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Book Scavenger

Book Scavenger

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Book Scavenger

2/5 (1 peringkat)
348 pages
4 hours
Jun 2, 2015


A New York Times-Bestseller!

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.

Racing against time, 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.

This title has Common Core connections.

Jun 2, 2015

Tentang penulis

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has worked for literary agencies, magazines, educational publishers, and as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. Book Scavenger is her debut novel.

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Book Scavenger - Jennifer Chambliss Bertman




GARRISON GRISWOLD whistled his way down Market Street, silver hair bobbing atop his head like a pigeon wing. He tapped his trademark walking stick, striped in Bayside Press colors, to the beat of his tune. A cabdriver slowed and honked his horn, leaning to his passenger-side window.

Mr. Griswold! You want a ride? It’s on me, my friend.

Very kind of you, but I’m fine, thank you, Mr. Griswold called back, and raised his cane in a salute. He preferred traveling by streetcar or BART. They were the veins of this city he loved, after all.

A woman clutching a cell phone hurried to Mr. Griswold’s side.

My son is such a fan of Book Scavenger. Can I trouble you for a photograph?

Mr. Griswold checked his wristwatch. Plenty of time to spare before he had to be at the main library for his big announcement. He balanced a hand on the woman’s shoulder as she held the phone at arm’s length to take the picture.

So is it true? she asked. Do you have another game in the works?

In response, Mr. Griswold pulled an imaginary zipper across his lips and gave her a wink. He continued on his way, through the stream of pedestrians, whistling and tapping his cane on the brick sidewalk, completely unaware of the two men who’d stepped into his wake.

One was tall and gangly with bushy black eyebrows peeking from the edge of his backward ball cap. His partner was a bulldog of a man who moved as if his chest propelled him down the street instead of his legs. His hands were jammed in his front sweatshirt pocket, and his stare didn’t waver from his target.

Mr. Griswold descended into the BART station. When he paused before the fare gate to remove his Fast Pass from his wallet, a voice from behind spoke his name. Mr. Griswold turned and faced the men. His smile faltered. It was early afternoon, off-hours for commuting, and the trickle of people coming in and out of the station was slow. Nonexistent at the moment.

He adjusted his frameless glasses and looked the tall man in the eye. I’m running late for an appointment, gentlemen. Mr. Griswold wiggled his salt-and-pepper mustache—a nervous habit. The way that short man popped his knuckles and gave him a look that could only be described as scornful caused him to put up his guard.

We have a friend in common, the tall man said.

Yeah, a friend. The short man laughed hoarsely.

Ah, I see. Mr. Griswold turned to go through the fare gate, but the tall one stepped in front of him and blocked his way.

I’m in quite a rush, Mr. Griswold said. If you wouldn’t mind calling my office, I’d be happy to speak with you at a later date.

Mr. Griswold extended his walking stick between the two men, trying to force his way through, but the tall man grasped him firmly by the shoulder.

We want the book, he said.

Mr. Griswold resisted the urge to hug his leather satchel firmly to his side. Inside was a special edition of The Gold-Bug by Edgar Allan Poe that he had crafted himself using the Gutenberg 2004 EX-PRO Printing Press and Binding Machine he kept at his house. He planned to make forty-nine more, but only the one in his bag existed at that moment. He’d brought The Gold-Bug as a prop for the unveiling of his new, elaborate game. It would be just enough to give a hint, a small peek, to the public of what would be involved. But these men couldn’t be talking about that book. Nobody knew about it yet—nobody at Bayside Press, and nobody in his personal life.

Mr. Griswold used the cuff of his suit jacket to dab a bead of sweat from his temple. I run a publishing company, gentlemen. We deal with hundreds of books. Thousands. You’ll have to be more specific than that.

You know the one we want, the short, stocky man said. He leaned in close, stretching on tiptoe like he was looking up Mr. Griswold’s nose. He jerked his neck back to his partner. He knows which one, right, Barry?

The tall man stomped his foot. We said fake names, remember?

Whatever, the other responded. This guy’s old. His hearing’s probably shot.

Taking advantage of their brief moment of strife, Mr. Griswold swung his walking stick and whacked Barry on the cheek, then pushed past him toward the entrance to the lower level.


