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Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Book Scavenger" by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Website Here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Book Scavenger is a children's novel. It has mystery, adventure, friendship, and a scavenger hunt with clues and codes to break. It is very similar to Westing Game and Egypt Game, but a modern literary version of it. 

Book Scavenger is part of a proposed series of books, but it can be read on its own. 

Book Scavenger was published on June 2, 2015 by Henry Holt and Company.

ANALYSIS: What if there was a worldwide scavenger hunt that involved all your favorite novels? Think of it. You take a favorite book of yours, read it, review it, and then go out into the world and hide it. Once hidden, other book lovers will hunt for your book (and thousands of other books hidden in the wild) using clues and codes you left on the website. It is like allowing your favorite books to go 'into the wild' where other readers can find them, read them, and enjoy them.

The above scene is exactly what happens in Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's newest novel Book Scavenger. Emily, a 12 year old book lover and avid player of the book hunt game Book Scavenger who has moved around from state to state, finds herself in the middle of a mysterious, yet epic book-themed scavenger hunt. She truly believes that Garrison Griswold, a Willy Wonka version for the literary world, has created this epic version in an effort to help someone win the ultimate prize.

Unfortunately, Griswold was attacked and lies in a coma in the hospital. Could his attack have something to do with this new game or is it unrelated? Emily embarks on a quest, along with her new friend James, to unravel the clues that are found in this epic game. But time is running out, as it appears other, stronger and dangerous individuals are after the same clues and want to get to the big prize before Emily does.

Book Scavenger is one of the best books I've read in 2015. It is the perfect blend of The Westing Game and The Egypt Game, but for book lovers and those that love to crack codes and mysteries. I view Book Scavenger as a modern version of these books, but with its own twists and turns.

I loved that while the actual game of Book Scavenger was played online, the majority of the book relied on good old fashioned thinking/team work. Many modern books try to shove the technological aspect in your face and go overboard. But Book Scavenger has the perfect blend of modern technology and adventure/clue scavenging. It is this ability to not rely on technology (and some of the other aspects, such as timeless plot and great characters) that gives this book the potential to be a timeless classic.

Book Scavenger has everything that a reader could love. There is humor, a solid friendship between children, family bonds, mystery, and codes to crack. Readers will love playing along with Emily as she searches throughout the city to find the ultimate prize. The writing is tight and well thought out, the characters enjoyable, and there are just enough literary references to satisfy readers of all ages. Even though it is a children's novel, it really appeals to everyone's inner child.

Book Scavenger is one of my 2015 reads. I could read it over and over again. The only problem I have is I really wish Book Scavenger was a real thing and people all over would take part. Maybe someday!


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