be able to figure out Griswold's puzzle? Strengths: The descriptions of San Francisco are wonderfully clear, the Book Scavenger game something that many students will wish actually existed, and the characters are all well developed and intriguing. I especially liked the treatment of the sibling relationship. There's a bit of diversity. No one dies! I'm normally not a fan of puzzles, but these were done in a way that even I was intrigued! Weaknesses: Mr. Quisling's name seemed a bit overly quirky, and Maddie seemed excessively mean and underdeveloped as a character. What I really think: Absolutely delightful, and easy to hand to a variety of students: anyone who loves books, mystery readers, students who like travel stories. Even the cover has a cheery and timeless quality to it. A great companion to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paige Bookdragon

    I love the idea of Book Scavenger simply because if I found a hidden book I'm sure as fuck that I would take it, fairness be damned. I mean, FREE BOOKS dude. Won't that be awesome? Anyway,Book Scavenger is fun read even though I grew a bit tired in the middle. I find it quite long and I think there's some things that should be omitted to make the story fast paced and thrilling. The story is about Emily and James in a one of a kind adventure consisting a weird book and some hooligans who were after I love the idea of Book Scavenger simply because if I found a hidden book I'm sure as fuck that I would take it, fairness be damned. I mean, FREE BOOKS dude. Won't that be awesome? Anyway,Book Scavenger is fun read even though I grew a bit tired in the middle. I find it quite long and I think there's some things that should be omitted to make the story fast paced and thrilling. The story is about Emily and James in a one of a kind adventure consisting a weird book and some hooligans who were after it. Kinda like Blue's Clues.. (Ahh...weird example.) If you like a book about books and if you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, then this book is for you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mauoijenn

    My inner 11-12 year old self was squealing with joy when I was reading this book. It was a fabulous story that made me instantly sad, no one wrote this when I was a tween.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    Oh my gosh, I loved this book. This is one of those rare books adults can enjoy just as much as the middle grade readers who are its target audience. It's a good story, but it is also well-written with bits of literary history and descriptions of various ciphers and codes. It is just so much fun. The author's note at the end tells the reader a bit about the book's background. Ms. Bertman grew up in San Francisco, the setting for the book, so I felt her description of the city must be pretty accu Oh my gosh, I loved this book. This is one of those rare books adults can enjoy just as much as the middle grade readers who are its target audience. It's a good story, but it is also well-written with bits of literary history and descriptions of various ciphers and codes. It is just so much fun. The author's note at the end tells the reader a bit about the book's background. Ms. Bertman grew up in San Francisco, the setting for the book, so I felt her description of the city must be pretty accurate. The young characters are very well-drawn and likable. The only character who didn't appeal to me was the social studies teacher, Mr. Quisling. I have a feeling that name was chosen with its meaning of "collaborating with the enemy" in mind. Although certainly not a villain in the story, he also is not really trustworthy for the young protagonists. The great thing about the story is that the reader is kept guessing right along with the kids. Best of all, the characters love books just as much as I do! For an adult reader, there is a thought-provoking set-up in which Emily (one of the lead characters) has (self-employed, with jobs that only require an internet connection) parents who are pursuing their dream of "living in all 50 states", which means they uproot the kids and move frequently, making the announcement of the next destination a big surprise to the kids. Emily's older brother has taken the disruptions in stride. He is apparently a pretty outgoing, unflappable kid. For Emily, however, it means she goes into each situation holding back, afraid to make attachments that will only so soon be broken. There are some really true-to-life descriptions of how the siblings have grown somewhat apart as they have grown up and developed interests that don't converge anymore. Yet, they still have strong affection for each other and, in the end, Emily's brother, Matthew, helps her find a way to cope with the many moves. I loved his advice to her: "'What I finally figured out with all our moving is you miss out on stuff whether you stay or go. So I decided to just go with it. Embrace how we live.'....Matthew was right---you missed out on stuff either way. Or you gained stuff, depending on your perspective." (page 234) The friendship between Emily and her landlord's son and fellow middle-schooler, James, is also sensitively presented. The reader gets to consider the importance of sometimes laying aside one's own pressing interests for the sake of helping a friend, and of how to resolve differences. I think that is what sets this book apart. Beyond the really good story-line, the reader is asked to think about the complexities of relationships with others: with one's family, one's friends, one's social setting. I must admit, I stayed up "past bedtime" to finish the book because once you start reading, it is hard to tear yourself away. I can hardly wait to share it with my grandson!