ARC Review: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

ARC Review: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Book Scavenger
by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Genres: Adventure, Middle Grade, Mystery
Publication date: June 2nd, 2015
by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .

Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is 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 and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold's attackers make them their next target.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

This book is basically everything past Rashika would have wanted from a book and one present Rashika adores.

The past couple of middle grade novels that I had read were great but there seemed to be something missing. I figured that could have been the result of me not being the intended audience but this  book reminded me that it doesn’t matter who the reader is, a book can be enjoyed by a reader of any age.

I know I always say that my favorite genre is fantasy and that is true but my favorite comfort books are always a blend of mystery and adventure.  In middle school, I went through a phase where all I read were quirky, intelligent mysteries and this book is one that would have made kid Rashika really happy. It makes adult Rashika happy too because while I may no longer be 11, there is always something to be said about a mystery that mentally challenges you.

One of the things this book has going for it is the great main character. Emily is not a perfect character. There are a lot of times where she will put her own needs above those of James (her new friend) and that may be frustrating but it’s also realistic. Sometimes, you get too wrapped up in what you’re focusing on and when it turns out people don’t have the same priorities as you do, it’s shocking. But, Emily is still great. She is also a smarty-pantsy! She doesn’t always figure out all the clues on her own and sometimes requires help but then again, what fun would the book be if she magically knew the answers to everything?

Another great thing about the book were the secondary characters. From James to Matthew to Hollister. They help make the book all the more lively.

Matthew and James especially contribute a lot because through them, we get to see two important relationships: the one between siblings and the one between friends. Matthew is an adorable little fanboy who no longer has time for his little sister and doesn’t even realize how much he has hurt her in the process of not spending time with her. He quickly redeems himself once he figures out what a douche he was being and becomes such a supportive brother!

James, I don’t think is Emily’s first friend, but I would definitely wager that he is one of the more important ones. With him comes an element of diversity because he happens to be Chinese American which is great. James puts up with Emily until he cannot and then calls her out on her shit which is great because it makes her aware of the fact that James is not someone she can take advantage of.

Fantastic characters aside, THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT BOOK SCAVENGING. That should be reason enough to pick this book up! I know I practically did somersaults when I read that part in the summary. What is awesome is that this book delivers what it promises! Book scavenging actually plays an important role in the book!

The plot is also well developed and I loved putting the clues together! I wasn’t surprised when we found out who the bad guy was but it’s not really meant to be a big twist. It’s actually makes sense given the actions of the character. One of the awesome parts about the mystery aspect is that it is intertwined with a treasure hunt. The main character has to solve the clues to get to the treasure and yes to treasure.

This is such a fun read to be swept up by and I’d recommend it to everyone looking for a fun middle grade read that will take you on an adventure.

Rating Report
Overall: 4
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I’ve been wanting to read this book since I saw it was coming out, but I was worried it might not be as good as the plot promises. It was such a relief to read your review and to know that you enjoyed it!

  2. says

    OMG such an interesting book Rashika – I would have LOVED this as well when I was younger. Book scavenging?! OMG so awesome – what an interesting concept seriously. MG books are getting so sophisticated these days, which I’m glad because it gives me an excuse to pick them up hehe. Wonderful review lovely, so glad you loved it!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, narrated by Dan O’GradyMy Profile

  3. says

    This sound ssoooo CHARMING!!! I love it when I find a MG novel that makes me remember that a great book will be loved by anyone of any age! I find myself fearful of picking up MG sometimes, because I start to worry that I’m going to get bored with it because I am not the intended audience.
    Then I find some gem, like Keeper or Icefall, and it reminds me that MG can harbor some very wonderful books.

    Scavenging! Ever since I was little, I always looked at the ground because I was watching for anything shiny and attractive. A lot of people made fun of me, always asking why I never looked up. I passed it off as shyness, because I didn’t want to admit that if I looked up, I might miss that awesome ring I found, or the note on the floor that I could add to my scrap box (I was weird as a kid/teen, I totally admit it).

    Ahh! Now I want to read this novel! Thank you for the wonderful review!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Counting BackwardsMy Profile

  4. says

    Two of my favourite book aspects, adventure and middle grade, which I’ve really been getting into lately too. Emily’s character sounds awesome, and completely age appropriate too. At that preteen age, most kids are pretty absorbed in their own world. But the secondary characters sound just as incredible. You had me at treasure hunt. Really looking forward to grabbing a copy of this one, it sounds incredible fun. Wonderful review Rashika <3
    Kelly recently posted…The Catalyst by Helena Coggan… Who’s only FIFTEEN!My Profile

  5. says

    Aah, Rashika! Amazing review! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this, and I’m excited to look into it more. I completely agree with what you say about books being enjoyed no matter what age you are. Middle Grade books, I often find, can fit into two catagories: those that can be enjoyed mostly by the intended age group, or those that can be enjoyed by any age. I love finding a book that might not have been written for my age group but that I just adore wholeheartedly, and it’s fantastic you found one that you know you would have adored when you were younger, and still got enjoyment out of now! Emily sounds like a pretty frustrating character, but your enthusiasm is infectious and I’m going to check this one out further! xx
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