Tuesday, July 19

Click Here to Start

Click Here to Start
Denis Markell

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1101931875
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Date of publication: July 19, 2016
Age: Grades 4 - 8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Netgalley eARC

Themes: puzzles, treasure hunt, friendship, video games, family history

What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure? Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game! Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he's ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s "treasure" might be exactly that—real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery—but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune.

The first thing I did after finishing this book was try my hand at some escape-the-room games online—yep, this book definitely piqued my interest! I will say, up front, however, that there are a lot of far-fetched aspects of the story. But hey, it's a giant treasure hunt, so I'll let it slide. I was still engrossed in the story and think kids will definitely love it (video games, treasure...what more could you want?).

The main characters are awesome. The story is told from Ted's point of view, and he's hilarious ("her last sentence hung in the air, like a fart in the elevator"). He's got some depth, too, as he works out aspects of his identity (half-Japanese, half-Jewish, little brother of Harvard genius, video-gamer, etc.). Caleb and Isabel, while being wing-men (wing-woman?), still have elements of depth to make them interesting. The token bad guy, however, was a bit flat—a caricature of your standard villainous treasure hunter. But hey, I'll take it.

In the end, it's a good one. For the many fans of Mr. Lemoncello's Library or even books like Greenglass House and Book Scavenger (more play on the book, The Maltese Falcon!), this will be a surefire hit.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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