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Originally posted at Log Cabin Library I absolutely adored Book Scavenger, it was such fun to read. Everything from the authors note where Bertman lists the inspirations for Book Scavenger (which is a combination of books, movies, Geocaching, cipher's and the website BookCrossing.com). To the setting of San Francisco filled with various historical facts and figures that make for an interesting plot. Plus there is a nice mystery that sort of involves Edgar Allen Poe. I enjoyed all the characters Originally posted at Log Cabin Library I absolutely adored Book Scavenger, it was such fun to read. Everything from the authors note where Bertman lists the inspirations for Book Scavenger (which is a combination of books, movies, Geocaching, cipher's and the website BookCrossing.com). To the setting of San Francisco filled with various historical facts and figures that make for an interesting plot. Plus there is a nice mystery that sort of involves Edgar Allen Poe. I enjoyed all the characters and relationships, with my favorite being Emily's older brother. A really wonderful and creative story. The perfect sort of book for someone who loves solving puzzles and may spark an interest in cipher's and codes, not to mention trying to learn how to break them. Which is much harder than it looks. I love the marketing campaign for the Book Scavenger and think it is quite unique to have an online game where you can actually follow hidden clues to find and read ARC's of the book. Talk about art imitating life, or would it be life imitating art in this case? A delightfully fun story and bonus the author is working on a sequel. I received a review copy from the publisher for free via NetGalley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This book has instantly become one of my all-time middle-grade favorites. It has mystery, humor, wonderful characters and friendships, fascinating puzzles, tantalizing literary references, and a perfectly-realized San Francisco setting. I really think that this is a book that kid and adult readers will enjoy in equal measure, making it a great choice for family or classroom reading. In short, I loved everything about Book Scavenger, and am so excited that Emily and James's adventures will continu This book has instantly become one of my all-time middle-grade favorites. It has mystery, humor, wonderful characters and friendships, fascinating puzzles, tantalizing literary references, and a perfectly-realized San Francisco setting. I really think that this is a book that kid and adult readers will enjoy in equal measure, making it a great choice for family or classroom reading. In short, I loved everything about Book Scavenger, and am so excited that Emily and James's adventures will continue in a sequel! I'll be first in line for it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kaytee Cobb

    Omg I loved this so much. It was smart and engaging and full of bookish enthusiasm and exactly what I want from my middle grade fiction. Also, I want to actually play book scavenger in real life, so if someone could make that happen, that would be great. I absolutely plan to pick up book #2 in the series and see where we go next with Emily and James.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Simply Delightful! My inner child has been tome tickled...... Book Scavenger is a quirky good, middle-grade, biblio themed adventure mystery set in San Francisco, with protagonist - wordy-nerdy Emily, and her puzzler sidekick James. And to say that Emily's family and their lifestyle is eccentric, would be an understatement. Ah, but that's part of the fun. All the way around, this was an ultra fun read. It had all the great elements of an adult whodunit, except toned down several notches. Guns are Simply Delightful! My inner child has been tome tickled...... Book Scavenger is a quirky good, middle-grade, biblio themed adventure mystery set in San Francisco, with protagonist - wordy-nerdy Emily, and her puzzler sidekick James. And to say that Emily's family and their lifestyle is eccentric, would be an understatement. Ah, but that's part of the fun. All the way around, this was an ultra fun read. It had all the great elements of an adult whodunit, except toned down several notches. Guns are drawn. Shots are fired. Sirens blaze. Villains on the make, protagonists on the run -looking for hidden clues to a game that could very well turn deadly faster than either Emily or James can decipher the next codex. Book Scavenger, it turns out, after a bit of googling, is not only a great book, the author has also created the real deal, in which you can find clues, solve puzzles, and hunt for actual hidden books in all fifty states. Check it out: www.bookscavenger.com And she incorporates fun facts and enriching activities on her website. Happy Reading . . . And Happy Hunting! FOUR **** Quirky Good, Biblio Bodacious, Middle-Grade Adventure/Mystery **** STARS

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gus

    It was a great book. I recommend it to everyone. It sends a message that anyone can do great things. And also, Ms. Taake hasn't read it yet, so be sure to read it before she does! :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Suad Shamma

