In the tradition of Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s library by Chris Grabenstein, Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is a book about a game and, like in Grabenstein’s story, the game is also about books. It is an adventure chock-full of literary references, codes and danger but underpinned with compelling ideas of family, friendship and overcoming adversity. Twelve-year-old Emily Crane has just moved, along with her parents and older brother Matthew, to San Francisco. Instead of being excited, Emily is tired; this is the latest in a handful of moves her family has made in their quest to live in all 50 states. Every time she gets settled in a new place, Emily’s family moves again. Her one consolation is that San Francisco is home to Garrison Griswold, creator of Book Scavenger, an interactive game of hiding and finding books of which Emily is a skilled player. But shortly after Emily and her family arrive in San Francisco, Griswold is attacked and nearby Emily finds a hidden book — a handmade version of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Gold-Bug” — that she believes is the beginning of a new Griswold game.

Emily is determined to solve all the clues and find the treasure that they lead to, but she’s not the only one interested in this particular volume; two armed thugs are after the book and are hot on Emily’s heels! Emily enlists her new friend James, who happens to have an interest in codes, to help her with the game. With each clue, they come closer to finding what Griswold hid — and closer to danger. (F CHA)


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