Bertman, Jennifer Chambliss. Alcatraz Escape, The. Sarah Watts, Illus. Fiction. Book Scavenger Series; bk. 3. Christy Ottaviano/H. Holt, 05/2018. 262pp. $16.99. 978-1-62779-963-8. HIGH ADDITIONAL. GRADES 4-7.
As a promotion for the reopening of Hollister’s bookstore (which was burned in the last Book Scavenger adventure), eccentric Garrison Griswold—“the Willy Wonka of book publishing”—has come up with a new game, called Unlock the Rock, to take place on Alcatraz Island. Friends Emily and James, despite anonymous warnings against it, take part in the game while dealing with stolen items, game subterfuge, and getting locked in the “dungeon” of Alcatraz. This third installment of Bertman’s Book Scavenger series pulls off the trick of actually improving upon the original, while being singularly focused, with the majority of the novel taking place on the evening of the contest on Alcatraz Island. The book tackles the issues of the price of fame and remaining true to oneself while dealing with the pressure to live up to past glory and adulation. While there are a number of puzzles that the game players must solve, unfortunately, only a few of them are available for readers to test their wits, but this is still a thoroughly entertaining episode in the series with a twist that this reviewer did not see coming. Features spot art throughout, which was not complete at the time of review. This book has California-specific content. Review based on an ARC.
Eric Barbus, San Francisco Public Library