    This one's a favourite for sure! Reading the synopsis I knew the book sounded interesting, but it turned out to be an absolute treasure. I devoured it in a matter of hours and was very sad to see the end of it and even sadder to realize that this is the author's first and only book so far! Emily is an avid reader but also an avid member of the Book Scavenger game founded by Garrison Griswold. She is working up the ranks in the game, with the aim to achieve the highest detective status. This invol This one's a favourite for sure! Reading the synopsis I knew the book sounded interesting, but it turned out to be an absolute treasure. I devoured it in a matter of hours and was very sad to see the end of it and even sadder to realize that this is the author's first and only book so far! Emily is an avid reader but also an avid member of the Book Scavenger game founded by Garrison Griswold. She is working up the ranks in the game, with the aim to achieve the highest detective status. This involves solving codes and riddles in order to find books that are hidden across the country - if not the world - and hiding books in return for other members to find etc. Griswold lives in San Francisco, and Emily has just moved there with her family - who have set a goal of living in every state, which has become tiring for Emily, but not so much her brother Matthew, who has grown used to this lifestyle - and is therefore excited to be in the city where it all started. However, Emily soon finds out that Griswold was attacked and lies in critical condition leaving the local scavenger hunt cancelled. She is severely disappointed of course, and befriends her neighbour James, who takes her and Matthew on a tour of the city, unintentionally leading them to the location of the attack. There, Emily finds a brand new book by Edgar Allen Poe in the bin, which she mistook for a book left by another Book Scavenger. So she takes it, and leaves her membership card. This begins a tale of adventure, mystery and suspense, with Emily and James right in the middle of it. Unaware, Emily had not just taken the book that the attackers were looking for, and are now on her tail, but also the first clue to the start of the local scavenger hunt game that Griswold had planned before his untimely attack. Realizing all of this, Emily is determined to finish the game with the help of James, and occasionally, her brother Matthew, getting herself in all sorts of trouble. All of that being said, this book is about a lot more than just mystery and adventure. It is a book about friendship, loyalty, family ties, love and history. Jennifer Chambliss Bertman presents to us a very interesting history of Poe and the rivalry with Rufus Griswold, as well as introduces to us the amazing universe of codes and ciphers. This isn't just a regular middle grade story, but is actually incredibly clever and leaves you on your toes as you try to solve this puzzle right along Emily. I couldn't have enough, and I cannot wait for her next book - which I'm dismayed to see is set to be released in 2017!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I don't care how old I am, this book sounds amazing, I'm reading it :)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carol Royce Owen

    Got to read the ARC of this book and absolutely loved the idea of it. The story is of a game created by Garrison Griswold, publisher of the Bayside Press, called Book Scavenger. In the game, participants hid books throughout the country, leaving clues about the locations by registering them on line. Participants would also search for books that others have hidden by using the clues. Once found the participant would earn points that would move them up the ranks from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Dr Got to read the ARC of this book and absolutely loved the idea of it. The story is of a game created by Garrison Griswold, publisher of the Bayside Press, called Book Scavenger. In the game, participants hid books throughout the country, leaving clues about the locations by registering them on line. Participants would also search for books that others have hidden by using the clues. Once found the participant would earn points that would move them up the ranks from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew, Sam Spade, Miss Marple, Monsier C. Auguste Dupin and finally to Sherlock Holmes. Emily was presently in the Miss Marple rank, slowly moving toward the next rank, and now with her family moving to San Francisco, the home of Garrison Griswold, her opportunities to do a lot of scavenging was endless. This was the ninth move for twelve year old Emily, and certain, not to be her last, as her parents were on a scavenger hunt of their own in an attempt to live once in each of the fifty states. This move proves different for Emily, though, as she quickly makes a friend, who, although knows nothing about book scavenging, is a whiz when it comes to puzzles and also discovers, so the two become fast friends and "partners in crime," especially when they find a book that may be a key to a new game by Garrison Griswold. As for Griswold - he is mugged and shot the same day Emily comes to town, and is near death. Will it be the end of the Book Scavenger game forever? I found this book a mixture of Emany well loved mystery novels that I could mention here, but the author actually mentions many of them in her book. I believe she does so as a tip of her hat to acknowledge those authors' influence on her writing and of their craft and ingenuity, but then goes on to write Book Scavenger with her own flair and creativity making it unique and refreshing, standing on its own merits as a wonderful mystery novel for middle grade readers.. Although there were some clues that the reader had that Emily and her friend, James, did not have, the reader was left with a lot of uncertainty about the trustworthiness of various characters in the story. There were also some great relationships that developed in the story, and life lessons for the characters to learn. And, lastly, as far as this teacher goes, this book certainly put a desire to start a book scavenger hunt in my own school. I look forward to seeing this book published so I can get copies to share with my students. Hmmm...maybe I'll need to have them find their copies.