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The Ambrose Deception

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  82 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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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  243 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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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 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
Mary (BookHounds)
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, 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
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 (Babybibliophile)
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 7 & up
Recommended to Zayda 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!
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mystery with a twist.
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 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 fo
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
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.
Jenny Ashby
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was such a treat for me because I have not enjoyed the last several books I've read. This is the first book in some time where I found myself trying to figure out when I would next have time to read and wondering what would happen next. This book is a treat even if it is not being compared to some dogs. Some of the things I enjoyed:

All three characters are wonderful (although I found Wilf frustrating because I desperately wanted to know what his clue was!) as were their drivers.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
When I first picked up this book, I thought it'd be similar to The Westing Game--and it is, but the protagonists are pre-teens and I didn't think that their characters were fleshed out very well. I didn't find myself sympathising with them about their home situations nor was I really interested in their personalities. I don't even have a favourite character between the three protagonists. As for the other characters, I was indifferent about them. If there's one thing that I dislike about having ...more
This was my July 2018 book, which means it took me almost exactly seven months to finish this book, but that's NOT because it was bad (unlike Chasing Augustus- sorry). It was actually really good, and really fun. I reccomend trying to figure out the clues before the contestants- it's very satisfying when you get the right answer and it's a lot of fun, especially if you live in Chicago, have lived in Chicago, or j
Laurie Hnatiuk
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Apr 2. First official day of the break and first #mglit book completed.

Loved meeting Melissa, Wilf and Bondi as they are suspiciously singled out to represent their ind schools to compete against one another to win a $10K scholarship by solving and completing a variety of puzzles. Each are motivated for their own reasons to compete but as the competition begins - things don’t seem right and it appears there is a mystery tied to the competition and scholarship. It becomes apparent that in order
Alexa Hamilton
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: chicago, tween
3 kids selected to compete in a bizarre scholarship competition where they sign waivers, without adults, everything is a secret, and the clues are cryptic. The kids don't know each other, they are from different schools and they have different approaches to everything. Is everything on the up and up? Who will win? Are the drivers in on it? It's that sense of unease that makes this book different from some other scavenger hunt type books for kids. Plus, it's set in Chicago so all the clues relate ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Ecton, Emily and Gilbert Ford Ambrose Deception, 368 pages. Disney, FEB 2018. $17. Language: PG (6 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: G (some danger).

Melissa, Bondi, Wilf – they are not the most shining examples of students, but each has a supposedly prestigious scholarship offer – at least one that they and their schools can not ignore. But the final terms are odd – the three will be competing against each other to solve a series of clues and they only have a few days to do it. They h
Trey Burley
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-school
Well this book was a hoot. Middle school students will effortlessly be attracted to this book once they get into it. Three students from different schools with different backgrounds are chosen at random to participate in a $10K scholarship. There's a geek, loner and slacker, think of it as a skinnied up version of The Breakfast Club (kids-ask your parents).
What makes The Ambrose Deception such fun is its format. It plays with text messages, post-it notes, incomplete to-do lists and chapters as
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Three unlikely students (Bondi, Melissa, and Wilf) receive an unexpected invitation to participate in a $10,000 scholarship competition. In order to win, each of them must solve three clues they have been given. The first one to answer all of their clues correctly wins the scholarship. However, as the students begin to solve the clues, they discover that there is more to the competition than meets the eye.
Masterfully written, young readers will enjoy this riveting, fast pace, and mysterious adve
Debbie Tanner
This is a very fun and funny story about three kids who are invited to solve three clues each and win a $10,000 scholarship. The clues are centered around landmarks in their hometown, Chicago. The kids are given a driver and a debit card to help them solve the clues. The story has a lot of plot twists and is exciting enough to keep the reader engaged, but I worry that the specificity of the Chicago landmarks is going to keep some readers from continuing. There are parts that are laugh out loud f ...more
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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