This is by far the best YA novel that I have read since the Harry Potter books Characters are great, thoughtful and like nothing I have read before Even though this book is almost 500 pages long, I have been reading it aloud to my class and they are loving it Every day I come into class they are asking if we get to read it for the day I can t wait to get the second one.Enjoy The Mysterious Benedict Society owes a large debt to Lemony Snicket s Series of Unfortunate Events It is written in the same Dickens meets Roald Dahl style although it does emphasize Dahl s whimsy over Dickens occasional bleakness It features an oddball cast with a broad spectrum of eccentricities and unique physical features The plot even centers around a group of kids from orphanages attempting to foil the dastardly plans of a villain who seeks to exploit them in his mad quest for domination.There are good qualities to be found The first hundred pages or so are very charming, managing to capture the better aspects of its inspirations with ease Stewart is certainly a capable writer with a great imagination and sense of wit But once the titular group has been established and sets off on its first mission things begin to go downhill at an alarming rate First, things start to get a little too quirky The villain s dastardly plot for world domination iswhatnow Wait,anotherbizarre character situation setting for our intrepid heroes to contend with Second, said quirks become limiting and mildly irritating could Constancepleasestop grumbling for just a second And while the use of narcolepsy is only slightly amusing at first it gets tiring when both the group s benefactorandthe villain keep passing out at key moments Stewart really should have re thought that as a character trait Third, you realize that the book is overly long and overly complex Yet somehow, despite the myriad twists, turns, and complications, the M.B.S is remarkably capable of making incredible logical leaps to figure out what is going on For crying out loud, how long is this charade going to get dragged out, anyway Then comes the hot mess of an ending I don t want to spoil anything for those who intend to read this book, so let s just say that the realizations come a little too easily, the escapes are a touch too clean, and the happy endings aren t tacked on so much as beaten in with a sledgehammer Yet Stewart must also have realized that if he intends this book to become a series he can t tie everything uptooneatly, so naturally things are open ended enough to allow for a sequel Which is now available in bookstores everywhere I, for one, won t be picking it up. 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 Than Your Average School Supplies So, If You Re Gifted, Creative, Or Happen To Know Morse Code, They Could Probably Use Your Help I appreciated this book at 500 pages, but would ve been REALLY fond of it at only 250 Remove some plod along ploddy sections and tighten up a few narrative side tracks and I think you have yourself a big winner for both YA s and those YA at heart Ignoring the size for a moment yes, yes, it matters and we will return to it this is charming, smart, well written story that had me thinking Dickens for Kids based on its engaging yet restrained prose style It has that cozy feel of well mannered prim and properness Four children, each with a unique ability or attribute, are recruited by the narcoleptic that s right, narcoleptic Mr Benedict to infiltrate an elite academy called LIVE the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened Mr Benedict has become aware that the head of LIVE, a Mr behind theCurtain has developed an evil plan towait for it Now, these four talented misfits are the only hope to stop the dastardly diabolical doings You have Reynie Muldoon, puzzle solver and pattern spotter extraordinaire, Kate Wetherall, think female MacGyver with acrobat skills, Sticky Washington, photographic memory sans common sense, and Constance Contraire, stubborn as a mule and much less friendly Together, they must gather clues, piece together puzzles and solve the mystery of Mr Curtain s scheme before he is able to implement and wait for it To give a sense of the tone and the prose, here is a brief excerpt from the book that I found amusing The children are being told by their guide that, unlike other schools, LIVE doesn t have any rules and explains how the children here can do whatever they want You can wear whatever you want, just so long as you have on trousers, shoes, and a shirt You can bathe as often as you like or not at all, provided you re clean every day in class You can eat whatever and whenever you want, so long as it s during meal hours in the cafeteria You re allowed to keep the lights on in your rooms as late as you wish until ten o clock each night And you can go wherever you want around the Institute, so long as you keep to the paths and the yellow tiled corridorsOkay, onto the whole size thing now I thought the beginning of the book dealing with the recruitment of the four children and the introduction of Mr Benedict was superb and I thought I might have found a new winner to add to my YA favorites I also thought the plot set up and