Staff pick: The Westing Game

April 19, 2017

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The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin holds a truly special place in my heart. When I stumbled upon this charming and kooky story as an 11 year old, I devoured it in one sitting and immediately fell in love. I was absolutely enthralled by the crazy characters and the twisting plot and immediately dubbed it my favorite book of all time. Now, 20 years later, The Westing Game still holds that top honor.

 

Yes, this book is written for a middle-grade audience, but it is still an enjoyable read for teens and adults, and I encourage all ages to give this book a chance.

 

The Westing Game is about a group of 16 people, many of whom are complete strangers, who are all invited to hear the reading of millionaire Sam Westing's will. According to the will, one person in the group will inherit Westing's millions... and one person is his murderer. The person who solves the mystery of who killed Sam Westing will be named his heir, but in order to figure out whodunit, the entire group will have to play the Westing Game.

 

Following instructions from the will, the group is divided into 8 pairs and each pair receives a set of random words ("sea", "good", "skies") to help them solve the mystery. The teams are instructed to keep their clues secret from the other "players", which means the only person who knows all the clues is you, the reader. As the characters race to solve the murder, they must also try to solve the mystery of who among them is a thief, and who is a bomber.

 

No matter how many times I read this book (and at this point I've lost count), I am still mesmerized by the story. If you're a fan of puzzles, Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or anything by Blue Balliett (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3), you will love The Westing Game!

 

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