Bertman, Jennifer. Book Scavenger. Henry Holt & Co BYR, 2015.
Emily's family is moving to San Francisco on their quest to have fifty homes in the fifty states. Emily is looking forward to this move, though, because it puts her closer to her hero: Garrison Griswold, a man who is hailed as the Willy Wonka of books and who has created a website called Book Scavenger where players hide books in real life and leave clues on the website, earning points when they find books or others find books they've hidden. But when Emily stumbles upon a copy of Poe's The Gold-Bug in a BART station, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a real mystery: why are those two men following her everywhere, and what's so special about this particular book that they could want it so badly?
I loved almost everything about this book. I loved the literary references, of course, and the nod to Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, which is one of my more recent favorites and one of the few books I refuse to give away. I loved that Emily makes a friend and learns to be interested in other people's interests, too. I adore the fact that James named his cowlick; I'm considering naming mine now, too. The only reason this book got 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 is that some of the SF references were not exactly spot-on. There is no cable car that leads to the Ferry Building, and no self-respecting local would use a cable car for transportation, either: they cost more than twice the price of a bus ticket and only go nine miles an hour. The rest of the local references were excellent, however, including the mini park that happens to be located on the western side of Hyde Street relatively near Lombard Street - it even has the teepee that is mentioned, although it smells rather like dogs enjoy it, so I would not have crouched inside it like the characters did. Overall, an excellent book and I will certainly be purchasing a copy (or two or three) for my library's collection. Perhaps it will inspire the next generation of cypher-ers.
Recommended for: middle grade, tweens
Red Flags: Mr. Griswold is shot, the kids are threatened with a gun but not harmed
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Read-Alikes: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library,Masterminds, Greenglass House