I subscribe to Bookperk, a splendid e-newsletter that offers ebooks for prices between free and $4.99. These are mostly books written for adults, sigh. But every now and then, an awesome kids' book is offered.
I think that's where I purchased The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman. If you enjoy books that revolve around puzzles, this book is for you. I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein and enjoyed it. The Gollywhopper Games is every bit as good, in my opinion.
One of the things going for Gollywhopper is that the games truly resemble reality games from TV. Adults are monitoring every step of the way and they intervene when necessary - which only happens once.
Another thing that I enjoyed is that the book's backstory adds tension to the games. Gil's father once worked for Golly Toy Company and left under accusations of embezzlement. He was found innocent but his son's life has been very unpleasant ever since.
When Gil qualifies for the games and then passes the first two tests, the Golly Toy Company's president tries to get Gill to drop out. He offers to pay Gil off!
Gil's fellow contestants fall into typical kid lit stereotypes; the airhead beauty who just wants to be on TV; the rich kid whose parents spent thousands of dollars to ensure his place in the games; one of Gil's schoolmates who is an athlete and a hothead; and the quiet studious genius. These are the final five players who must work together as a team and then against each other. But each player gets a chance to shine. I liked that a lot.
The puzzles and challenges are fun and well-described as well.
Up until now, I have felt that I don't visualize as well when I read an ebook as I do when I read a paper book. After reading The Gollywhopper Games, I think that perhaps it is the book itself that causes the problem. I had no problem visualizing the colorful toy factory, the hallways, or the games.
The Golly Toy Company finds out who embezzled that money. Gil learns a lot about himself and so do his fellow contestants. This is a book I might even read again. High praise from me.
PS. It appears that the world is demanding another set of Gollywhopper Games and the Golly Toy Company aims to please its customers.