The Treasure Test (Hide and GEEK, Book 2) by T.P. Jagger.

The Treasure Test (Hide and GEEK, Book 2) by T.P. Jagger. Random House, 2023. 9780593377970

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Mystery

What did you like about the book? A quartet of tween detectives face a new puzzle-solving challenge to save their reputation and their community.  The four best friends, known as the Elmwood GEEKs are Gina, a budding journalist, Edgar, an aspiring actor, Elena, a scientist with a mischievous streak and a YouTube channel, and Kevin, a math whiz who is co-president of the 6th grade class.  Fresh off a successful treasure hunt that saved their town of Elmwood from financial ruin, the kids are attending a ceremony to break ground on the revival of the town’s once popular amusement park when some unpleasant rumors are brought to light.  It seems some folks from Grove Park, the next town over from Elmwood, are suspicious that the GEEKs are frauds.  The mayor of Grove Park suggests a new treasure hunt, this time in Grove Park, where they won’t have so many friends and relatives to help them out in deciphering clues.  

The mayor assigns Finley Brown, a boy reporter from Grove Park and Gina’s rival in a recent journalism contest, to follow the GEEKs and keep tabs on them.  Finley posts well-balanced, honest news reports on the GEEKs’ progress, but a series of anonymous blog posts by the “Fair Valley Tattler” appear simultaneously and paint the GEEKs in a less-than-favorable light.  As they race to solve the mystery before time runs out, Gina and the others learn that the resentment Grove Park residents have for Elmwood folks is deep-rooted. They are determined not only to complete the treasure hunt but try to restore goodwill for their hometown.  It turns out that the histories of the two towns are more intertwined than anyone ever knew; as the GEEKs unravel several complicated threads, they find a way that both towns can move forward together.

The Treasure Test is a great sequel to Hide and Geek, bringing back many of the likable citizens of Elmwood while centering the plot in Grove Park and introducing a whole new cast of secondary characters.  The GEEKs are resourceful and brave, and each brings a valuable skill set to the group dynamic.  Gina is the first person narrator, and readers will appreciate her storytelling as she contends with her first potential crush (on Finley Brown), navigates drama with the pushy Sophina Burkhart, and tries to maintain her composure throughout the very challenging, and sometimes dangerous, treasure hunt.  This enjoyable, fast-paced adventure will have readers looking forward to the next installment and wondering where the next mystery will arise.  

Anything you did not like about the book?  No

To whom would you recommend this book? It is a great fit for upper elementary readers who liked the first book and those who have enjoyed series like Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (Grabenstein), Chasing Vermeer (Balliett), or Winston Breen (Berlin), as well as classics such as Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: March 27, 2023

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