His cry echoed in the cavernous station. There was a low crack, like a distant boom of thunder. Mr. Griswold felt something like a punch to his back. He stumbled and fell to the ground, hitting his head on the stone floor. Had he been shot? He struggled to breathe. A numb dampness spread across his lower back, and his head throbbed where it had connected to the ground.

Barry cursed and rushed forward. He stooped beside Mr. Griswold and placed a palm on his forehead, as if he were checking for a fever. What did you do, Clyde?

What happened to ‘we gotta use fake names’? Clyde said.

I can’t believe this! Barry cried. "You have a gun? You shot him? That wasn’t part of the plan."

Clyde shrugged. I improvised.

What if he doesn’t have the book on him?

Of course he has it on him. Clyde inspected the hole in his sweatshirt pocket where he’d concealed his gun. He needs it for that press conference.

An automated announcement drifted up from the level below where the trains and buses arrived. Barry slid his arms underneath Mr. Griswold’s and dragged him backward to an empty bench.

With a soft grunt, Mr. Griswold collapsed against the slick granite wall behind him. He crumpled from a seated position to a prone one, his back sliding against the wall, leaving a streak of blood to mark his trail. He tried to land on top of his bag in an effort to keep it from the men, but Clyde tugged it free.

Clyde pulled the book from Mr. Griswold’s bag. "The Gold-Bug by Edgar Allan Poe. He tossed it to Barry. That has to be it."

Mr. Griswold’s vision blurred the two men together and apart. He wanted to say something, to stop them, but all that came out were moans.

Barry hardly looked at the book before hurling it to the corner, where it rebounded off the wall and slid behind a trash can. That’s a brand-new book! he shouted.

It’s still a book, Clyde said.

"He’s a publisher! He’s going to have books on him. We were told to look for an old book. A really old book."

A BART train rumbled in one level below. The hum of people leaving the cars carried upstairs.

We gotta get out of here, Barry said. The two men raced to the exit.

A boisterous group wearing black-and-orange jerseys rode up the escalator. One of them noticed Mr. Griswold slumped on the bench and ran over. A man dialed 9-1-1 on his cell phone. A woman crouched next to him and repeated, Hang on. Everything will be okay.

As Garrison Griswold hovered on the brink of consciousness, he wasn’t worried about when help would arrive. It was the slim edition of The Gold-Bug wedged between the trash can and the wall that consumed his thoughts. All that work, all his plans. Everything was in place, but without The Gold-Bug, his game wouldn’t get launched. His nearly priceless treasure would never be discovered. He hoped desperately that the right person would find his book. Someone who would take the time to understand and appreciate the secrets it held.



THE CLUE was a substitution cipher—Emily was sure. Figuring that out had been the easy part. The hard part was trying to crack it. She rearranged the letters in another attempt to solve it:

Throw ferzu borg the zoey.

That couldn’t be right. Who was Ferzu Borg and why would she have to throw him a zoey? And what was a zoey, anyway? This was no way to advance to the Auguste Dupin level of Book Scavenger.

With a huff, Emily ripped the page from her notebook, crumpled it, and dropped it with the other failed attempts littering the cab of the moving van. At the top of a fresh page, she carefully recopied the cipher she’d printed from the Book Scavenger website a few days ago.

Hey, Sherlylocks, her dad interrupted. Take a break and enjoy the scenery. You know who once lived in San Francisco, don’t you?

Gee, let me guess.… Emily continued writing in her notebook without looking up. Her dad had only mentioned they were moving to the home of his literary idol, oh, sixty million times.

‘There was nowhere to go but everywhere.’ Jack Kerouac wrote that in—

"On the Road, Dad. I know."

Emily sighed, frustrated with the cipher and frustrated with her dad for breaking her concentration. She slid her pencil back through her ponytail for safekeeping. They were driving through a valley jam-packed with rows of houses wrapped around hillsides like serpentine belts. Emily guessed there were more houses in this one corner of California than in the entire state of New Mexico, where they had most recently moved from.

In the side-view mirror, she could see the family’s beat-up minivan trailing behind them. They had nicknamed the minivan Sal, another homage to the great and almighty Jack Kerouac. Their mother gripped Sal’s steering wheel and leaned forward the way she always did, like she was so excited to get where they were going, whether it was the grocery store or California. Matthew, Emily’s older brother, bobbed his lopsided Mohawk as he listened to music. Most likely Flush, his favorite band. Emily would bet a box of books on it.

Nothing more exciting than a new beginning, don’t you think? Emily’s dad asked.

Emily nodded, although she wasn’t sure she agreed. Her parents were so proud of this life they’d created, but she didn’t get their enthusiasm for new beginnings. It was like starting a bunch of books and never finishing any of them.

California would be the ninth state for Emily in her twelve and three-quarters years, all part of her parents’ quest to live once in each of the fifty states. Yes, a quest to live in every state. That always went over well when Emily tried to explain their frequent moving to people.

Are you in the military?

Are you in a witness-protection program?

Are you on the run from the feds?

"You just move around for fun?"

Starting before she was born, her parents had bounced from state to state because, in their words, that’s where our paychecks pulled us. When Emily was five, they lived in New York and her dad was laid off from his job at a publishing company. He started to take on freelance copyediting jobs. That same year, her mother was given permission to do her programming job remotely, which meant anywhere she had a computer. Realizing their work wouldn’t be tying them to one spot, her parents decided to make their fantasy of living once in every state a reality. They started a blog called 50 Homes in 50 States and chronicled their moving adventures. The blog had been a hobby to begin with, a way to capture memories from the different places they lived, but it grew into a side business with companies paying to advertise on it, and travel sites and magazines asking them to write articles. The Crane family had been averaging a move almost once a year ever since.

For a while, Emily loved it. It was a big family adventure. Discovering new places, the suspense of where they would go next. And her parents always tried to make it fun. Like their reveal tradition—a surprise dinner they threw for Emily and her older brother, with clues indicating their next destination. Three weeks ago, Emily had walked into their rental after school, brainstorming ideas for a notable New Mexico landmark to feature in her diorama project, and found the kitchen table set with sourdough bread bowls filled with gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins. Her whole body had tensed up, knowing she’d walked into a reveal dinner, which meant they were moving again. You’d think she would have gotten used to these surprises, but she hadn’t.

At first, all she could think about was how she wouldn’t get to make her own rock crystal stalactites for her Carlsbad Caverns diorama idea. Then she saw more clues for their next destination: an ALCATRAZ OUTPATIENT MENTAL WARD T-shirt for Matthew; a paperback copy of The Maltese Falcon for Emily; the black-and-orange Giants cap her mom wore; her dad dressed like a beatnik in a black turtleneck, beret, and black-framed glasses.

When she deduced San Francisco was their next move, Emily should have flung the gold coins in celebration. The city was not only home to her dad’s literary idol, but Emily’s, too: Garrison Griswold, CEO of Bayside Press and mastermind of Book Scavenger, the coolest book-hunting game in existence. (Also the only book-hunting game in existence.) Book Scavenger was an online community of people who loved books and puzzles and games as much as Emily did, and it traveled with her no matter where her family lived.

But instead of celebrating, she found herself forcing a smile for her parents. Now that the Cranes had spent years bouncing from state to state, their family adventures were starting to feel … Emily wasn’t sure what the word was to describe it. All she knew was, a few weeks ago, she’d been sitting with a book and her bagged lunch at her usual spot on the stone planter that surrounded the old oak tree at her Albuquerque middle school. A group of girls she barely knew sprawled near her on the grass. She listened to them complain about how boring their upcoming weekend would be because they were going to the community pool again, and then they started talking about a dance class they took together. Two girls jumped up and tried to remember a routine they’d performed years earlier, doing the moves right there on the grass. Emily, pretending to read her book and not pay them any attention, had felt wistful and a tiny bit jealous. Not because she wanted to take dance classes, or be a part of their group, or go to the community pool so regularly it became boring. What bothered her, she realized as she covertly watched those girls, was that she would never have that circle of friendship. Thanks to her family’s traveling lifestyle, she would always be the outsider. She could take dance classes and go to the community pool, sure, but she never stuck around long enough to make real friends, much less relive memories with them years later.

