Sunday, June 26, 2016

BOOK SCAVENGER- Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Between classes and grandmothering, I'm not getting very much reading done this summer (unless you count VEGETABLES IN UNDERWEAR, my granddaughter's current favorite book, which I have read at least 47 times in the past five days). This week I finally finished Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's BOOK SCAVENGER, one of my first novels of the summer.

A quick plot summary (I have to finish before my granddaughter gets up for the day): Emily's parent have a goal- they want to live in all fifty states. Consequently, the family moves about once a year, making it hard for Emily to make many close face-to-face friends. She is a reader, who participates in an online game called the BOOK SCAVENGER. The premise of the game is that participants hide books, leave clues on an online site, and other readers try to find the books. Participants get points for hiding books and also for finding books. The goal, similar to many other video games is to move through levels named after famous mystery writers, e.g. Edgar Allan Poe.

When the book opens, Emily and her family are moving to San Francisco, home of Garrison Griswold, the creator of the BOOK SCAVENGER. Griswold has just announced a new game/contest, his biggest ever, and Emily is looking forward to participating. Before the contest can start, Griswold is seriously injured in an attack in a BART station, and winds up in the hospital. It looks like the game may never start, until Emily and her new friend, James, find the first clue, then must outwit Griswold's attackers to solve the contest.

This book is fun on a lot of levels. All of the clues are based on different types of secret codes, so the reader is exposed to lots of different kinds of codes. (I'm drawn back to a summer when I was in third or fourth grade and spent hours creating secret messages, based on a 75 cent Scholastic book of codes, which I loved). I think kids who liked the LEMONCELLO LIBRARY series will love this book. There's also a really nice making friends/solving problems with friends/keeping friends element woven in.

And one more cool thing, there is an actual BOOK SCAVENGER game readers can play.

The BOOK SCAVENGER is a series, with the second book scheduled to come out next Spring.

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