the central mystery dilemma was interesting and very clever All good so far However, once the children arrive at LIVE, the narrative finds itself bogged down with too many tangents and plot pauses to keep the story flowing These slow downs aren t horrible because the writing is engaging and the characters are enjoyable, but Mr Boredom did poke his head in at me a number of times and I could feel him staring at me during stretches of the story If you chop a chunk of this portion off, I think you have a much better story without losing any of the good stuff Overall, I liked it but with the above reservations. What a treat this book was to read I thoroughly enjoyed it the kids were great, the villain and his heinous plot were quite terrifying, and the plot clipped right along My one small reservation is that somehow I find I am in no rush to read the sequel yet this might have simply to do with the fact that the story did clearly end unlike, say, THE HUNGER GAMES But basically, I d recommend MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY to anyone I plan to give my copy to a bright 11 year old girl I know. I don t think I will ever be able to properly rate or review this series because of all the sweet nostalgia surrounding it, but there s something so beautiful and relieving about reading a childhood favorite and loving it just as much as you did back then buddy read with the one who can t blush 4.5 stars JUST WOW What on earth did I just read This was a crazy fun wild ride from beginning to end I wish I had known about these books growing up, and will now definitely hand them off to my younger siblings I m rather sick of the trite, cliche, dumbed down, and weak junior fiction novels that line the shelves these days I have very few favorites in that genre because there is just so little good in it But this is one that I ve added to my list of favorites Unique, deep, fascinating, and brainy , this breaks all the molds of J fic The characters were all so fantastic, and I quickly became attached to all of them and their journeys Each of them were distinctive and one of a kind The ending was beyond fabulous view spoiler They all got their family 3 3 3 hide spoiler What a delightful story It was very difficult to choose a shelf for this book it s not truly fantasy, but its not just adventure or mystery either Perhaps a little Sci Fi than fantasy Well, anyway, it was a wonderful book about four children who agree to help save the world It sounds a little over done, I know, but it s really quite sweet and charming Well written and with loveable characters and a kindness throughout the book I was enthralled from the first page The book isn t incredibly in depth it isn t Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings but it is just one book The characters and plot, while both intriguing and well rounded, do not have quite as many layers as some other works However, that said, I still loved the book The friendships were wonderful and it was so much fun solving the puzzles along with the characters And, yes, I was still surprised at not entirely the ending itself but how the ending came about.The letters Reynie writes are delightful, and the morals of the story are apparent without being annoying If you re at all curious as to what the Mysterious Benedict Society is, then don t hesitate to find out 5 stars to the beginning 4 stars to the later half We started reading this last night Katie and I and I m so looking forward to the journey So far the style is intelligent and charming, and the characters 3 deminsional and yet somehow sweetly simplistic However, I am only about 10 pages into the book Please read the following sentence as if I am singing it, joyfully IT S THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLDDDDDD.Also, I hope you mentally gave me a beautiful singing voice I m not saying I have one but I am saying that s the polite thing to do.Anyway THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD I love it so much oh my god Unless you are new here in which case, welcome and you have made a grave mistake , you know how I feel about middle grade How I feel about middle grade is this I LOVE IT.Middle grade is like young adult if young adult wasn t so dramatic, and didn t have a million boring dramatic unnecessary subplots, and wasn t legally required under the jurisdiction of the United Nations to contain a romance.In other words, if everything that sucked so hard about YA didn t exist.A utopia Middle grade adventure is especially good, and this book is the most especially good example of the most especially good of the most especially good.Even just writing about it makes me so happy I can barely type out rational thoughts Don t say what else is new Just because it s true doesn t mean it s nice See the beginning of this review The Mysterious Benedict Society is action packed It is also riddles packed, and mystery packed, and excitement packed, and friendship packed, and character development packed, and knowledge packed, and everything that is wonderful in this world packed.I loved it when I was ten I loved it when I reread it in early high school And I love it now, when my opinions are actually