As the moving van exited the freeway and rattled past the baseball stadium, Emily tried to focus on the positive: Book Scavenger! San Francisco!

Sunshine glinted off a silver bridge that arched overhead. Not the Golden Gate Bridge—Emily knew that bridge was red and not silver. Flat water and docks were on one side of their van, and a cluster of skyscrapers on the other. In a way, it reminded her of Lake Michigan when they lived in Chicago, with a city view in one direction and a tranquil spread of water in the other. Although the San Francisco Bay was a swimming pool in comparison to Lake Michigan, with mounds of land on the far side that looked close enough to swim to.

They turned away from the water and headed down a busy street. They were soon engulfed by office buildings so tall Emily couldn’t see the tops from where she sat. She double-checked the radio station they were listening to—104.5—making sure it matched the numbers she’d written in her notebook. According to the information she’d read in the Book Scavenger forums, the station would be broadcasting Mr. Griswold’s new game announcement any minute now. In addition to running a publishing company, Garrison Griswold organized outlandish events, such as an annual Quidditch tournament in Golden Gate Park and a literary bingo game with so many participants it filled a baseball stadium and earned him a spot in the Guinness World Records book. It was why people called him the Willy Wonka of book publishing. People traveled to San Francisco to participate in his games, and now Emily was going to be living there herself. At least for a while, anyway. She would have been there in person to hear the announcement, but by the time she knew they were moving to San Francisco, tickets had all been given away.

Traffic. Her dad sighed.

They had slowed to a stop and idled in a line of cars. Her mother and brother were one car behind in Sal the minivan. A green trolley rattled down tracks in the middle of the street. They inched forward. The flashing lights of a police car came into view, then a fire truck, then an ambulance. Yellow caution tape was strung in a wide perimeter around stairs descending

