Saturday, April 7, 2018

Book Scavenger: Review

Book Scavenger (2015) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is a book that I would have LOVED as a young reader. It has a premise that I could wish as an adult were true. What if there were a secret online world of book scavengers? Book lovers who who hunt for books and win points and prizes for finding them? Who can hide books and leave clues for others to find. How awesome would that be? I mean, hunting for long-desired books in used book stores is great fun. It's one reason why I don't like to do my book-shopping online. I like the the thrill of the hunt. It would be an added bonus if that hunt could be part of a shared book-scavenging community.

In the book, that's exactly what we've got. Garrison Griswold has created the online scavenger hunt for readers called Book Scavenger. There's the usual hiding and finding of books by participants, but every once in a while Griswold does something big, something spectacular and special for his friends in the Book Scavenger world. He has been putting the finishing touches on his latest game and is preparing to do a big announcement when he is mugged at the BART (subway) station. He has just time enough to hide his special edition of Poe's The Gold Bug which was to be part of the promo.

Enter twelve-year-old Emily who has just moved to San Francisco (her parents have this weird goal to live in every single one of the 50 states and uproot the family all the freaking time to do this....). Emily has just made her first friend--James--who shares her passion for word games and reading and who has never hear of Book Scavenger. She gets to introduce him big-time when they accidentally find the hidden Gold Bug. With Emily's Book Scavenger savvy and James's cipher-smarts, the two are able to plunge full-throttle into the ultimate scavenger hunt--one that Griswold himself designed and No One Else in the Book Scavenger world knows about yet.

Or do they? Somebody is stalking them online and following their every move. Could Griswold's prize be that fabulous? 

This is a fantastic adventure book for middle graders. Shoot, it's a pretty fantastic for those of us far, far beyond the middle grade years who still crave a chance for a great bookish adventure. I liked the way Emily's older brother chose to help her and James when they needed it most--instead of treating them like little kids. I also enjoyed watching Emily start to learn what it means to have a friend and be a friend. Some have labeled her selfish--but, honestly, it's her parents who have been selfish, uprooting the kids whenever the whim to head to a new state hits them. How on earth was Emily supposed to learn how to connect and think about others when she hasn't been allowed to connect with anyone outside her family for any length time? 

A really fun read. ★★★★

[Finished on  3/34/18]

1 comment:

Kate said...

These book scavenger hunts sound so much fun! Given you're love of and expertise in creating reading/scavenger hunt challenges I can imagine this book being an even more fun read for you.