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The Ambrose Deception

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  704 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that's what their middle school teachers think. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn't take long before ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
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Michael Robb Kind of sorta but not really definitely has the intrigue but its kind of different but yes it is like a newer version of the Westing Game.

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Clare Lund
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun mystery from three different points of view. The clues take Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi on a scavenger hunt all over Chicago, so I enjoyed trying to figure out the local landmarks alongside them! Reminded me of The Westing Game - although for me, that will always be a hard book to top. Ages 9 and up.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi are all informed that they have been invited to compete for a scholarship, and find themselves lured into a hunt for clues across the city of Chicago. They each have a driver at their disposal, as well as a charge card, and each of them set out to figure out a series of clues. There are bumps along the way, but just as they all get close to the end, they are challenged by the children of the man who put together the hunt and must work together to
Nicole M. Hewitt
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This book is perfect for a middle grade reader (and for us moms who like to read middle grade too!). It has super fun characters, an educational element (that isn’t prominent enough to make it obvious it’s teaching you anything) and a cute and wacky mystery.

The book takes three unlikely scholarship hopefuls on an adventure across Chicago to try to solve riddles. The educational element comes in because you end up learn
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is similar to Book Scavenger or Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. I liked the first but not the second. I also didn't like this story. It's the characters that I didn't like. The setting is wonderful; Chicago is somewhere that I am familiar with. I think that helps when reading this book. The mystery was okay, but I figured out the ending before the reveal.
5 stars  -  Special thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy!

The Ambrose Deception captured my attention with the first paragraph and I continued reading the rest with glee!  I haven't been this excited about a middle grade read since I first found Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller.  Seriously, this review should just be exclamation points.   This scavenger hunt by three preteens will take you on a wild ride when they are chosen to compete for a selective scholarship that no one has ever
Dena (Batch of Books)
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, mystery
What a fun story! I had a blast reading this book!

I offered to read it out loud to my kids, but they wanted to read a different book together, so I read it myself. It only took me two days to read the whole thing. When I finished, I snapped the book shut and told my kids, "You girls missed out. That was awesome!"

I've always loved middle grade mystery novels, and this was no exception. With three delinquent kids receiving a mysterious "scholarship opportunity" where they have to follow clues arou
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fresh new middle grade mystery in the spirit of "The Westing Game." I was engaged immediately with the cryptic descriptions of the three contestants. The captivating clues make you put on your thinking cap. Love the Chicago setting and the varied story vehicles --alternating POVs, text messages, emails, letters, and even newspaper/on-line articles. Melissa, Bondi, and Wilf begin the contest with three clues each -- well, almost. . .There is much more to come.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, ya, kids
Christmas gift to ME from my 11-year-old nephew! He was very excited for me to open it. He thinks I'll like it because it's an adventure where the kids aren't the smartest or most sporty, plus it's set in Chicago. Oh, my librarian heart grew three sizes today.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Ambrose Deception is a fun middle grade book. Wilf, Bondi, and Melissa are all kids who are overlooked at their schools. When they are chosen to compete in a scholarship program, no one can quite believe it, including the kids! But things aren't what they seem, and the clues they have to solve aren't the only mystery they find themselves in the middle of.

There is a lot to love in this book. If you are a parent or teacher, this is a super fast read. I love how they mystery unfolds at a great
Kathy Martin
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE AMBROSE DECEPTION is a middle grade treasure hunt. Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi are chosen from their middle schools to compete in a contest that will give the winner a $10,000 scholarship. Each is given a cellphone, a debit card, a driver and three riddles to solve.

Melissa lives with her brother and her grandmother. She makes money for lunches and bus fare by doing homework for other students. Otherwise, she is managing to make her way through middle school really under the radar. Bondi is a sh
Amy Layton
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is certainly a book for fans of Raskin's The Westing Game.  Filled with distinct personalities and backgrounds, clues, and deceits, The Ambrose Deception makes for a thrilling and intelligent read.  

