“‘Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?’ When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?”
(Summary taken from book flap)
The Mysterious Benedict Society was a wonderful treat of a novel with original characters, mystery and a quickly-moving plot. Even though the 485 pages it contains might be a bit daunting, the reading goes quickly because the story catches you from the beginning. I don’t want to compartmentalize Trenton Lee Stewart or neglect to give him credit, but his writing does remind me a bit of Lemony Snicket. Who doesn’t love Lemony Snicket?
The best part of the novel is the camaraderie (or lack thereof) between the four main characters. Though different in many ways, they do mesh well and are all challenged to grow in different ways. The realization of their own personal growth made the story just touch my heart. There is no doubt that this book should remain on the Top 100 Children’s Books list.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart
Originally published in 2007