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  • (4/5)
    Twelve-year-old Emily is an enthusiastic participant in Book Scavenger, an online game in which people hide books and leave clues for them to be found by others. And when her family relocates to San Francisco as part of their eccentric quest to spend time living in all 50 US sates, she's excited to participate in a local book-scavenging contest to be held by the site's creator... until an attack by would-be book thieves prevents him from announcing the contest. But Emily's found the book that was to be the key to the game, and is determined to follow the clues where they lead.This is a decent kid's book, although it's one of those that I think I would have enjoyed a lot more if I'd read it at the appropriate target age. (Well, no, OK, if I'd read it when I was at the appropriate target age, I'd have just been confused, because I'd have no idea what this strange "internet" thing might be. But you know what I mean.) I especially would have enjoyed it because I went through a phase where I was fascinated by puzzles and ciphers, and there's certainly a lot of that in here. Adult me, however, mainly just appreciated the literary references.Rating: 3.5/5, but I recommend it a bit more highly than that for puzzle- and book-loving kids.
  • (4/5)
    Emily Crane’s parents pull up stakes every year and move their family to a new state, working virtually and indulging their love of travel to gather material for a book, 50 Homes in 50 States. Their teenaged son seems happy enough with this routine, but twelve-year-old Emily dreams of staying someplace long enough to make friends, to create an emotional anchor in a life filled with detachment. The Cranes next stop is San Francisco, and although Emily dreads the move, this one offers at least one promise of pleasure: San Francisco is the home and literary playground of Garrison Griswold, the originator of what Emily considers “the coolest book-hunting game in existence.” Alas, the same day Emily and her family drive into town, thugs attack Griswold in a BART station, beating him severely. Now the literary world awaits daily updates from the hospital: Will Griswold survive to reveal his newest book-hunting venture?James Lee, Emily’s new neighbor, seems familiar with every one of San Francisco’s hidden stairways and twisty streets, and he loves puzzles as much as Emily. They quickly become friends, and James takes Emily—and Matthew, her older, rock-loving brother—on their first foray around town. When they venture into a BART station, Emily finds a copy of Poe's The Gold Bug jammed behind a trash can, a discovery that plunges her into danger from Griswold's attackers. Emily quickly realizes The Gold Bug contains clues about a treasure Griswold has hidden somewhere in the city. She and James set out to crack a series of clever ciphers, only to find that each success raises the risk they will be found by Griswold's attackers. Emily's fears are heightened by a growing realization an even more complex and important puzzle confronts her: Having made a friend, how does she keep him?Bertman paints such a delightful picture of San Francisco that, as I read, I began to think it’s time I revisited that city. Emily is nicely drawn, a girl of realistic strengths—tenacious, clever, and cheerful—and weaknesses—impatient and self-involved, perhaps the result of too much aloneness in her young life. James’s talent lies in solving ciphers, highlighted by a contest he enters with sharp-tongued classmate Maddie, but his strongest (and most endearing) quality is his insistence upon friendship’s mutuality. Emily’s big brother, Matthew, is absorbed in the rock band Flush, much to Emily’s dismay, but this obsession isn’t allowed to override (entirely) his essential kindness. Other characters are drawn much more sparely, which weakens the story. Clyde and Barry, the two thugs searching for The Gold Bug (and Emily), are inept and mildly humorous moments, but their voices are virtually interchangeable. Social Studies teacher, Mr Quisling, is almost a complete blank; Bertman seems to think using the name excuses her from character development, yet I wonder how many readers will grasp the historical reference. Ditto Mr Remora; he is peculiar, but hardly sinister, and once again Bertman has chosen a name that is almost laughably on-the-nose, a reminder to all writers that what worked for Charles Dickens doesn't necessarily translate well in modern middle-grade fiction. Hollister, bookstore owner and former friend of Garrison Griswold, stands in for the de rigueur voice of (mostly) wise, if occasionally oblique, guidance. And the abrupt about-face made by Emily’s parents at the end of the book reduces these already-thin characters to little more than paper dolls being manipulated to force a happy ending. Surprisingly, the least well-drawn character is the most essential—Garrison Griswold—but as his puzzle is the critical issue, this superficiality doesn’t affect the story.I imagine many readers will be sad the Book Scavenger game doesn’t exist beyond Bertman’s nicely-designed book-promotion efforts. Some, I hope, will be inspired to explore further the scandal-ridden history of Masquerade, a 1979 picture book that induced many to search the book’s illustrations for clues to a treasure hidden by the author, Kit Williams.Is Book Scavenger perfect? No. Early on, when Emily and James query a potential online ally about the scavenger game, they receive repetitive non-answers; I recognized these immediately, and I imagine most will recognize the frustrating computer response. And, most important, because the book's villains are so flimsily drawn and possess barely an ounce of the sinister, the story’s climax--replete a lone cavalryman-to-the-rescue--is disappointingly weak. I was left wondering if Bertman was in a rush to meet a deadline or wasn’t quite sure how to end this otherwise delightful story. Emily, James, Matthew, and their puzzles deserve better.The good of Book Scavenger, however, far outweighs the so-so. Overall, the writing is solid and justifies the reader's immersion, the mystery nicely complex, the ciphers and puzzles are pure fun, and the main characters appealing and resourceful. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Fun search and book styled tale.
  • (4/5)
    Book Scavenger is a great middle school book. The story is about Emily and her eccentric family that moves repeatedly around the country in order to live in 50 homes in 50 different states. On their move to San Francisco, Emily meets James and finds a friend with the same interests in books and games as she has. Emily and James become involved in a game created by Garrison Griswold, the creator of a variety of games for book lovers around the country. This game, however, becomes deadly when Griswold is mugged and sent to the hospital on the way to revealing his new game. Emily and James stumble onto the game and find themselves trying to solve the puzzle at the same time they are being pursed by unknown assailants who want a book by Edgar Allen Poe called The Gold Bug. There are lots of twists and turns in this story and Emily learns a great deal about herself and her family. This is a wonderful book for middle grade readers as well as anybody who likes a good mystery, puzzle, or treasure hunt.
  • (5/5)
    What's more fun for me than reading a middle grade book? Reading books about books of course. I find I like a bit of irony and to me this is kind of ironic. I also expect to be taken on an adventure and get a fascinating mystery to solve along with the characters. In a middle grade book I get just a punch more fun and sweetness.

