My book club is on a middle grade book kick, and I am absolutely loving the books I’ve been picking up. Last month, we picked The Mysterious Benedict Society, and this month, NPR is featuring the story for it’s backseat bookclub pick. That tells me we made a great choice…. and after reading it, I know we did.
I actually picked this story up two years ago but ended up not finishing it, so I was super excited for the second chance at the story. Not only does Stewart tell a fun one… but, it’s a story that works your brain. Just a warning, it might be time to brush up on your Morse Code!
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart| Website
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Release Date: March 7th, 2007
If you’re a gifted child looking for special opportunities, than you might just be up for a secret mission. Despite dozens and dozens of children trying out for Mr. Benedict’s special mission, only two boys–Reynie and Sticky, and two girls–Kate and Constance, pass the tests.
With dark, secret mazes, and mind-boggling papers tests behind them, they are ready for the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened–where they walk into a world of no rules, and only each other to count on.
5 reasons why this book is marvelous!
- The Mysterious Benedict Society is an orphan story… but this time around, it’s about four kids who really don’t have anyone but each other, once they start to lean on each other that is. I have always had a heart for orphan stories because I think they have such wonderful lessons for readers, and their stories are often those of triumph and adversity. This one is no exception.
- Speaking of orphans… these ones are fabulous! Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are fabulous characters. Stewart has written such great kids, and he has given them all such different personalities. I love how each character can stand on their own, should they need too, but as the story progresses, they really begin to understand the importance of teamwork. By the end of the story, I have such a hard time figuring out who my favorite is because each one warms my heart and makes me laugh in a different way.
- This is a book that makes readers think… and I absolutely love it! I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say if you want to be a part of the Society, you’re going to have to need a little brain power. Mr. Benedict puts the kids through rigorous testing in order to become a part of the Society, but once they’re in, the need for thinking doesn’t stop! As readers, we get to play along with the characters and use our own brains so not only are we taking in a story–we’re participating and maybe even learning a little.
- Word. Play. Stewart weaves so much fun into his story. Between word play with his sentences, the names of his characters, and even some hidden information among names and ideas….I laughed so much as I read this story.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society is the FIRST in a series… so there’s more fun to come!
Overall, The Mysterious Benedict Society was a super fun read, but I can’t say it is one of my favorites. I think part of that lies with the fact that this is a really long middle grade read–at almost 500 pages, I felt like the story was daunting at times and wasn’t going anywhere almost like the plot of a second book in a series. But, the fun aspects of the story helped move it along and once I got the chance to discuss the story with my book club, I enjoyed it even more.
Book Talk: Have you read The Mysterious Benedict Society? What about the rest of the series or the new prequel? Do you enjoy all of the puzzles and fun aspects of the story?