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The Explorer's Code

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Three kids have everything they need to solve the decades-old mystery of Idlewood Manor, in this middle grade novel full of real ciphers, puzzles, riddles, and codes. Idlewood Manor has been uninhabited for decades, until now... Math whiz Charlie won admission in a puzzle contest — and he’s intrigued by the strange numbers he finds on Idlewood’s walls. His restless sister An Three kids have everything they need to solve the decades-old mystery of Idlewood Manor, in this middle grade novel full of real ciphers, puzzles, riddles, and codes. Idlewood Manor has been uninhabited for decades, until now... Math whiz Charlie won admission in a puzzle contest — and he’s intrigued by the strange numbers he finds on Idlewood’s walls. His restless sister Anna had to be dragged to the house — but then she discovers its hidden floor. Emily’s parents brought her to the mansion on a secret mission — and she’s determined to prove herself to them. All three kids soon unlock clues to Idlewood’s mysterious past and the famous female explorer who’s connected to it — and the secret treasure she left behind. But the adults around them are also hunting for the treasure. Charlie, Anna, and Emily will have to overcome their differences and work as a team to solve Idlewood’s puzzles before it’s too late, in Allison K. Hymas's The Explorer's Code.


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Three kids have everything they need to solve the decades-old mystery of Idlewood Manor, in this middle grade novel full of real ciphers, puzzles, riddles, and codes. Idlewood Manor has been uninhabited for decades, until now... Math whiz Charlie won admission in a puzzle contest — and he’s intrigued by the strange numbers he finds on Idlewood’s walls. His restless sister An Three kids have everything they need to solve the decades-old mystery of Idlewood Manor, in this middle grade novel full of real ciphers, puzzles, riddles, and codes. Idlewood Manor has been uninhabited for decades, until now... Math whiz Charlie won admission in a puzzle contest — and he’s intrigued by the strange numbers he finds on Idlewood’s walls. His restless sister Anna had to be dragged to the house — but then she discovers its hidden floor. Emily’s parents brought her to the mansion on a secret mission — and she’s determined to prove herself to them. All three kids soon unlock clues to Idlewood’s mysterious past and the famous female explorer who’s connected to it — and the secret treasure she left behind. But the adults around them are also hunting for the treasure. Charlie, Anna, and Emily will have to overcome their differences and work as a team to solve Idlewood’s puzzles before it’s too late, in Allison K. Hymas's The Explorer's Code.

30 review for The Explorer's Code

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron Frampton

    Three kids have a weekend to solve a nearly century old mystery.

  2. 4 out of 5

    S Tondra

    The Explorer’s Code has a very interesting synopsis and promise, however, I had a very hard time getting past the main character’s flaws. Anna is the adventurous older sister that is self absorbed and selfish. She breaks the rules just because she wants an adventure even though she knows it's wrong and then gets upset when she gets in trouble. Charlie the younger brother, math wizard, and lover of codes/chipers is the only redeeming character. I enjoyed his journey through the story and his poin The Explorer’s Code has a very interesting synopsis and promise, however, I had a very hard time getting past the main character’s flaws. Anna is the adventurous older sister that is self absorbed and selfish. She breaks the rules just because she wants an adventure even though she knows it's wrong and then gets upset when she gets in trouble. Charlie the younger brother, math wizard, and lover of codes/chipers is the only redeeming character. I enjoyed his journey through the story and his point of view. Emily is the third character she starts the story coming off as rude and pretentious but when she starts to work with Anna and Charlie she is more likable. The story itself is very interesting with an old manor hiding a mystery that the kids solve with the the knowledge gained from each of their initial individual searches. It is a great adventure with secret rooms so if you don’t get hung up on the characters like I did then I think you will really enjoy this story. I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley. Mystery, adventure, secret codes are all part of a weekend away at an historic mansion. Three kids - Anna, Charlie, Emily - each explore on their own to solve their own mysteries. Eventually, they join together and solve all of their mysteries. This in turn saves the home and solves a mystery about an explorer who just disappeared. Secret codes are woven throughout the book but I was disappointed that reade I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley. Mystery, adventure, secret codes are all part of a weekend away at an historic mansion. Three kids - Anna, Charlie, Emily - each explore on their own to solve their own mysteries. Eventually, they join together and solve all of their mysteries. This in turn saves the home and solves a mystery about an explorer who just disappeared. Secret codes are woven throughout the book but I was disappointed that readers were not given more opportunities to solve them too. I was disappointed as the characters were stereotypes - free spirited adventurer, math nerd, history buff. The secondary characters were simply there as backdrop and weren't given much personality. The story did provide some surprises but was fairly predictable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gailanne Smith

