Emily Crane is moving to San Francisco with her family. Her favorite game, Book Scavenger, is based out of San Francisco, so, though Emily may not be happy about moving again, she is excited about being so close to her role model, Garrison Griswold.
After Griswold is attacked at a local BART Station, the San Francisco version of a subway station, while on his way to launch his newest game, Emily, her brother Michael, and her new friend and neighbor James stumble upon a book, seemingly hidden behind a trash can. When Emily realizes it is actually the first part in Griswold’s new game, she enlists James’ help in solving the many puzzles and ciphers to get to the end. James and Emily are not the only ones after the treasure, and there are three dangerous men who are after the book they found at the BART station. Can Emily and James outsmart the criminals and solve the game first?
The mystery behind Mr. Griswold’s new game sends them through an amazing adventure throughout San Francisco and history. Readers of this wonderful middle-grade novel will learn a great deal about Edgar Allen Poe, ciphers, riddles, and San Francisco. A truly wonderful book for young readers.
I love the idea of a Book Scavenger hunt, especially on a national scale. It would be a wonderful way to interest children in books again. I only wish it was already a game so that my kids and I could play.
This book is very well written and the amount of research the author must have done really shows.
I am not the biggest fan of horror fiction, so, naturally, I am not a huge Poe fan. That said, I have read some of his more famous works, though it has been years. I began this novel with only a basic understanding of Poe and his work.
I enjoyed the personalities of Emily and James and their desire to solve puzzles and riddles.
Emily and James have completely different backgrounds. Since Emily’s parents have a goal to live in every state at least once, Emily has moved around a lot for a twelve year old. At first, each move was like a brand new adventure, but now that she is older, packing up and leaving time and time again is beginning to wear on her. It is hard to make friends when you have no idea when you’ll have to pack up and leave again.
On the other hand James’ family has lived in the same house for generations. He knows the neighborhood and the people and he has known most of the kids at his school since they were small children.
Despite their differences, Emily and James’ mutual love for puzzles and riddles helps them to develop a fast friendship.
I would recommend this novel to middle-grade readers who enjoy books and challenges.
I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library and have permission from the publishers at Macmillan to use the image of the cover artwork featured above.
Middle Grade Reviews
Middle grade novels hold a special place in this world as they help children to transition into their teenage years and help to shape and mold who they will become.
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