Monday, July 29, 2013

YA Book club: The Westing Game

Hooray for the YA book club, brainchild of Tracey Neithercott.

This month's selection was The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. What a cool book. I loved the premise-- a huge mystery slash puzzle. Sixteen people are called in to hear the final Will of the millionaire Sam Westing. Someone is accused of being Westing's murderer, and the sixteen potential heirs must use clues to figure out just who is responsible.

I love a good mystery, and part of what mesmerizes me in a good mystery is having the author take you along for the ride but being able to TRUST the author to do it well. I hate when a mystery is poorly planned and the reader either figures it out too early or can tell that the author fudged the results. There is nothing worse, in my book.



Well, the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin passed my test with flying colors. It was an incredibly elaborate mystery that kept me guessing in the most enjoyable way. I did not figure it out early-- I didn't figure it out at all. The few things I could put together were only a small part of the bigger, more elaborate plot.

When the mystery finally culminated at the end it was TOTALLY satisfying, believable, and logical.

I can't recommend this book enough. If you haven't read The Westing Game check it out!

Check out Tracey's blog to find out what the other YA book club members thought of The Westing Game. Then join in-- everyone's welcome!

Have you read The Westing Game? What did you think?


13 comments:

  1. You are so right about the perfect balance the author struck with the mystery. I, too, can't stand when the mystery is too easy to figure out, or when it swings the other direction and the author doesn't play fair. The best part about this was that all the clues were there all along if the reader was attentive and good at figuring out tricksy puzzles. When the reveal came I was plenty satisfied and impressed at how she brought it all together. While I wasn't head over heels in love with this book, I did enjoy it, especially Turtle. :-)

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    1. I agree, Jaime-- though I wasn't actually writing down all the clues and trying to solve the mystery, I felt confident that the author was playing fair. You are so right, Turtle was a key part of it-- in a book of initially unlikeable characters, Turtle was a bright light!

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  2. Every time I thought I'd solved the mystery, there was another twist. It was such a well-crafted plot.

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    1. Totally agree, Jennifer-- It was a complex mystery. A puzzle in a puzzle in a puzzle. Lots of thought went into it, which I really respect and enjoy.

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  3. I agree that the mystery was INCREDIBLY well done. I had no idea who "killed" Sam Westing until Turtle laid all her cards on the table. The twist was very cool, and very satisfying. And I did love the characters. Even though most of them would be completely unrelatable to a middle grade reader, I found them quite entertaining. :-)

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    1. So true, Katie-- a modern kid would be scratching their heads at most of that. Some of the humor about society would have gone way over my head as a kid (or even as a young adult). It was firmly planted in the 1970s, but I did love Turtle and the mystery!

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  4. I didn't get around to reading this in time for the YA Book Club, but based on what everyone is saying about it, I think I need to read it soon.

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  5. I absolutely hate when I can figure out a mystery long before the conclusion, so The Westing Game was so refreshing in that even reading it for the second time (albeit decades later than the first) I had no idea. Such a smart puzzle!

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    1. Totally agree, Tracey! Nothing worse than being able to figure it out too early.

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  6. I haven't read this one yet but it's been on the edge of my awareness for years. Now I'll definitely have to check it out. Maybe we have time to read it as a family before the start of school (fifteen days!). Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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    1. thanks Mare- - would love to hear what you think if you do read it!

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