I recently finished the amazing book, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife and two sons. The book is 485 pages long and is fiction. It was published on March 7, 2007.
The Mysterious Benedict Society is the first book in the series, was a New York Times bestseller in 2007 and won the Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth award in 2007, the Notable Children’s Books award in 2008, and the Texas Lone Star Books award in August 2013. I read this book because for my birthday I got the whole series.
The Mysterious Benedict Society is about four very talented children called Reynie Muldoon, Constance Contraire, Kate Wetherall and George Washington (who prefers to go by Sticky), who come together because they saw an ad in the newspaper to take a test, but only kids could take it. They were the only four children to pass, and then they had to take another two peculiar tests. All of them passed, and finally, they get to meet the person behind the tests. Their challenge is to go on a very secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children can complete. They have to work together to succeed. Reynie is the natural leader who gets along with everyone and is exceptionally good at puzzles, Constance is the annoying and rude one, who none of them know how she passed, Kate is the resourceful one, and is known to carry a bucket filled with tools, and lastly is Sticky who is the most intelligent and has photographic memory. All four of them make up the Mysterious Benedict Society, which Constance made up herself.
The genre of this fantastic book is most definitely fiction because there is an object called the whisperer that can talk to people without them noticing and can influence their decision. It sounds like a child when you decode the message with a special machine, which is what Mr. Benedict did.
I was surprised when Martina Crowe, a classmate of the children’s, got promoted to Executive. When Sticky was caught cheating, he was trying to help Constance so that all four of them would be promoted to messengers to complete their mission. The Executive that was teaching didn’t know who he was giving the answers to so only Sticky got caught. As a result, only Sticky got into trouble and got sent to the waiting room until Mr. Curtain(The antagonist) could see him. No one knows very much about the waiting room because the people who come back don’t even want to think about it. Mr. Curtain couldn’t see him that day so he went back to his room after the waiting room, covered in mud and bugs. That night Sticky and Reynie came up with a plan to get Sticky out of trouble. Once Sticky was in Mr. Curtain’s office, he said that Martina Crowe, who was normally very rude to the four children, pressured him into giving her the answers because she was jealous he learned more than her. So when Martina became executive, the children were extremely surprised.
I liked the way the author made Reynie the most relatable character, so you can also imagine being in his shoes. You can also think of whether you would have made the same decision and ponder on if you would treat everyone as nicely as he does, especially Constance.
Finally, I was interested in this passage on pages 1-2, when Reynie is going to take his second unusual test,
“In a city called Stonetown, near a port called Stonetown Harbor, a boy named Reynie Muldoon was preparing to take an important test. It was the second day of the test – the first had been in an office across town. After that one, he was told to come here, to the Monk building on Third Street, and to bring nothing but a single pencil and a single rubber eraser, and to arrive no later than one o’clock. If he happened to be late, or bring two pencils, or forget his eraser, or any other way deviate from the instructions, he would not be allowed to take the test, and that would be that.”
What I enjoyed about that passage was that it showed how unusual the book was going to be. This book is a 10 out of 10, I look forward to reading the rest of the series.