Of the three students chosen to participate in this scholarship, neither one is a student that their schools would recommend for such a riveting and important challenge.  As the three youngsters learn about each other and try to solve clues in the middle of Chicago, however, they realize that th
Mid-Continent Public Library
A fresh new middle grade mystery in the spirit of "The Westing Game." I was engaged immediately with the cryptic descriptions of the three contestants. It was a clever plot addition to give each of them their own limo driver and then show texts between the drivers. The captivating clues make you put on your thinking cap. Love the Chicago setting and the varied story vehicles --alternating POVs, text messages, emails, letters, and even newspaper/on-line articles. Melissa, Bondi, and Wilf begin th ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-6-8
We have been here before in similar stories like the Westing Game. This time 3 unlikely students are chosen to help solve riddles in order to win a scholarship. We have Melissa who lives with her grandmother on a shoe string, not wanting to be noticed; Wilf who doesn’t seem to take the challenge seriously; and Bondi who is driven to win. Each is given a different set of seemingly impossible clues. While Wilf wastes time, the other two search in earnest and come up with a strange twist. It’s not ...more
Zayda Love (Babybibliophile)
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 7 & up
Recommended to Zayda Love by: Disney Books
The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton is like absolutely nothing else I have ever read! Unique and well laid out at the same time; this story was told from multiple points of view. I was locked onto the story immediately. Readers who love mystery, clue-solving, and scavenger hunts, will be captivated by the very first page! Are you prepared to be entranced by this book? Well then brace yourself for a hidden twist that will completely catch you off guard! I never saw it coming! This book will be o ...more
Christine Hwang
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you like clues, puzzles, and scavenger hunts, read this book! The story is a riveting ride with suspense and mystery. I couldn't put this book down! But when I had to, it was really easy to pick up again. Also, read this book if you live near Chicago!
Monica Edinger
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this great fun. For kids who enjoy puzzle stories along the lines of Book Scavenger et al.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mystery with a twist.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Amanda Nichol
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book! The cast of characters is diverse and their viewpoints were all entertaining. I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted to solve all the clues!
Marianne Curtis
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
20-21 Mark Twain Award Nominee. Cute story. Moral: don't be a greedy, judgemental jerk.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for fans of Mr. Lemoncello's Library and Mysterious Benedict Society. Wilf, Melissa, and Bondi are the last three one would choose to be offered a scholarship opportunity and yet they are. Join these three sleuths as they travel around finding clues throughout the city of Chicago. Full of action packed moments and tense situations, a great book for anyone looking for a mystery.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Westing Game meets Charlie & the Chocolate Factory in this entertaining, fast paced, and adventurous middle school novel.
Three students from different schools across Chicago find that they have been chosen to compete for a previously unknown scholarship which asks them each to independently untangle three mysterious clues for a chance to win $10,000. It doesn't take long for the trio to suspect that there is something strange about the competition, and realize that combining forces mig
Danielle Hammelef
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This mystery is clever and educational as well as the author gives you a tour of Chicago and landmarks I hope to visit myself someday. The characters were diverse, smart, sassy, and would make great friends in real life. I laughed out loud at the sarcastic humor and situations these kids found themselves in and would recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries, caring adults involved in kids' lives, and well-drawn characters.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was ok, and I could see recommending it to a kid (younger side, 4th grade?), but it was so predictable. 3 kids (specifically 2 boys and a girl. It's always 2 boys and a girl) solving a puzzle and find out they are somehow being tricked- there is no originality in this. It was neat to include so many landmarks of Chicago, but overall this book was not amazing.
Lisa Welch
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A delightful middle grade mystery set in Chicago that is sure to be a big draw for lots of kids I know! I can't wait to recommend this one!!!!
Pop Bop
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Solid Clue Based Mystery

You know how these books work. Kids have to race to solve puzzles and follow clues in order to secure some sort of reward. My questions always are - are the kids interesting, are the puzzles/clues clever, is it fast paced, does the plot hang together at all plausibly? Well, to be honest, this book didn't blow me away on any of those tests, but it did way better than average on each one, so I'm a happy reader.

The set up is that three kids are selected to compete in a clu
Becky B
Bondi, Melissa, and Wilf are all kids who fail to stand out at their schools. It is quite a shock to each of them (and their school offices) when they receive notices that they've been selected to compete in a scholarship competition for $10,000. The kids go to the scholarship meeting and are given envelopes with three clues and a whole list of rules, plus a cell phone, a driver, and a credit card to help them in their individual quests. One of the kids is desperate for the scholarship money but ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this middle grade. And I'll say it again - if you're not reading middle grade (ahem, if you're not the intended audience, I mean), then I think you're really missing out! There are so many great stories being told for middle-grade kids. I mean, really good stories. This one, in summation, is a modern-day Willy Wonka story. And just like Willy Wonka, this story had intrigue, suspense, hilarity, and was just plain old fun!!

The superstar of this novel is really the presence of t
Dianna (SavingsInSeconds blog)
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I received this book free from the publisher. Opinions shared are mine.

Sharing books with kids is the very best part of my job as a language arts teacher! I’m always on the lookout for books that middle grades students won’t be able to resist. There are key features that I look for…and The Ambrose Deception has them!

First, the plot is catchy right off the bat. A scavenger hunt that requires a cell phone (provided) for pictures, and includes a free-to-use debit card and private car? Even better.
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Emily Ecton is a former writer and producer for Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, the NPR news quiz. She has also been a playwright, a chinchilla wrangler, an ice cream scooper and a costume character. After years of living in Chicago, she now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her dog, Binky.

Also writes under the name Emily Fairlie

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The young adult genre continues to lead literature in embracing new voices, championing all types of diversity, and, well, just really app...
59 likes · 29 comments
“let me get this straight. There’s no scholarship. We’re not competing for ten thousand dollars. We’re competing for millions of dollars?” Melissa wondered if she should pinch herself. This sure didn’t seem like real life. She looked over at the doughnut counter. With a million dollars, she could buy them all. She could probably buy the whole coffee shop. “Yep.” Bondi nodded enthusiastically. Melissa stared at him. Bondi didn’t seem quite real, either, nodding like a bobblehead like that. “And let me get this straight. We’re not competing against each other. We’re competing against Smith and his sister? Enoch Ambrose’s kids?” Bobblehead Bondi nodded again. Melissa stared at him. “You must’ve heard wrong.” “No, it’s right! It’s totally right. If we can solve the clues, we inherit. We just need to figure out our invitations. Where we’re supposed to go, and when. That’s it.” “Oh, is that it? Well, great,” Melissa said. “What a cinch.” She snorted, then frowned. She didn’t usually snort in dreams. But this couldn’t be real. Could it? She turned and stared at Wilf, who was just sitting like a lump staring at them both. Melissa stuck out her arm. “Wilf? Would you do me a favor?” 0 likes
“Good. Now, what the hell” 0 likes
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