Mark Twain Nominee Reviews, Part 3

It’s time for another round of reviews for this year’s Mark Twain Award nominees! The following stories have main characters who are searching for something. Somewhat like a mystery, these three books involve solving clues and finding yourself along the way.

"All The Answers" by Kate Messner All the Answers” by Kate Messner
In this imaginative story, Ava discovers that having all the answers isn’t always a good thing. When Ava finds a seemingly magical pencil that gives her the correct answer to any question she writes, she thinks she is set. However, Ava begins asking the pencil more difficult questions like why her grandpa has cancer. She comes to the realization that there are some things better left unknown.

This story was very touching, and it was an interesting look at a young character with anxiety issues and how her family helps her cope.

"Beneath" by Roland SmithBeneath” by Roland Smith
Pat has always admired his older brother Coop and followed him into some crazy schemes. When Coop leaves home to travel and adventure, he keeps contact with Pat via audio tapes. When the tapes stop coming, Pat knows something is wrong. Pat then sets off on his own adventure to save his brother, who was last seen living with an underground colony is New York City.

“Beneath” provides a wonderful perspective of how someone can overcome their fears to save someone they love. I enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the sequel, “Above.”

"Book Scavenger" by Jennifer Chambliss BertmanBook Scavenger” by Jennifer Chambliss
Emily is a huge fan of the online book-finding game called Book Scavenger. When she moves to San Francisco with her family, she is excited to be there because it is the birthplace of the game and home to its creator Garrison Griswold. Mr. Griswold is about to launch his newest game, but before he can announce it to the world, he is savagely attacked.

While on a trip with her brother and her new friend, Emily unknowingly stumbles on the first book in Griswold’s new scavenger hunt game. She and her friends set off on an adventure to solve the puzzle and figure out why someone would try to hurt the Willy Wonka of books.

“Book Scavenger” reminded me a lot of Chris Grabenstein’s “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” My favorite part is that “Book Scavenger” has a website and a real life game you can play!

If you are interested in more books like these, check out these read-alike lists for each one.