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book Scavenger is a middle grade adventure book about a girl called Emily who moves to San Francisco with her parents - the city her biggest idol lives in: Garrison Griswold, creator of the legendary game Book Scavenger. And Emily is a passionate book scavenger - she loves to solve the riddles leading to the discovery of the hiding places of books. However, Griswold is attacked and in a coma, and Emily a I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Book Scavenger is a middle grade adventure book about a girl called Emily who moves to San Francisco with her parents - the city her biggest idol lives in: Garrison Griswold, creator of the legendary game Book Scavenger. And Emily is a passionate book scavenger - she loves to solve the riddles leading to the discovery of the hiding places of books. However, Griswold is attacked and in a coma, and Emily and her new friend James find an odd book they believe belongs to Griswold himself, and quickly they are in the middle of an adventure. This book had everything a good adventure story needs: great characters, a neat writing style, exciting riddles, puzzles, code and ciphers. It also has books (definitely a great bonus!). Needless to say I really enjoyed it, right? It was so much fun to follow the characters on their journey, to see their development, their struggles, and to try and solve the riddles as they were trying. It left me longing for a game like this to play in real life. It sounds so. much. fun. And it also reminded me of how much I used to love secret codes and ciphers when I was a child. So it was just really enjoyable and exciting. I also really liked how the author wove real historical figures into the story. Oh, and did I mention this is only a first book in a series, meaning we'll get more of this awesomeness? I would recommend this book to fans of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton, people who like books about books and those who enjoyed Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the 39 Clues series. It is due to be released on June 2nd.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    Far be it from me to criticize a book that embraces and celebrates the love of reading, but I'm not entirely sure this one is it (and i say this while, at the time of this writing, having not yet read Mr Lemoncello's Library). A book that sort of presents itself as the Willy Wonka of books about books, it's not quite light-hearted or fun enough to hold that mantle, nor whimsical enough to allow for the comparisons. The book is about some kids obsessed with Book Scavenging, a game about finding an Far be it from me to criticize a book that embraces and celebrates the love of reading, but I'm not entirely sure this one is it (and i say this while, at the time of this writing, having not yet read Mr Lemoncello's Library). A book that sort of presents itself as the Willy Wonka of books about books, it's not quite light-hearted or fun enough to hold that mantle, nor whimsical enough to allow for the comparisons. The book is about some kids obsessed with Book Scavenging, a game about finding and reading books developed by a man who is also a bookseller and publisher. He's got a new game coming, but he's mugged before it can be revealed (yes, people are mugged over books in this world). The kids suspect a bigger problem and begin doing their own investigations into finding out what the new game is and maybe what happened. The story is a little darker than you'd think. Kids chased by bumbling muggers without the comedic relief element is problem enough, but the idea behind this is more suited to a book about puzzles and solving mysteries, yet the book doesn't provide enough of either for the reader, instead going into more non-fictional histories of books and authors. In a sense, even if it wasn't the intent, this is how Common Core-aligned middle grade books fail our kids (forcing information in over narrative), and while the end result of the book is a nice little surprise, the trajectory to get there is not the most appealing. It will definitely find an audience. We absolutely need more books that normalize and celebrate literature and literacy for kids. I just ultimately don't know if this is it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Just ok. I really thought it was a mash-up of Westing Game, Lemoncello, Mysterious Benedict, and not as good as the best aspects of those. Not to mention, I'm actually a member of Bookcrossing. And out of the several thousands of books I've released in the wild, I've gotten reports back on less than 5%. Little Free Libraries are another neat idea that don't seem all that effective irl, either. Geocaching, now, that's interesting... there's a bit more community excitement there. Now in the author Just ok. I really thought it was a mash-up of Westing Game, Lemoncello, Mysterious Benedict, and not as good as the best aspects of those. Not to mention, I'm actually a member of Bookcrossing. And out of the several thousands of books I've released in the wild, I've gotten reports back on less than 5%. Little Free Libraries are another neat idea that don't seem all that effective irl, either. Geocaching, now, that's interesting... there's a bit more community excitement there. Now in the author's note to this book I learn of Letterboxing... I'll have to look into that.... Any of you participate in any scavenging or orienteering games?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laure Porché

