Four female – one male protagonist. The settings: London, San Francisco, Vietnam, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Together they make up the five finalists for this year’s Middle Grade Fiction Cybils Awards. Each day this week I have a review of each title:
- Monday: THE BLACKTHORN KEY
- Tuesday: BOOK SCAVENGER (Today’s featured Finalist)
- Wednesday: FOOTER DAVIS PROBABLY IS CRAZY
- Thursday: BLACKBIRD FLY
- Friday: LISTEN, SLOWLY
The best news is you can win a giveaway of all five hardback books by making a comment on any or all of those days (up to five entries). I’ll draw the name this Sunday (Feb. 21) at 6 pm EST. Good luck!
A mystery, several endearing children, and a San Francisco setting make this a fun, fast paced read. Sometimes thrilling, sometimes thought provoking, Book Scavenger tugs at everything we love about books.
At the center is Emily and her family who are doing a Fifty Homes in Fifty States publishing journey. Sounds like a great idea for a book but the effects of moving so much and never having a forever friend is weighing heavily on Emily. Nothing ever lasts in Emily’s world. It’s especially challenging arriving in San Francisco, the home of renowned literary genius, Garrison Griswold, and playing his book scavenger game she adores. Emily gets help from her temporary new friend, James. He’s a spunky middle school age boy who names his cowlick, Steve (Yes, you can see it on the cover).
We also get an older brother, Matthew. He doesn’t have much time for Emily anymore with his punk rock band obsession. Many will see similarities when two siblings, once best of friends, begin to drift apart.
Use this as a read-aloud or just disappear under the covers and enjoy this fun adventure.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2015 WORD COUNT: 68,016 LEVEL: 5.5
FULL PLOT (from AMAZON): For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now 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 himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: BOOK SCAVENGER by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
- The city of San Francisco comes to life and serves as the perfect setting for this adventurous ride. If you have ever visited, many of the iconic sites serve as perfect backdrops for the action. My favorite: The kids being chased down Lombard Street, one of the crookedest streets in America.
- The relationship between Emily and James is so middle grade typical. The two become friends over a similar liking to puzzles and ciphers. It’s when their friendship is challenged by different choices, that we see what makes a long lasting friend.
- You learn about ciphers (messages written in secret code), literary history, and many famous authors. Not boring one bit when presented in the scavenger game format.
- This book allows for a real life book scavenger game. Visit this web site to see if a book is hidden in your state.
- I finally have a book that kids carry around, devouring the next chapter whenever a few minutes allow.
“Are you hypnotized by my hair?” James asked.
Emily felt her face heat up, but James waved her off.
“It’s cool, he likes the attention.”
“His name is Steve.”
“Your cowlick is names Steve?”
“I was going to name him Geronimo, but that seemed ridiculous.”
AUTHOR QUOTE: I grew up in a family of readers. Newspapers, magazines, and books–there was a high probability of spotting someone reading at any given point. My mom and I made regular trips to the public library, and she let me wander the children’s area and pick out whatever I wanted. We’d cross paths while browsing and she’d share a book she found that she thought I’d like. It was a wonderful way to feel both independent and like I was forming my own reading taste, but also like I was sharing a reading hobby with my mom. We continue to share reading recommendations with each other to this day.
For more see Jennifer’s author web site.
Make a comment if you have time as you could win all five Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Finalists. You’ll find the comment link below.