The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Illustrator: Carson Ellis
Series: The Mysterious Benedict Society #1
Also in this series: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma
Published by Little, Brown and Company on April 1st 2008
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery
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"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.
The writing is great.
I absolutely love these books. I love the plot and the puzzles and the characters. It may seem enormously long when you look at it, but it’s really a fast read. It only took me two days. There is just so much good stuff about these books. The puzzles are really fun to try to figure out along with the characters and sometimes (rarely) I manage to solve them before they do. They are so well thought out. And the characters are all really wonderful. Every single character is fascinating and unique, including the bad guys. And the names are so clever. Like S.Q. Pedalian (just like sesquipedalian) who frequently mixes up his sayings and words and actions.
I love the main four. I have Reynie’s sentimentality, Sticky’s memory, Kate’s bravery, and Constance’s stubbornness.Actually, I am probably the most like Constance. It’s funny. I’ll just be doing something in real life and then I’ll think, that was such a Constance thing to do. It makes me sad that the others don’t really like her. She’s amazing, they just haven’t realized it yet. She’s my favorite. And wait until they figure out why she’s so cranky all the time.
The person I’m the least like is Kate. She’s so physical and resourceful. But all four of them make a great team. And sometimes, yes, things work out a little too well, but that can be expected. And there are always surprises, some good and some nasty.
“Rules and schools are tools for fools- I don’t give two mules for rules!”
-Constance Contraire, p. 74
I have not forgotten this one, and often I find myself repeating it in my head.
I love love LOVE these books. Everything is amazing, from the characters to the writing to the plot, and it’s not just for kids. The puzzles are so clever, the names are clever, and the characters are all really intriguing and unique. Would I read more by this author? Oh yes. Would I recommend this book to others? Definitely.