Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is a terrific book and code lover’s mystery. It’s exactly the type of book my Nancy Drew-reading younger self would have loved. Larrabee enjoyed it too.
Twelve-year-old Emily’s family moves all the time. Their latest move has brought them to San Francisco, home of Garrison Griswold, the creator of Book Scavenger. Book Scavenger is a game in which players hide books and then post clues in the form of puzzles, and Emily is a big fan. (Larrabee’s first comment: “Is this game real? It should be!”)
Emily stumbles across a mysterious book, a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Gold-Bug. At first, she thinks it’s a Book Scavenger find, but it’s not listed online. When she finds typos in the story, she becomes convinced that the book contains a code that’s part of Mr. Griswold’s new game. With the help of her friend James and her older brother Matthew, she must solve the puzzles and find the hidden treasure while staying one step ahead of the bad guys.
Some of the things I liked best about this book:
- The San Francisco setting: I recommend this book for anyone planning a trip to the City by the Bay.
- The friendship between Emily and James: I love friendship stories!
- The relationship between Emily and Matthew: For anyone who’s watched a younger sibling trying to figure out what’s happening to a teenage sibling, their interactions will ring true.
- The codes: From substitution ciphers to Pigpen ciphers, this book is full of cool codes.
For readers (like us!) who can’t get enough, there is already a sequel, The Unbreakable Code. And the third book in the series, The Alcatraz Escape, is coming out next month!