Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Book Scavenger is a captivating, engaging mystery set in San Francisco with a 12-year-old girl as protagonist. It includes puzzles, ciphers, and codes, in addition to detective work. A prominent character is shot in the back and spends the majority of the novel unconscious as preteens work to solve the mystery of his attack while also participating in a book scavenger hunt. The novels puts intellectual curiosity, puzzles, and problem-solving front and center while weaving in the true history of Edgar Allan Poe and other authors. A must-read for book and puzzle lovers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Emily is used to moving around; her parents are on a mission to eventually live in all 50 states. But when she moves to San Francisco, she's particularly thrilled because it's the home of her favorite author, Garrison Griswold, the creator of Book Scavenger, a game that involves hiding books, finding clues, and tracking them down for points and bragging rights. The trouble is, Griswold has been shot, and a rare book in his possession has been lost. Emily gets her hands on it, but she still has to crack the code before the thieves who attacked Griswold do it first.
Is it any good?
BOOK SCAVENGER is a book lover's delight: It weaves in mysteries, puzzles, and secret treasure with the real histories of beloved authors. Emily is an admirable and relatably flawed character for book worms. She gets caught up in the stories she loves, sometimes to the detriment of her real-world relationships. Here, readers are encouraged to break codes and solve puzzles alongside the protagonist, consider the history of famous authors in a new light, and navigate relationships with friends and loved ones as they move in and out of the world of books and the world we inhabit every day.
The book could engage otherwise reluctant readers, as it shows that the life of the mind can be plenty exciting in real life while reinforcing the engrossing escape books can offer. It also features definitions in the back, with resources for real-life Book Scavengers that readers can participate in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the book's format of puzzles and codes. Could you solve the codes? Were they difficult or hard for you?
Was the history of Edgar Allan Poe what you expected? How was it different from what you've learned in school?
Have you ever solved a mystery? What was it? How did you figure it out?
- Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
- Publication date: June 2, 2015
- Number of pages: 348
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love mystery
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.