The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I had been told that The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin was one of the best juvenile fiction novels of all time. No one could understand how I had never read it, let alone had never heard of it. In this entertaining tale, a group of sixteen individuals are gathered together while the will of their enigmatic neighbor, Samuel Westing, is read aloud.

Unbeknownst to these people, all mysteriously invited to live at the same apartment complex, Westing has enveloped them in an increasingly bizarre mystery. Paired off with unlikely teammates, each duo must attempt to unravel the mystery with the goal of winning the deceased’s fortune. The plot thickens as there are bombings, supposed deaths, and confusing clues.

Each of the sixteen neighbors has ties to one another that far outreach moving into the same building. As the clues continue to be handed out, the plot thickens when they discover that whoever wins also finds Sam Westing’s murderer. Turtle, the main protagonist, is brilliantly clever and loveable, despite her annoying quirks. Everyone underestimates her childish innocence while they blunder through their own interpretations of the clues.

Although it was a very quick read, I felt that I had gotten to know many of the characters–their flaws, strengths, and weaknesses–very well. I enjoyed the complexity to the mystery and the sheer peculiarity of the storyline. Yes, it was intended for children, but it is always nice to take a break from adult books and read a fun kids book every so often.

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