    I loved this book and how smart the kids were, and I was surprised how elements of the story was a little dark and macabre, just a bit. Edgar Allan Poe and his life and career as a writer was a big part in this book, and that's where the dark elements came about. I learned a lot about his life and I'm now curious to know more about him and read his stories. Just shows, it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks as the saying goes. Something that I notice about middle grade books today is how more edgy, dark and honest they are. Makes me think this is because the kids today are smart enough to know they don't want to be write down to or lied to. I like where this genre seems to be heading, I love middle grade books, it's my go to genre when feeling a little burned out on other genres.

    I recommend this book to the kid that loves solving puzzles, adventure, and solving a mystery with real bad guys.
  • (5/5)
    What’s a girl to do? Emily doesn’t have much she can call her own. Her Mom & Dad have free lance jobs that allow them to work from any location they choose. They have taken this freedom to heart. They are determined to have lived in each of the fifty states. They move Emily and her older brother, Matthew, wherever it pleases them to go. Emily knows her Dad’s favorite author is Jack Kerouac, who wrote, On The Road, back in the day. She believes he gets his inspiration for travel and freedom from this writer of the beat generation. Emily doesn’t seem to make friends at school easily. Perhaps she doesn’t want to make friends, knowing she may have to pack up and leave in the middle of a school year. Her one passion in life is the internet game, Book Scavenger. It appeared on the web about five years ago and Emily has been addicted to it ever since. Book lovers of all ages can play the game. Books are hidden all over the country by the web masters and the players. Players can gain cred & prizes by solving puzzles and finding hidden books or having their books found. This game is perfect for Emily, as books have always been her solace, substituting for her lack of friends as she moves from one location to another with her family. As her Mom and Dad set their sights on San Francisco as their next temporary home, Emily is thrilled. This is where Garrison Griswold, the creator of Book Scavenger has his headquarters. Emily has read that the next big puzzle challenge is about to begin. This may be Emily’s only chance to meet her hero, Mr. Griswold. Maybe that boy next door to her new home might even be interested in helping her. She would love to be the one to solve the next puzzle and claim the top prize. Challenges and prizes await those who dare. Great fun, lots of puzzles and action.
  • (4/5)
    A fun adventure/mystery story set in San Francisco and full of literary references. Kids will enjoy extensive use of codes and puzzles.
  • (4/5)
    This story was a great middle grade adventure. Emily has just arrived in San Francisco. Her parents have set a goal of living for a time in each of the fifty states. Emily is tired of moving and of never staying anywhere long enough to make friends. However, San Francisco has some perks that the other cities did not. Emily loves the Book Scavenger game created by Garrison Griswold, a publisher who lives in San Francisco. She is hoping to take part in one of his local games. But she is very disappointed to learn that he has been mugged and is in serious condition in the hospital.She and her brother Matthew along with her new friend James are exploring and go to the location of the mugging. Emily finds a book - The Gold-Bug by Edgar Allen Poe - which she believes was left by some other book scavenger. Upon further exploration of the book, she decides that it is the first book in a treasure hunt set up by Griswold. She is determined to solve the puzzles and find the treasure. Unfortunately, she isn't the only one who wants the book and she and James find themselves in more danger than they could have anticipated.Besides the book hunt which is filled with codes to solve, this story is also about friendship. Emily and James have their rough spots as Emily is new to making friends and sometimes gets a little obsessed with her book scavenger hunt. It is also about the friendship of Griswold and a small bookstore owner named Hollister who helps the kids on their hunt. I liked the relationship that Emily has with her older brother Matthew who is obsessed with the band Flush. This story was exciting and I really liked the references to other books that the author managed to get into the story. Maybe it will encourage kids to dive into Poe, Hammett, and even Jack Kerouac.
  • (4/5)
    Kudos to the writer of this book. You did an amazing job. Why don't you try to publish your book in NovelStar? A lot of readers will love your work, judging from the book I just read
  • (5/5)
    I love how the author uses treasure hunts and mystery’s to create a believable picture/book. I absolutely would love to be in one of these treasure hunts! Except, I’m really bad at ciphers and codes!
  • (5/5)
    I read Chapter 1 since there’s 42 chapters and only 3 hours.
  • (5/5)
    Twelve-year-old Emily’s family moves more frequently than the average family. After all, her parents are on a quest to live in all 50 states for their blog. When they move to San Francisco, the home of Emily’s book idol, Garrison Griswold, she is beyond excited to be in the city where her favorite game Book Scavenger was created. She can’t believe it when she finds out her idol has been attacked and is in the hospital. Who would do such a thing? Her new neighbor, James, becomes fast friends with her after they realize that they both love puzzles. James has never played Book Scavenger (a game where people hide books in cities all over the country and leave clues online leading the cleverest people to find them) and when he goes with Emily and her older brother, Matthew, to look for a book they find a special one, The Gold-Bug. The book looks different from any Emily has ever seen, and the weirdest part is even though it's written by Edgar Allen Poe, it's full of mistakes. Are all the copies wrong? Are the mistakes clues? Finding The Gold-Bug makes Emily and James believe they may have stumbled on Garrison Griswold’s latest game, one he never got to announce because he was attacked. Unfortunately, the people who injured Mr. Griswold want the book that Emily has, and they will stop at nothing to get it back. Will Emily and James be able to figure out what the clues they find in The Gold-Bug mean? Can the bad guys actually find Emily and James? Did Garrison Griswold create a game he was never able to announce? Now that Emily has made her first real friend, will she have to say goodbye before she gets to really know him? You'll have to read this fabulous literary adventure in order to find out!

