about the book
Emily’s parents write a blog called “50 Homes in 50 States,” so she is forced to move more often than your average twelve-year old. This makes it tough for a shy girl like Emily to make friends, but luckily, she is part of an online group of people who play Book Scavenger, a game where people hide books all over the country and leave clues for others to find them.
The Book Scavenger community was invented by none other than Garrison Griswold, the “Willy Wonka of publishing.” The one good thing about moving to San Francisco is that now Emily lives in the same city as her hero, Mr. Griswold, and she is surprised with another treat when she learns that her new friend and neighbor, James, loves solving puzzles, too.
Unfortunately, just as the latest Book Scavenger game is about to come out, thieves attack Garrison Griswold, stealing his special edition version of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Gold Bug” and leaving Griswold in a coma. And when Emily and James come to find themselves with Griswold’s copy of “The Gold Bug,” they begin to discover clues attached to it.
Together, they race from puzzle to puzzle, working fast to solve the mystery behind the book before the bad guys can get their hands on it, or on them!
Jennifer grew up in Mountain View, California, where she could often be found reading in a hammock, under her family’s orange tree. She enjoyed playing dress-up with her cats, rollerblading, and hanging out with her big brother. Jennifer also joined her mother on frequent trips to their local library, loving the freedom of picking out her own books, but also reading the books her mom suggested—a tradition they continue to this very day!
Two of Jennifer’s favorite series are The Babysitter’s Club (by Ann M. Martin) and Nancy Drew (by Carolyn Keene). A couple of books she loved growing up include Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Some of her favorite authors are Lois Lowry, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and James Howe. When she was eleven years old, Jennifer wrote to James Howe (author of Bunnicula) and received a letter back from him! It is still one of her most prized possessions, and she keeps it in a frame on her office wall.
Jennifer’s love for reading and for hearing stories is what led her to become a writer. Along the way she learned that book writing is a process—which is a good thing, because Book Scavenger took Jennifer ten years to write! The first draft alone took four years, and she was inspired by a number of other stories along the way. The tales that excite her most are those that put ordinary kids in fantastic, adventurous situations where they work together in a rag-tag team to solve problems. Books like The Egypt Game (by Zilpha Keatley Snyder) and The Westing Game (by Ellen Raskin) and movies like The Goonies and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World inspired her as she wrote Book Scavenger.
These days Jennifer spends her time dancing, snowboarding, being a mom, and playing Mario Kart. She enjoys watching movies like Clue and The Muppet Movie—her favorite Muppet is The Swedish Chef. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband, son, and two cats. Look for the sequel to Book Scavenger, titled The Unbreakable Code and another brand new mystery coming out in 2017!
Also by Jenni Chambliss Bertman:
The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger, Book 2). Henry Holt & Company (BYR). 2016.
The Eureka Key (Secrets of the Seven, Book 1) by Sarah L. Thomson
The Founding Fathers left behind seven hidden keys, which, when brought together, unlock a secret weapon. Now, Gideon Arnold—a descendent of the traitor, Benedict Arnold—is after the keys. Sam and Martina will team up with a descendent of George Washington to find the keys, but can their puzzle-solving skills and knowledge of history help the kids find them before Gideon does?
Floors (Book 1) by Patrick Carman
As the son of the maintenance man at the Whippet Hotel, Leo should know the place very well. But when a series of mysterious boxes are left for him, he discovers hidden floors in the hotel, strange puzzles, and very unexpected alliances. It turns out the fate of the building and his future are in his own hands!
The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger, Book 2) by Jenni Chambliss Bertman
When James and Emily realize that Mr. Quisling is on a treasure hunt, they begin a quest of their own, hoping to beat their teacher to the gold. On their adventure, they come across mysterious ties between Mark Twain, the locations of the hidden books, and an arsonist from the 1800s. These connections lead them to a sinister, new puzzle to be solved!