    The Explorer's Code is a solid middle-grade mystery with plenty of adventure and fun, but no mature situations or language. For students wanting a good story that unfolds at modest pace, this one is a great recommendation. The main character, Anna, feels like she's under the scrutiny of everyone around her due to her adventurous spirit and love of exploring, which often takes her to places that adults want to decree off-limits, partially for her own safety. She feels like she's in competition wi The Explorer's Code is a solid middle-grade mystery with plenty of adventure and fun, but no mature situations or language. For students wanting a good story that unfolds at modest pace, this one is a great recommendation. The main character, Anna, feels like she's under the scrutiny of everyone around her due to her adventurous spirit and love of exploring, which often takes her to places that adults want to decree off-limits, partially for her own safety. She feels like she's in competition with her timid, yet very intelligent, younger brother, Charlie, who has won a competition which affords the family a chance to stay in a historical house which has been closed to the public for many years. When she discovers the house has ties to her favorite explorer, whose mysterious disappearance has always intrigued her, she can't wait to find out more about the house and perhaps find clues to what happened. Her brother, meanwhile, has been finding clues of his own, involving secret codes which might help him find long forgotten treasure. Other characters, including, Emily, another girl who is close to their age, and whose family is trying to keep the house from being sold, flesh out the story and build interest. There were some holes in the plot which made it a little difficult to follow at times, but an ending which hints at more adventures to come will make readers happy. Great story for adventurous readers in the grade 4-7 group. I appreciate NetGalley for giving me access to an ebook to read and review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Upon reading that this book had puzzles and ciphers in it I knew I had to get my hands on it. I love solving puzzles along side characters. The Explorer's Code features Idlewood Manor a building that holds more secrets than the eye can see and some that are written in plain sight, if you know what you are looking for! 10 rooms, 10 families, 3 days, 1 mansion with a mysterious past. Charlie has always been a math wiz. He is constantly seeing codes and patterns embedded in every day life. Meanwh Upon reading that this book had puzzles and ciphers in it I knew I had to get my hands on it. I love solving puzzles along side characters. The Explorer's Code features Idlewood Manor a building that holds more secrets than the eye can see and some that are written in plain sight, if you know what you are looking for! 10 rooms, 10 families, 3 days, 1 mansion with a mysterious past. Charlie has always been a math wiz. He is constantly seeing codes and patterns embedded in every day life. Meanwhile, his sister Anna could care less about puzzles and codes. She would rather spend her time exploring, just like her idol, Virginia Maines- even if it does get her into a great deal of trouble. How can two people be so different, yet related? Emily has been brought to visit the mansion thanks to her parent's top secret mission to try and save the Idlewood Manor. Emily is determined to show her parents that she is capable of making them proud- thus it is why she has also secretly taken on their mission as well. When each child fines an important (and different) piece to the overall puzzle, will they be willing to make themselves vulnerable to share what they have found with each other? Who else knows about the secrets the mansion holds? And will one weekend be enough to get the answers they are looking for?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Baobablady (Stacy Greene)

