Book Scavenger series / by Jennifer Chamblis Bertman. 3.8.2019

Book Scavenger / by Jennifer Chamblis Bertman. (Book Scavenger, 1)

Henry Holt ISBN 9781250079800

The Unbreakable Code / by Jennifer Chamblis Bertman. (Book Scavenger, 2)

Henry Holt ISBN 9781627791168

The Alcatraz Escape / by Jennifer Chamblis Bertman. (Book Scavenger, 3)

Henry Holt ISBN 9781627799638

YA Grades 5-8 Rating: 5

Jennifer Chamblis Bertman pens a middle grade series that will appeal to older elementary and middle school readers.

In Book Scavenger, Emily moves to San Francisco where Garrison Griswold, creator of the Book Scavenger game, lives. Unfortunately, Mr. Griswold lies in a coma after an attack just before his new game is announced. Emily and her friend James race against time to solve the new game before whoever attacked Griswold comes after them. Will Mr. Griswold recover from his injuries and launch his new game?

In The Unbreakable Code, Emily and James try to find out who is behind the recent arsons around the city, especially when clues appear to be placed in books hidden through the Book Scavenger game. As they dig deeper, they discover their teacher Mr. Quisling’s hunt for the Unbreakable Code and possible links to the arsons. Is he the arsonist? What role does a book by Mark Twain play?

In The Alcatraz Escape, Emily and James work on a challenging mystery set on Alcatraz Island. Will they be able to “Unlock the Rock”–the latest game from Garrison Griswold? Not only has literary game master Griswold created an escape room challenge at Alcatraz, but mystery writer Errol Roy has written the story behind the puzzle. Threatening notes make the pair wonder if someone is trying to prevent them from solving the escape room challenge. What is the secret behind Roy’s story?

Bertman excels at creating puzzles that will delight the reader, especially those who love a good mystery. While the literary allusions are reminiscent of the Mr. Lemoncello series (by Chris Grabenstein) and The Westing Game (by Ellen Raskin), the Book Scavenger series is not a copy of these books. “Book Scavenger” an actual game–a cross between geocaching and treasure hunting, making it a literary adventure for the reader. Readers will find the actual game being played on the author’s website (, and enjoy the adventure of solving the puzzles in each book.

Recommended for public libraries, classroom reads, youth book clubs, and book-loving mystery lovers.

Carol R. Gehringer,