trustworthy Ten year old me liked every book she read and early high school me wore like 18 layers of mascara every day so don t go around listening to either of them Rereading this was a pleasure even while I was in the midst of a reading slump for the ages, which is proof that it s good all the time no matter who you are It s also pretty shockingly diverse, for 2007 Like, could give most YA fantasy published in 2018 a run for its money.The friendships and family in this are so wonderful, and the characters themselves are lil sweethearts you just want to hug, and the whole thing is such a tension filled action packed mind blowing event that you ll never want it to end.Now I want to reread the sequels.Bottom line THIS BOOK IS THE BEST BOOK AND I RECOMMEND IT UNIVERSALLY Also, by recommend, I mean will foist it upon you by force if necessary IS THERE A BOOK IN THE WORLD I LOVE MORE THAN THIS BOOK the answer probably no.buddy re read with 1 3 of my kik inbox, even tho i m not 100% sure if she s started yet How do librarians decide what children s book they want to read next Well, there are professional reviews, online reviews, and good old fashioned word of mouth And when it came to The Mysterious Benedict Society , I picked up this 486 page tome, turned it about, and then needed a quickie confirmation from somebody as to whether or not I should shell out a significant portion of time to read this puppy As it happened, a librarian I knew and trusted assured me that it wasn t all that good and that I shouldn t waste my days Fair enough I gave away my copy and decided to forget all about it But then the book s name kept cropping up left and right Oh, I should really read it Oh, it s really good Oh, you haven t read it What s wrong with you Eventually, the pressure got to be too much I couldn t take it any As far as I could ascertain I was the only children s librarian in the WORLD who hadn t read The Mysterious Benedict Society , and that was going to have to change So I borrowed a library copy, took it home, and fell in love Once in a while you just want to read a book that s fun This book is precisely that Smart and thoroughly a good good read.Reynie Muldoon doesn t think of himself as extraordinary He thinks of himself as weird and out of place An orphan, Reynie and his tutor one day spot an advertisement that reads, ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES He is, as it happens, and that means taking a series of tests Odd tests Odd, increasingly peculiar tests that go beyond the classroom, or even the realm of the normal By the end of the puzzles Reynie has passed, as have three other rather remarkable children Sticky Washington is a bit of a bookworm, but the kind of kid who never forgets a single fact that he reads Kate Wetherall is an athletic type who carries a handy bucket with her wherever it is that she goes And Constance Contraire is very small, very rude, and very stubborn Together, these kids have been recruited by a Mr Benedict to infiltrate the very prestigious Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and discover what it is that the school s devious head is planning They know that it s evil and dangerous, but beyond that they are out of information So it is that our four heroes become spies and set out to save the world using their very individual abilities.I ve heard this book referred to as two different stories smooshed together into a single tale That s not exactly how I d chose to describe it, but it s a fair assessment This actually isn t a problem either If you like the first portion then you are bound to like the second I was fond of the writing too Never twee or coy, it comes right to the point of things without sacrificing emotion or character It can get away with sentences like, She announced her age right away, for children consider their ages every bit as important as their names because they are straightforward and true Stewart can get stuff across without a bunch of overwrought flowery language Their mouths went dry as bones, needs no further explanation In terms of the sequel, one person I discussed the book with said of it, I don t feel I need to go back to that world I agree, in a way Stewart wraps up his loose ends nicely Unlike some series for kids, you aren t left with many holes or gaps in the plot There is certainly room for a follow up, but if you don t read it you won t feel you ve missed something The important thing to remember is that clever kids like clever tales For children who like everything from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, by Eric Berlin, this is the book for them Consistently fun and fine, the book whizzes through its 400 pages so fast that you ll be shocked at how quickly you find yourself at the end.
Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series for young readers The Secret Keepers, also for young readers and the adult novel Flood Summer He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas Letters to the author may be sent to Trenton Lee StewartPO Box 251358Little Rock, AR 72205
- 485 pages
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- Trenton Lee Stewart
- 02 January 2018 Trenton Lee Stewart