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The Unbreakable Code

(Book Scavenger #2)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,763 ratings  ·  324 reviews
Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there’s the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.

As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they disco
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published April 2017)
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Mary Galgoul The adventures are separate but it would make more sense if you read them in order so you know the characters and their backgrounds.

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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,763 ratings  ·  324 reviews

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Jennifer Bertman
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I hope fans of Book Scavenger like this sequel as much as I do! I turned in the copyedits for this book yesterday and am so happy with how the story came together. (I'm the author of this book, in case that wasn't obvious.) ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
4-1/2 stars

I think I liked this one better than the first book. As with the first book it would have been a 5 star book, and a favorite, had I read it at ages 9-12.

When I started this I thought I’d made a mistake and that I should have let more time elapse between reading books in this series, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and I’ve reserved book 3 at the library; it’s currently on order. I was in the mood for a light and fun book and that’s what these books are, but they also have some
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, middle-grade

This book is addicting with all the mystery and intrigue that comes as a result of the many codes and ciphers included throughout. That's what I loved about the first book; I loved learning about new codes and ciphers and solving them along with Emily and James. Even though this is a middle grade book, it reads well for all ages.
Ms. Yingling
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

After their adventures in the delightful The Book Scavenger, Emily and James are hot on the heels of a new mystery, this one involving things hidden underneath San Francisco and a code that may lead to fires breaking out! Mr. Quisling is somehow involved, but they can't quite figure out what's going on. Fires are breaking out all over town, and they seem to all be tied to a code from the 1800s that has never been broken. Using their love of code and a littl
Marie Tankersley
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.75/5 stars
A.L. Sowards
My kids and I recently finished this book—the second in a series. It was another fun adventure through San Francisco with a mystery dating back to the days of the gold rush.
Aww, Emily's mom's favorite bookstore is Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville; I bought my Kobo ereader there. :)

You might also enjoy:
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Ajax Penumbra 1969 (This short story also features books and a (view spoiler))
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I rated this book one star lower than the first one, which might be unfair, since I think a lot of aspects of this book improve upon the first. It just didn't click for me as well.

This sequel provides a tighter plot than its predecessor, both because the book is shorter (always a win) and the mystery involves more than a prearranged game. The stakes felt much higher, and I was a lot more invested in the puzzles this time around. The inclusion of literary history succeeded again as well, and I w
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unbreakable Code

This book was just as good as the first, so much more suspense and mystery was added in when trying to figure out who the antagonist really was and so many life lessons are shared through the words of Mr Griswald. You can change the way you look at your life, even in the darkest of times it's your choice to stay strong and bounce back or let yourself stay down in the dumps. Everything is up to you.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a fun story, and I liked as much as I liked the first book in this series. The puzzles and the mystery were quite fun, especially the puzzles. I'm not a fan of the west coast, especially California, so the setting didn't excite me. I did like the characters, though. I liked that their relationships have grown, especially Emily and Matthew. I like that they were voluntarily spending time together. I hope that there will be another book in this series soon. ...more
Susan needs more books, not really
While I found the first book in this series enjoyable enough, this one seemed to drag for me. After reading over 100 pages I decided to call it quits as it just wasn't working for me. ...more
Sarah Sammis
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the second of the Book Scavenger series. Emily and James get pulled into a challenge to break the cursed unbreakable code — a cypher associated with a number of mishaps, including the sinking of the Niantic. While they are hunting down clues to break the code, an arsonist who calls themselves the Phoenix is starting fires around San Francisco and someone is bound to get hurt.
Aya Kim
Very good mystery and adventure book
Scott Fillner
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Chambliss Berryman has done it again! I can't begin to imagine the anxiety an author faces when thinking about, then actually writing a sequel. However she may have felt before, during, and after, the writing in this story is engaging and I know it will be a hit with children again. Putting that into context, I'd take one of the many memorable passages from her book like "...the energy we put into the world is infectious. There is a ripple effect, whether you are fostering fear or fun, ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure that any sequel could possibly top Jennifer Bertman's dazzling debut novel, Book Scavenger, but this one did. Once again, she delivers a mixture of lovable characters, puzzle-solving challenges, heart-stopping dramatic action, and abundant humor, all set against the backdrop of an enticingly presented San Francisco. I was particularly struck by the gently delivered tidbits of true philosophical wisdom that are sprinkled throughout the story, especially this one that spoke to me mos ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I loved this San Francisco-set story just as much as the first book in the series! It's full of fantastic--and fascinating--real-life tidbits from the city's history, plus all the humor, ciphers, and page-turning mystery that made the first Book Scavenger book such a hit. So many readers will be so thrilled when it hits the shelves. Can't wait for book 3! ...more
Dahlia Quijano
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Martin
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Emily and James are back in a second adventure. This time these middle schoolers are trying to solve the unbreakable code which dates back to the time of Mark Twain in San Francisco. Solving it is supposed to lead to a fantastic treasure. Emily and James are experienced puzzle solvers as they are members of an online game called Book Scavengers started by Emily's idol Garrison Griswold.