    I didn’t know anything about Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman when I started reading. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the fun book scavenger game that the story centers around, and I think it will appeal to a lot of kids and adults. I also think Emily would be an interesting friend because she loves books like I do and she has lived in a lot of places that I would like to talk to her about. I think Emily’s friend, James, is funny and I appreciate that he is comfortable being who he is and that he doesn’t try to impress others. Reading about Emily and James’s friendship could help kids see that being a friend means listening and doing things your friend likes to do too. The story also included many details about books, the publishing industry, and Edgar Allen Poe’s works. I know this will be a book that kids in fourth grade and up will get into (and people of any age who love books). I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
  • (4/5)
    A grand adventure for bookworms and puzzle-lovers alike. I'm not the type of reader to stop and try to figure out all of the cyphers and codes myself, but you could if you wanted to. The premise is great, the plot is well-paced and with enough danger to be exciting, but the characters' emotional arcs are strong, too; particularly Emily and Matthew. James is a bit flat, and Steve is just stupid. I think this will be a bit hit with all the nerdy reader kids.
  • (4/5)
    Emily is part of a family of wanderers who is ready for her family to settle down. She's made a friend who loves puzzles as much as she does and they are smack in the middle of the most exciting book scavenger adventure she has ever had. But Emily needs to learn about friendship and loyalty just as much as she needs to solve this puzzle
  • (4/5)
    A great adventure through San Francisco in search of both friendship and books. What's not to like? :)
  • (3/5)

    I especially liked reading this as the characters make their way through and around the
    San Francisco landmarks. If, an Edgar Allan Poe fan, you will enjoy the novel's tie in to some of Poe's lesser known work.

    When Emily Crane, a lover of books and puzzle-solving, moves, once again, into her new apartment, she is faced once again with the task of starting over. Her parens move often due to their common goal of living in all fifty state. This has become wearisome for Emily, as she never has the chance to make lasting relationships before moving away. In San Francisco, she meets James Lee, a cipher-solving whiz with a cowlick he’s named Steve. Given her background, Emily won't allow herself to get attached, James, on the other hand lives with his Chinese-American family in the same apartment building for decades. Emily is following a game created by Mr. Griswold, a Willy Wonka type of guy and author. When Griswold is attacked in the BART station, Emily fears for his life and the future of Book Scavenger, which is an exciting online geocachinglike game for books. After a disappointing book hunt at the Ferry Building, Emily finds an unexpected hardcover, The Gold-Bug, near where Griswold was attacked. Believing the book is Griswold’s pre-launched game, she becomes obsessed with solving its hidden messages while dodging two thugs and risking her friendship with James.

    There is an actual book scavenger game one can participate in where books are hidden all over the U.S.

