Well, I’m definitely on a middle grade kick right now, and I’m seriously considering having that be the main genre for all of my reviews. I can’t seem to get enough! There’s something so refreshing about middle grade—there are always new ideas and stories and adventures to be had, and in the end it’s always about family and doing the right thing and not being afraid to mess up and try again. Also, because I was a voracious reader all growing up, and it was the books I read in those formative 4th-7th grade years that I look back on most fondly.
Am I too nostalgic for you? Well, blame Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram. This book brought everything back, all the scribbles and dreams and ideas of 10-year-old Emma, because this book is EXACTLY what she always wanted to be real. Who am I kidding—adult Emma wants this to be real so badly she can hardly stand it!
Book Scavenger is an online game created by Garrison Griswold that allows readers all over the world to connect and go on adventures to find books, using their puzzle concocting and solving skills. 12-year-old Emily loves Book Scavenger, but when Griswold is mysteriously attacked right before his new game is set to launch, she and her new friend James set out to solve the clues he left behind in an effort to find the game and keep a precious Edgar Allen Poe edition from falling into the wrong hands.
This book is well written, and it feels like Jennifer Chambliss Bertram genuinely had fun making it. I liked the mystery aspect of this story, as it was exciting and suspenseful, but didn’t take itself too seriously, and never got too intense. I also loved the rich descriptions of San Francisco, and the literary history that was woven throughout the story. Sometimes stories about books and reading can focus more on the novelty of it, without having much actual content. Bertram knows her stuff, and I learned things about various authors that I didn’t know before. Therefore, Emily was a very well-read protagonist, but believably so, without being pretentious or fake. To be honest, I love it when the characters know more than I do, because then every reading experience is a learning one! (Do I sound like a school library commercial? Are those even a thing?)
Equally enchanting and educational, I was hooked by the very first chapter, and was nearly in tears at the thought of this being fiction. It is, of course, except that BookScavenger.com itself is a real thing, and you can actually play the game! I may or may not have plans to hide a book or two during my travels up to Seattle in January. 😏
If you (like me) can’t get enough of Book Scavenger, never fear! Book #2, The Unbreakable Code, is set to publish in April 2017! While you’re waiting patiently (unlike me 🙈) check out Book Scavenger online or take a peek at Jennifer’s blog here.