Young readers who have worked their way through Lemony Snicket may well find their next obsession in The Mysterious Benedict Society, a dandy YA debut by novelist Trenton Lee Stewart. This engaging tale has all the elements tweens find intriguing: gifted kids, a dangerous mission, and a secret society where nothing is as it seems. Stewart throws plenty of challenges -- physical, mental, and moral -- in the path of his young protagonists, and readers will have fun solving the riddles and unraveling the clues in this smart, unconventional mystery. Complex, unpredictable, and deeply respectful of children's innate intelligence, The Mysterious Benedict Society is highly recommended for thoughtful preteens. P.S. We loved it, too!
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Source: Purchased by Myself
Series: Yes, Trilogy, Book Number One
Other Books: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Buy It: The Book Depository
Buy The Entire Series: The Book Depository
I want to start by saying that I am not a fan of Middle Grade. I usually don’t like it because of the juvenile writing style but, take notice of the word “usually.” The Mysterious Benedict Society completely changed all of my preconceived opinions about Middle Grade Fiction. For Months the cover had stared me down in TJ Maxx (They get a shipment of books once in a while) and I finally decided to check it out. I had also seen Priscilla from The Readables review it and she loved it! While my mother and sister were browsing the store, I sat down for a few minutes to read the first few pages and decide if I wanted to buy it. Somewhere between page 1 and 10, the decision was already made- I was walking out of there with that book. For $5, it was a steal - How could I say no? From then on, I was hooked and finished it within a few days.
The Book definitely had a very whimsical feel- from the cover to the color scheme and even the writing. The whole book reminded me of a Roahld Dahl book, but lightened up. I really enjoyed Trenton Lee Stewart’s writing style and will check out any other books that he has written. I loved the beginning and really enjoyed trying to figure out all the answers on the tests that Reynie had to take. I’m really a big fan of riddles, that being said, that is probably the reason I loved this book so much and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series because it follows a scavenger hunt!
The Mysterious Benedict Society was definitely a character driven book. I’d say that 99% of the characters were Dynamic, meaning that they underwent changes throughout the story. The story was mostly focused on Reynie, a young orphan. I loved how Reynie had a childish way of thinking, but in reality was very intelligent. By Childish was of thinking, I mean that Reynie still thought about upsetting his friends and doubted himself. Of Course adults do those things, too, but you could tell that Reynie was of a young age. I really liked Sticky, Kate, and Constance also! I could ramble on forever about how great the characters in this book were, but instead I’ll make it quick ;) I LOVED Kate! Her and her red bucket were so unique and I hate to sound cheesy, but she had so much “Girl Power” ! Constance’s stubbornness was very humorous, which I really enjoyed. I also liked Sticky because he was mysterious in the beginning and was a very Dynamic character.
I really loved The Mysterious Benedict Society and its whimsical style! I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of the series!Final Grade: