cover image Book Scavenger

Book Scavenger

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, illus. by Sarah Watts. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-62779-115-1

When your parents’ blog is called 50 Homes in 50 States, you had better be able to make new friends easily, but Emily Crane, 12, is shy. Still, there are two positives about her latest address: James, the fellow puzzle-lover downstairs, and the location—San Francisco, home to Garrison Griswold, the “Willy Wonka of book publishing.” Griswold is the mastermind behind Book Scavenger, a book-trading game with half a million followers, Emily included. After Griswold is gravely wounded by thieves who are after his special edition of Poe’s The Gold-Bug, the book winds up in Emily’s possession; she and James must solve the mystery surrounding the book before the bad guys do. Full of heart and replete with challenging ciphers for readers to decode, Bertman’s debut is literary cousin to classic puzzlers like The Westing Game, and a story that values books and reading above other pursuits. Sure to be popular with voracious readers, it’s also a valentine to anybody who knows that a 13-digit clue that begins with 978- is not a phone number. Art not seen by PW. Ages 9–14. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (June)