    I absolutely loved it! A very good middle school book, Emily and James are wonderful heroes, and please tell me the publisher of this will launch a real book scavenger website as PR? I would love to play that game, as Book Crossing is kind of random and lack motivational value. I want to be a book scavenger too ! :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mehsi

    This is THE book to read if you love puzzles, books and scavenger hunts. The book is filled with fun riddles/puzzles, the scavenger hunt is delightful and it will make you want to be there and there is a LOT of talk about books. I do wish we had such events in real life (scavenger hunts and other book events), or such a site as the site mentioned in this book. It does sound terribly exciting, to be able to hide and find books, to make up riddles, to track your book as it starts its exciting journ This is THE book to read if you love puzzles, books and scavenger hunts. The book is filled with fun riddles/puzzles, the scavenger hunt is delightful and it will make you want to be there and there is a LOT of talk about books. I do wish we had such events in real life (scavenger hunts and other book events), or such a site as the site mentioned in this book. It does sound terribly exciting, to be able to hide and find books, to make up riddles, to track your book as it starts its exciting journey through the world, to rank up to the Sherlock level and oh so many more things. Maybe some day such a site will come in existence, and hopefully one for my part of the world too. Emily was a wonderful character, though I did feel sorry for her. For having to move so much as she did. For never being able to make friends because of this, for always having to wonder when the next time will be that they will move. It is a theme that comes back in this book, it gives something extra and I love that it was added. I can imagine that her parents want to move, and I can also imagine that back when the kids were still young that it was easier than it is now that both of them are older. But back to Emily, I love how smart she was, how much in love she was with books and how she just loved to solve and create riddles. She just felt so real to me and I could connect to her. So throughout the book I was just cheering for her, hoping that she would solve the riddles (which I also enjoyed trying to figure out), hoping that she was right about this scavenger hunt. And I cheered for her when things escalated and the scavenger hunt got extra exciting and a bit scary. She was really dedicated to solve the mystery, to help out Mr. Griswold. Her friendship with James was fantastic and they really matched together, I just knew that they would be great friends for the start. Of course she also had faults, for instance she was super focussed on the scavenger hunt, but forgot about other things, and she hurt people because of that. Focussing is nice, but you also need to watch around you at times. See that you have people who care about you and want to be with you, not with you and that one thing you are focussing on. James, I really liked him and how he was. He was a really interesting character and it was delightful to see him solve ciphers and riddles like it was nothing. It is amazing. His family also sounds really great, always visiting, making delicious meals and so much more. His rivalry with that one girl (whom I really thought was a guy) was interesting and it gave the story something extra. But I didn't like the girl that much, she was annoying, would do anything to get to the top, even if it meant going for the bad road. I didn't like how she acted like she was so much better than anyone else. There was one guy that I totally detested and I wish wasn't added to the book. That person would be Mr. Quisling. He was a horrendous person. I don't care that teachers need to be strict at times, the things he did. Sorry, no. I just wanted to throw with things when he popped up and when we found out stuff about him. Bleh bleh and bleh. Horrendous character in both worlds. :\ The bad guys? They were the perfect kind of villain, not too scary or too creepy so kids will have nightmares, but still villains that kids will be a bit scared by them. Especially the later parts will make kids (but also adults) excited, it will make them cheer for the good guys and will shiver in delight to read how it will all end! Will it end up good? Or bad? What will happen to the baddies and the goodies? The story itself was great. Like I said it is focussing on Scavenger Hunts and books and riddles, but it also shows a brother-sister relationship and how that goes, it shows us what how kids feel when they move every time, how moving is on the one hand exciting, but on the other hand it is not always fun, it shows us about friendship and rivalry and much much more. The book is filled with awesomeness and you won't be able to put it down. The book also has some illustrations (sadly, not a whole lot, I had hoped for more). I really liked the illustrations, they truly fit the style of the book and they gave us something extra to enjoy while reading. What more? Ah yes, I loved the introduction, the Book Scavenger explanations and who Mr. Griswold is. Through the book there is enough explanations or little history lessons about things in San Francisco and I loved that this was added. I could imagine the world more and more with those explanations. All in all, this is one book that is a must-read for all the bookworms in the world. Highly Recommended! Review first posted at http://twirlingbookprincess.com/

