THE UNBREAKABLE CODE by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

THE UNBREAKABLE CODE

From the "Book Scavenger" series, volume 2
Age Range: 9 - 13
BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Riddles in an online book-finding game put young cipher sleuths Emily and James on the trail of both buried treasure and a vengeful arsonist.

Amid a welter of clues, codes, mysterious fires, literary references, glimpses of San Francisco sites and history, and developing relationships carried over from the 2015 opener, the tale takes a suspenseful course. It builds increasingly following Emily’s discovery that her social sciences teacher, Mr. Quisling, is receiving coded clues to copies of Tom Sawyer that have been hidden around the city. The seeming game takes a sinister turn when someone (introduced to readers as “the Phoenix” in ominous interludes) torches the bookstore in which Emily loves to hang out, nearly killing her—and then an exhilarating one when Emily, who is white, and her Chinese-American best friend, James, decipher a message in a supposedly unbreakable code on a document that once belonged to Mark Twain. Bertman surrounds Emily with a supporting cast that is diverse in age and personality if not so much in race, and though the arsonist is summarily hustled off after a tidy confession, the multistranded plot does wind up to a climactic conflagration, the excavation of a glittering 19th-century trove, and broad hints of sequels to come.

Brisk, bookish good fun for puzzle and code lovers. (historical afterword) (Mystery. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 25th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-62779-116-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017




OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for THANKS, OBAMA
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for SLEEPING BEAUTIES
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for MANHATTAN BEACH
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for BUNNY MELLON
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

MORE BY SARAH WATTS

ChildrenHOW MONKEY SAYS "MY NAME IS"! by Abigail Samoun
by Abigail Samoun
ChildrenTHE LAST BOGLER by Catherine Jinks
by Catherine Jinks
ChildrenHOW PENGUIN SAYS PLEASE! by Abigail Samoun
by Abigail Samoun
ChildrenHOW TO CATCH A BOGLE by Catherine Jinks
by Catherine Jinks

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE PUZZLING WORLD OF WINSTON BREEN by Eric Berlin
by Eric Berlin
ChildrenMR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY OLYMPICS by Chris Grabenstein
by Chris Grabenstein