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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I actually read this one over a year ago, but I thought of it today for some reason, and I figured, why not tell you about it? It was a pretty good book, and quite cute. A summary for ya:

4 misfit children have just been recruited to join a queer society. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have passed all the odd and unusual tests required to join. They are taken to Mr. Benedict's house, where the kind old man asks them to help him take down an evil man named Mr. Curtain. Mr. Curtain has a machine called The Sender that sends subliminal messaging through airwaves. These messages are picked up by the human mind (though the human themself is unconscious of it) and causes their minds to be influenced and controlled in negative ways. The kids go undercover at L.I.V.E. (Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened) which is a private academy ran my Mr. Curtain, where the evil man and The Sender are located. The 4 children each posses their own odd and exceptional talents, but they will need every bit of wit, brain power, and courage that they have to take down evil.

This book is clever. It's like a big puzzle. My favorite part was the beginning, where the kids have to pass all the tricky tests in order to join The Mysterious Benedict Society. This book is part mystery, part brain teaser. Twists and turns will surprise readers and amuse them.

I also liked the characters. They are young and lovable. Reynie is the clever one, Sticky is the genius, Kate is the agile one, and Constance is...Constance. The children bond throughout the book, forming a close-knit and trusting friendship with one another. Mr. Benedict was your typical sweet old man, though he suffered from narcolepsy. Mr. Curtain was evil. Enough said.

This book probably can't be classified as YA, it was more for younger middle school-level readers. But you may want to give it a chance. It was a longer novel too, almost to a point where it seemed like things were being dragged out. But the conclusion is well-done and heartwarming.

Cute, exciting, and smart. This book will keep you guessing.
4/5 stars

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