    Wow! This book captured and kept my attention as I embarked on an amazing adventure with Anna, Charlie, and Emily. The three children end up with their families at Idlewood Manor and what's not to like? They get an incredible house to explore complete with magically themed rooms, mysterious happenings, secret codes, treasure, and more! The plot thickens.... Where is Anna? Why is she always missing and why is she taking so many showers? What is Charlie doing roaming around the house looking for c Wow! This book captured and kept my attention as I embarked on an amazing adventure with Anna, Charlie, and Emily. The three children end up with their families at Idlewood Manor and what's not to like? They get an incredible house to explore complete with magically themed rooms, mysterious happenings, secret codes, treasure, and more! The plot thickens.... Where is Anna? Why is she always missing and why is she taking so many showers? What is Charlie doing roaming around the house looking for codes? What is Emily hiding behind her always present math book? Will Mr. Llewellyn (the owner) sell Idlewood and will all its secrets be lost forever? At numerous points throughout this book, I could not stop reading, and, like the kids felt like I just HAD to know the next thing! I was literally on the edge of my (airplane!) seat! It was nice when the three kids came together as a team and exchanged information to possibly save the day. The end was satisfying. I had become so engaged in the story that after I finished the book. I looked up some of the explorers to find out more about them It is very fitting that this author wrote a book about explorers. Allison K. Hymas was born on the anniversary of the day that Amelia Earhart, entered the ranks of fame by becoming the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic! I look forward to reading more books by this author!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lizz Donnelly

    Received an ARC froM the publisher. I love a good puzzle book, especially set in a huge old house. Codes and ciphers and secret messages are always entertaining. The overall mystery was decent, if a little simplistic, but I really liked the way each of the three main characters had little bits of the clues but could only solve the puzzle by working together. They all had good strengths and weaknesses. I do question the plausibility of climbing a three story tower with no training and both not ge Received an ARC froM the publisher. I love a good puzzle book, especially set in a huge old house. Codes and ciphers and secret messages are always entertaining. The overall mystery was decent, if a little simplistic, but I really liked the way each of the three main characters had little bits of the clues but could only solve the puzzle by working together. They all had good strengths and weaknesses. I do question the plausibility of climbing a three story tower with no training and both not getting caught and not falling but that’s not the end of the world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rosalyn

    This book is for any child who has ever had felt misunderstood, struggled to get along with a sibling, or who simply loves a good mystery. I personally read this aloud and my children enjoyed speculating as we read. There was even an instance where they argued about which character was telling the truth. This was a great mystery and my children enjoyed it. However, this is a title that can also be used to teach children how to accept each other and how to accept themselves.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    The puzzles in this book were fun and some are able to be solved on your own if you have knowledge of various ciphers. Each of the characters was interesting, though I found myself getting frustrated at how long it takes the three of them to communicate with each other. There's the typical clueless adults and plenty of red-herrings to throw readers off. Overall it was an enjoyable addition to the puzzle-based-mystery genre that fans of Book Scavenger and Mr. Limoncello will heartily enjoy. The puzzles in this book were fun and some are able to be solved on your own if you have knowledge of various ciphers. Each of the characters was interesting, though I found myself getting frustrated at how long it takes the three of them to communicate with each other. There's the typical clueless adults and plenty of red-herrings to throw readers off. Overall it was an enjoyable addition to the puzzle-based-mystery genre that fans of Book Scavenger and Mr. Limoncello will heartily enjoy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley I tend to prefer YA books to middle grade books. I rated this book on how I would have felt reading it when I was younger. It did remind me somewhat of The Westing Game. I liked the sibling relationship and how it evolved.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    I received an ARC from the publisher. I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. It was a fun and entertaining read. I will be recommending this title.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E Arc provided by Edelweiss

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    My students love adventure novels. I thought this was developmentally appropriate and engaging. Students will connect with the characters and be swept up by the intrigue.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Loved. It! What a great adventure / mystery for those who love treasure hunts, solving mysteries & puzzles ! Can’t wait to read the sequel!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed digital review copies of this book through Edelweiss and NetGalley.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marika Gillis

  17. 5 out of 5

    MayorEmma

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adelas

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liv Worthen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liam Jefferson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cat

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anja

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adam W

  25. 4 out of 5

    lucky 13

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexx Conrad

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eva

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maria Wang

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