Book Review: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Book Scavenger is a middle grade novel by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now 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 himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game before those who attacked Griswold come after them too. 

Book Scavenger is a book that combines the coming of age theme of changing schools and moving with a mystery and code breaking skills. Emily and her family moves around regularly, and at 12, Emily is starting to wish she could lay down roots and stay in one place for awhile. Meanwhile, her idol has been attacked and his next big game has been accidentally launched early, and Emily is working hard with her new friend James and her older brother Matthew to solve the clues and find the prize before the people searching for the original clue and final prize catch up to them and take what they want. The story covers a lot of ground and has something for every type of reader. There is a mystery to solve, codes to break, history to learn, and some great kids trying to find their place in the world. Each of the main players is multi dimensional and believable. I just wish I had the time to take part in a game like Book Scavenger, if only it really existed. 

Book Scavenger is a great middle grade novel for a variety of readers. It is fast paced and will appeal to mystery lovers, history buffs, and those that love a good character driven story.

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