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The Westing Game

Posted on : 22-01-2010 | By : admin | In :


The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

Book Review by Jazzarazz

A timeless mystery, this book has kids guessing until the very end.
The story is set in an apartment complex, where all of the residents are unknowingly selected by the building’s owner, business tycoon Sam Westing. One of the families in the complex has a 12 year old daughter named Turtle, who, on a dare, sneaks into the nearby Westing mansion. Once there, Turtle discovers the body of the famous businessman. And so the Westing Game begins.

The entire apartment complex is shocked to find themselves invited to the reading of Westing’s will, which turns out to be a game, a puzzle he created just for them. The residents are paired up and each pair is given a different set of clues in order to solve the puzzle. Winner take all 200 million.

The story follows all of the residents as they struggle with their personal lives, with the clues, with a resident burglar, and with a bomber in their midst.

The Westing Game contains a number of really delightful characters:

My personal favorite is Turtle, who is defiant, and clever, and tomboyish as a 13 year old girl can be.
There is also Jake Wexler, who is a podiatrist and a bookie and very disinterested in the game.
In contrast, his socially conscious wife, Grace Winsor Wexler, insists on calling her husband a “doctor,” and is interested in the windfall but lacks the wits to puzzle out the will.
Madame Hoo is the wife of a failing restaurateur. She barely speaks a lick of English, but she has other hobbies that keep her neighbors looking over their shoulders.
Meanwhile, her husband struggles to make the business work and get his wayward teenage son to concentrate on school instead of sports.

The real masterpiece of this book is the clever puzzle set out in the will.
I really don’t recommend reading too many reviews b/c they’re spoilers- I’ve had to hold back a lot in order to keep the mystery a mystery.

This book reminds me of the board games Clue or 13 Dead End Drive come to life.
Less violent than the games, the book’s intellectual challenge really keeps kids turning pages to the very end.

My daughter enjoyed this one and even lent it to her friend when she was finished.
To me, that sort of recommendation says a lot. When one pre-teen turns to another and says, “You’ve totally got to read this!”

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