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Author: Bertman, Jennifer Chambliss
In the first Book Scavenger mystery, just after twelve-year-old Emily and her family move to San Francisco, she teams up with new friend James to follow clues in an odd book they find, hoping to figure out its secrets before the men who attacked Emily's hero, publisher Garrison Griswold, solve the mystery or come after the friends.
Book Scavenger, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 174657
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 66652
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/15)
School Library Journal (05/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/15)
The Hornbook (00/09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Emily doesn't have enough time to get attached to places. She and her family move yearly, pursuing a Kerouac-inspired, footloose family adventure. Through their travels, Emily anchors herself through an online community called Book Scavenger, a geocaching-style game where participants hide books in public places and reveal the locations through encoded clues. Book Scavenger is the brainchild of Garrison Griswold, the "Willy Wonka of publishing," a San Francisco-based publisher with a penchant for elaborate spectacles and games. When Emily's family moves to San Francisco, she's excited to encounter the elusive Griswold and to participate in his newest game. Unfortunately, he is attacked on his way to a press conference, and even Emily's beloved Book Scavenger may be in jeopardy. The key to it all just might be in a mysterious book that Emily and her new neighbor James found at the BART station, but time is running short, and sinister (if bumbling) forces pursue them. Sprinkled with ciphers, San Francisco landmarks, and literary allusions, Book Scavenger is a fun, light, implausible adventure. The action drags occasionally, and the characterizations are sparse and sometimes overly cute, but the book's goofy, feckless charm is undeniable. VERDICT This will appeal to fans of Blue Balliett's art-world mysteries.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/15/2015 To Emily, who has moved 8 times in her 12 years, San Francisco seems the ideal place to live. She quickly finds a good friend in her neighbor James, and the city is the headquarters of her beloved Book Scavenger game, which combines reading, puzzle solving, and treasure hunting. After Garrison Griswold, the game’s creator, is mugged, Emily finds a unique book near the crime scene. Soon she and James are playing Griswold’s new game, trying to elude the thugs who attacked him and investigating who is behind the crime. The occasional black-and-white illustration, cipher picture, or map adds to the fun for readers, who will want to play along—and they can, too, at www.bookscavenger.com. Well paced and involving, the story will intrigue kids with an interest in mysteries and codes as well as books. The writing includes references to local landmarks as well as literary allusions to Jack Kerouac, Robert Louis Stevenson, and, especially, Edgar Allan Poe. A lively first novel, this could be the start of a new mystery series. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 As part of her parents’ quest to live in all fifty states, twelve-year-old Emily finds herself in San Francisco. She thrills to be near her idol: publishing magnate Garrison Griswold, whose whimsy and love of books and puzzles inspired him to create interactive games for readers, including the titular Book Scavenger. When Griswold is shot in a presumed subway mugging, Emily visits the site of the attack, where she discovers a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug” bearing the seal of Griswold’s publishing company and containing a number of curious errors. Sensing something odd, Emily enlists the help of James, her new-really, her first-friend and fellow puzzle junkie. Together they uncover a multi-layered mystery, part game, part life-or-death, all unfolding against the richly detailed backdrop of the City by the Bay. A love letter to San Francisco and its literary history, this well-paced novel of intrigue also provides quite the education, namedropping the likes of Jack Kerouac, Dashiell Hammett, and Amy Tan, diving into the world of ciphers, and offering bountiful brainteasers with Dickensian naming devices (there’s an explanatory author’s note), all while maintaining a skillful and satisfying balance of brains and heart. Emily’s struggle to be a friend is authentic and sympathetic, as is her growing dissatisfaction with her family’s transient lifestyle. This will rivet fans of Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer (BCCB 7/04) or Raskin’s The Westing Game (BCCB 9/78), which gets an in-text shout-out; be prepared to start a Book Scavenger chapter (pun intended) in your own library, stat. AA - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.