    Ages 8-12
  • (5/5)
    If you never read any other book I recommend, please read this one. I love this book SO much, I already want to re-read it. Codes, hidden books, visiting landmarks in an historical city - what’s not to love? Emily has been an active Book Scavenger for years, so she’s excited when her family moves to San Francisco, even though she’s tired of moving once a year. Now she’s in the hometown of the man who created Book Scavenger, and he’s about to release a new game! But when he’s mugged in a subway station, no one knows if the game creator will make it, and Emily is worried her family will move again before she can participate in the game.
  • (4/5)
    Had I read this book when I was 9-12 I think I would have given it 5 stars. The children’s mysteries available to me then were nowhere near as good, and none that I can remember took place in San Francisco.This story is great for both boys and girls, and will likely also be appealing to many reluctant readers. Even though this is a children’s book I think many older people (13 and all the way up) can also enjoy it. I particularly loved the San Francisco setting and that this is a book about books. I thoroughly enjoyed the real San Francisco portions. The fictional San Francisco parts felt a bit jarring to me (though likely not true for readers who didn’t/don’t live in the city) but they were still gratifying and a hoot.This was a fun, light, enjoyable book. At times I found it scary, with a tad more feeling of menace that I prefer, but given that this book is for middle grade children I knew it wouldn’t get too dark, and it didn’t. There were a couple times I had to suspend disbelief, but not so much that it took me out of the story. Some smartly done red herrings too!Interestingly, the instructions that start the story, although short, were a bit of a drudge for me (I have a story about the exercise my wonderful fifth grade teacher gave us about the importance of carefully reading instructions and they reminded me of that.) But they made the book’s story feel all that more authentic, and I think many readers will enjoy them.I was left feeling love for the main characters and happiness for them. I felt invested in their lives: the three kids, the parents and some of the other adults, and properly scornful of the villains.This is a lovely friendship story and a great romp. Lots of fun, with heart. Perfect for children who are fans of mysteries, puzzles, codes, and definitely children who’ve lived in or visited San Francisco or who have some interest in the city.The author’s notes at the end are wonderful, and I learned a lot about Poe and some other subjects related to this story.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I am over the universe in love with this book!!!! As a fan treasure hunts, puzzles, mysteries, and more, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this ARC copy and then devoured it in one day. The author has created a perfectly paced book that refuses to be put down until the mystery comes to full light. I loved the multiple threads woven in about Edgar Allen Poe, Jack Kerouac, The Beats, the history of San Francisco, and gaming. And, as a sucker for a book with a rich setting, the author did a fantastic job of describing the scene/locations so well that I felt I was actually there with Emily and James. I really hope there will be a follow up to this, perhaps in a different city. Move over, THE WESTING GAME. There's a new book on the shelves!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    AMAZING!!!!!! If you are a bibliophile you MUST read this book. So many fascinating stories about bookshops and book people around the world. I will have two copies, one to write in and take notes and one to cherish. My book loving friends will be getting this for Christmas!!!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    A fun mix of the Caulder books by Blue Balliett. Willy Wonka, and Mr. Lemoncello. It’s a mystery, but it’s a treasure hunt. Garrison Griswald is very excited about his new game. It will be a treasure hunt with real treasure at the end. But one day on his way to the office he is gunned down and the only version of clue number one gets hidden behind the trash in the BART station by accident. However serendipity ensures when the book is found by Emily who soon realizes that she holds a golden ticket in the form of the Golden Scarab. Emily is new to San Francisco. Her parents have this crazy idea to live and work in all 50 states, but this new location is different. She has her first real friend in James, the kid in the apartment above hers, and the nomadic life is wearing thin. They find common ground in puzzles both mathematical and literary, and a crazy adventure ensues. I really liked how the author used real events such as the book Masquerade and its treasure hunt, as well as real characters like Poe, Hammett, and Karuack. This fun romp was not as fast paced as Lemoncello, but allowed itself to be funny in ways that are missing from Blue. Overall this was a fun book that would make for great classroom activities or book club discussions. I look forward to reading the sequels.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Emily and her family are on a project to live in all 50 states. They move to California. Emily is an avid player of a game called Book Scavenger. The founder of the game is Garrison Griswold. He is shot in San Francisco on the day Emily moves there and as he is about to launch his newest treasure hunt. Emily and her new friend, James, work together to try to solve the mystery. And face increase danger along the way. A fun, smart adventure that includes codes.

    1 person found this helpful