The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I discovered this book at an early age, between elementary and middle school, but to put it simply, there has never been a book as eye opening and intriguing in all my years of reading. This was one of those rare books that excited me every time I read it—it was something I couldn’t put down. The sheer brilliance in this book is unimaginable and extremely rare to find. Personally, the book provided nostalgic memories that I could never let go of.

Published in 2007, The Mysterious Benedict Society is actually one of a five-part series about a orphan boy and gifted child named Reynard “Reynie” Muldoon. After reading an ad in the newspaper about an opportunity for gifted children, Reynie decides to take the opportunity and soon faces challenging tests, ones in which he passes. From this, he qualifies to meet Mr. Benedict, the founder of an organization, along with three others who passed the test: George “Sticky” Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. Mr. Benedict sends the children on a mission to explain the mind-controlling messages displayed on televisions and radio signals by placing them as undercover agents in another organization institute, but there’s so much more than what meets the eye.

One main reason why I choose to praise this book is because of its uniqueness. In mystery and thriller novels, there’s already a sense of uniqueness in the sense that you have to create entirely new and different plots to keep stories fresh and entertaining, but this novel specifically holds the complete opposite of cliché story-telling, as it includes many details that one wouldn’t even know could fit together. To be quite honest, the book is quite long and has some unnecessary fill-ins for the plot, yet the plot in itself is wild, crazy, and so unique to the extent where one can never know what will happen next. Along with the plot are creative puzzles and tests for the reader to figure out on their own—a wonderful way to keep readers engaged! The characters have flaws, which make them realistic, but not to the point where they’re so unlikable and their chemistry doesn’t mix well. In the end, the book acts the way a true mystery novel should, even if the imaginative plot fits young adults.

It reaches the heart and soul of young readers, as it provides such a wild, creative imagination to create a story such as The Mysterious Benedict Society. However, it also extends to any age, young or old, but basically, just anyone who’s creative and simply wants a puzzling challenge.

-Natisha P.

The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

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