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    I really enjoyed this! I think the idea is a fun one and you learn a bit about books, authors, codes and ciphers, and San Francisco bookstores. The hunt also includes a mystery, and with bad guys on the kids heels, you’ll be sure to keep turning pages until you’re through. Parents, a couple things to note: the older brother has a mohawk-thing going on with his hair, the back drop of the story is Halloween, the two main kids get into a fight, and the daughter is disrespectful to the parent’s wishe I really enjoyed this! I think the idea is a fun one and you learn a bit about books, authors, codes and ciphers, and San Francisco bookstores. The hunt also includes a mystery, and with bad guys on the kids heels, you’ll be sure to keep turning pages until you’re through. Parents, a couple things to note: the older brother has a mohawk-thing going on with his hair, the back drop of the story is Halloween, the two main kids get into a fight, and the daughter is disrespectful to the parent’s wishes of living in all 50 States throughout their lifetime. Overall it’s clean and ends with the two kids making up and the brother and sister relationship coming closer together. More details down below! Cleanliness: Children's Bad Words Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 20 Incidents: stupid, what the heck, nuts, "Man was he scr*wed,” shut up, for Pete’s sake, cockamamie, idiotic, scr*w Name Calling - 16 Incidents: show-off, pain-in-the-butt brother, doofus, dorks (a kid says about his parents), that rat, you idiot, you weirdo, you’re such an idiot, numbnut, “The three farts of Christmas past, present, and future,” Her Royal Fungus (used throughout the book), stupid, Barf-ew Religious Profanities - 16 Incidents: Gee, Jeez, Geez, oh my gosh Romance Related - 3 Incidents: A boy puts his arm around a girl’s shoulders. “Toward the end of Poe’s life, there was a woman they were both friends with, an so some speculate there was a love triangle in play.” Rear ends Attitudes/Disobedience - 9 Incidents: A kid partakes in vandalism. There is a bully throughout the entire story who places a bet against the two main characters. A girl lies to her teacher. A girl fibs. Two friends get into an argument and don’t talk for days (the girl was being selfish). In the end, they make up but not with any real apology. A brother and sister get into a fight. Again, they make up but with no real apology. A boy tells about a time when he ran away from home (to his friend’s house). A girl does not want to return a book to it’s “claimed” owner until she’s solved the riddle. Several times, her teacher puts moral pressure on her to do the right thing. A girl’s parents have great news and she somewhat selfishly gets upset and runs to her room. She does not apologize but her parents apologize to her. Conversation Topics - 6 Incidents: Two girls do a dance routine. Halloween is mentioned often throughout the book. It is not a main theme but is in the background, so does include references to costumes, witches, zombies, etc. Mentions a liquor store, a bar, a man taking a drag off a cigarette, a lip piercing, and betting on horse races. A book entitled “The Black Cat” is described: “it’s about a guy who drinks too much, kills his cat in a drunken rage, and then thinks the cat comes back from the dead. Then the guy goes even crazier and kills his wife …” A mom and dad dance the conga. A mom and dad dance the salsa. Parent Takeaway None of the main characters are very likable or have stellar character traits to mimic. So you wouldn't really read the book for that - they can fade into the background a little anyway. What you do read this book for is the mystery - great twists and loads of fun riddles and problem solving throughout the book. If your kids are perhaps tweens and mature enough not to mimic the annoyances, give this a try. It really is fun! **Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that! So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! You’ll see my updates as I’m reading and know which books I’m liking and what I’m not finishing and why. You’ll also be able to utilize my library for looking up titles to see whether the book you’re thinking about reading next has any objectionable content or not. From swear words, to romance, to bad attitudes (in children’s books), I cover it all!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    Growing up, I loved reading mysteries such as The Three Investigators, The Hardy Boys, and The Happy Hollisters. They were full of tweens and teens who sometimes stumbled upon, sometimes sought out mysteries and set about solving them. Emily, our main protagonist, does both in "Book Scavenger". Oh, and there's a real Book Scavenger site! Yes, the author or publisher, someone connected to the book, set up a real site that seems to work the way it does in the book. Man, where was this when I was g Growing up, I loved reading mysteries such as The Three Investigators, The Hardy Boys, and The Happy Hollisters. They were full of tweens and teens who sometimes stumbled upon, sometimes sought out mysteries and set about solving them. Emily, our main protagonist, does both in "Book Scavenger". Oh, and there's a real Book Scavenger