Searching for the solution for the unbreakable code is only one of the mysteries they are working on. They are
Tori Samar
Good follow-up to the first book in the series. Good lessons about the pitfalls of preconceived notions. Good weaving of real-life history into the storyline.

I appreciate that the author lets Emily and James have another adventure and foil a villain while still making it quite clear that the two are just middle school kids. Guess what? They behave like kids. They sometimes jump to conclusions and make stupid decisions, with almost catastrophic consequences for themselves and/or others. But all i
Emma Olafsen
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent sequel to the Book Scavenger series! I loved this book just as much, if not more than the first and I’m excited to read the third. For those interested, there was no bad language, adult themes or supernatural themes although it does mention a curse. The arsonist could be slightly scary to younger readers however he never seems to seriously harm a person and the climax of his part of the story is fairly low key so I don’t think it’s too scary.
rating: 3.5

The first quarter of the book was slow (but maybe not for a younger reader).

Again, interesting info re San Francisco -- present day as well as historical perspective.

Fewer literary references. First book focused on The Gold Bug and Edgar A Poe. This book uses Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain as a hook.

p117: Anything we pursue with passion and curiosity can heal us.
Yep, I agree.

I'll watch for the third book in the series.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
A fun, juvenile mystery, one I can see my girls enjoying in a few years, and it's one I would be entirely comfortable with them reading. (Life lessons include: take your parents along when you're going on treasure hunts with people you don't know well. Also, go to the library first.)

I found the plot disjointed and full of holes, but it was still an entertaining romp. I don't see the need to continue on with the series for myself though.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I liked this one as much as the first. It is fun to read about a familiar place with my 8 yr old. Also, I like that they visited relevant places and asked the librarian for assistance because it's a good example for her. I'm not actually sure it's possible for 2 children to have THAT much excitement in 5 months (across both books) of their lives though.

I'm not going to go on to book 3 but my daughter might. There are too many other books I want to read aloud with her!
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can generally solve a mystery by about halfway through a book. I can honestly say that I couldn't solve this puzzle until the page before it was revealed. Hopefully there will be another book in the series! ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mj-read
I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first.
Kathy Nealen
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun sequel to the first book in this series. Looking forward to future installments.
Kathy Mathey
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun and entertaining puzzles and plot twists, but my favorite part is the friendship thread running through the story.
3.5 stars. I thought this was a fun follow up to The Book Scavenger. The Tom Sawyer speculation was a nice touch.
Barbara Brodhead
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. 👍😁
I really enjoyed this sequel, and I look forward to reading the third book. Great story for kids and adults alike who enjoy puzzles and adventures!
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Our first pandemic family read-aloud book finished in 2021.

Loved this one just as much as the first - would definitely read this myself if I didn't have a child to read it to.

Can't wait to tackle the third in the series.
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Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the New York Times bestselling author of the Book Scavenger series (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt/Macmillan). Book Scavenger is a New York Times bestseller, an Indie Next Kids’ Top Ten Pick, a Banks Street College Best Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an NCTE Notable Children's Book, and has been nominated for 18 state award lists. The Unbreakab ...more

Other books in the series

Book Scavenger (3 books)
  • Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)
  • The Alcatraz Escape (Book Scavenger, #3)

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