Eccentric mastermind Garrison Griswold, founder of the popular Book Scavenger website, is about to launch an elaborate new game when his plans are violently interrupted. The only clue he leaves behind is a specially printed copy of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, “The Gold-Bug.”
Enter 12-year-old Emily, an avid Book Scavenger player whose family has just arrived in Griswold’s hometown of San Francisco. Between her parents’ constant moves (their goal is to live in all 50 states) and her older brother’s obsession with his favorite band, Emily’s accustomed to solving riddles and searching for hidden books on her own. So when her neighbor James turns out to be as much a puzzle fan as she is, she unexpectedly finds herself with a code-breaking partner . . . and a new friend.
A puzzle-mystery in the spirit of The Westing Game, Book Scavenger challenges readers to play along. The codes and puzzles are pitched at the perfect level for tween sleuths, and the literary references—from Poe to contemporary middle grade lit—will pique readers’ interests in doing some book scavenging of their own. Part friendship story, part travel adventure and part cryptography manual, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s debut is a book lover’s delight.