site! Yes, the author or publisher, someone connected to the book, set up a real site that seems to work the way it does in the book. Man, where was this when I was growing up? The premise of the book plus the cover which is reminiscent of books I read growing up lured me in. I had to read it. "Book Scavenger" did not disappoint. It's a delightful romp that also has serious moments. Bertman gives us adolescent pain, friendship in its highs and lows, puzzle solving, bibliophilia, and the joy of discovery. Emily's family moves approximately once a year in their quest to live in all 50 states of the US. At first, Emily enjoyed the moving but lately she's been craving stability, a home base, and the ability to form lasting friendships. The moves to San Frisco excites her as it's the home of the Book Scavenger game and its founder. She hopes that she'll be able to participate in a game before her family moves again. Emily gets her wish and then some. She and a new friend, James, get caught up in a game that Griswold set up before he was injured. Other people are after the book and not just game players. There are double crosses, challenges big and small, and a love of books that shines through in Bertman's writing. There are parallels between Emily's life and Griswold's and along the way Emily learns that both staying in one place and moving on have their disadvantages, it's how you handle them and your attitude that makes the difference. "Book Scavenger" can be enjoyed as a romp and adventure or you can go deeper and puzzle out the messages on friendship, family, and forgiveness. Although I failed at deciphering any of the codes in the book, I enjoyed reading about Emily and James' efforts at cracking them and solving the various mysteries they encounter. Both kids are clever, smart, and resourceful. Though they have much in common, their family lives are vastly different and Bertman subtly plays the two off of each other, reinforcing the messages of family, adventure, and stability. I thoroughly enjoyed "Book Scavenger". There were some unlikely coincidences and convenient events but overall the story was tightly written, fast-paced, and thoroughly engaging.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    I tend to rate a lot of middle grade books "as a middle grade book." So if I liked it, then I liked it for a middle grade book. I think it's only fair to compare them to other books in the same genre. But I found that I was genuinely able to enjoy Book Scavenger—and not just as a book meant for ten year olds. It held up to a lot of young adult, and even adult, novels, in the entertainment factor. Of course, there were a few things that separated this book from those aimed at older audiences, most I tend to rate a lot of middle grade books "as a middle grade book." So if I liked it, then I liked it for a middle grade book. I think it's only fair to compare them to other books in the same genre. But I found that I was genuinely able to enjoy Book Scavenger—and not just as a book meant for ten year olds. It held up to a lot of young adult, and even adult, novels, in the entertainment factor. Of course, there were a few things that separated this book from those aimed at older audiences, most obviously the fact that the writing was much simpler. But I thought the characters were well developed and it was a lot of fun to follow Emily as she took on adventures and tried to solve a mystery. I really liked a few themes that were strongly highlighted. The author emphasized the importance of family, and Emily's family wasn't perfect, but she still loved them for all their mistakes. There was also a big friendship theme. Emily bonds with James, a new boy she meets when her family first moves to San Francisco. I know friendship is a popular theme in middle grade novels, but I liked that Emily and James's was more realistic than most—they quarreled and at one point gave each other the silent treatment after they had a fight, and they were both puzzle lovers so they had their own secret code that they used to write each other messages. This seems like a silly thing to mention, and it's such a small part of the novel, but I really liked how Emily's older brother had a mohawk. I don't know about you, but a lot of the time middle grade books seem a bit too clean to me. I'm not saying I want them to be filled with profanity and grotesque violence, but some darker or more gritty middle grade material would be a nice change. The characters also have a tendency to be too perfect in MG books, with all the adults acting like well-behaved, perfect role models. So the small detail of Matthew's shaved head really pleased me and added an awesome, diverse touch to the story. My favorite thing by far in Book Scavenger was the BOOKS. Books are scattered everywhere throughout the plot. There are mentions of popular book titles and, of course, the book-loving main characters. Edgar Allan Poe also plays a significant role in the mystery plot. I got so excited when Emily was playing Book Scavenger and found a hidden book that happened to be one of my favorites. It was really awesome.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kat LeMaster

    Cute YA cozy! Anybody who has been a bookworm since childhood will love this book. In this version of our world geocaching meets book sharing. People hide books and you find them! Mr. Griswald, who started Book Scavenger, has special book finding contests in San Francisco where book hungers have to solve ciphers to find the book. Easy read that makes you want to start hunting books!

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