Monday, July 29, 2013

Badass Books: The Westing Game

I'm going to be honest--I wish I hadn't missed the poll for this month's YA Book Club. I've been craving a re-read of The Giver, and I'm always up for diving into A Wrinkle In Time (I read this one probably once every two years). I had never heard of The Westing Game, so when that was the selected story, I was surprised. But I guess it's always good to read something new--even if it is actually quite old.


When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will...and what a will it is!

The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance

Why I read it: YA Book Club (as previously mentioned), which is hosted by the fabulous Tracey Neithercott. For this month, she selected a host of summer reading specials (an idea that I love), and participants voted. The Westing Game won.

ZOMG Yes! I found myself pleasantly surprised by this book. It's been a while since I've read an MG story, and I forgot how fun they can be--voice, character development, plot. It's different from YA or adult, but it isn't any less lovely.

The Westing Game had quite the assortment of characters. It felt reminiscent of And Then There Were None, though not as dark. I enjoyed getting to see inside of each character's head, and I had fun trying to crack the mystery. I figured out everything except the final reveal.

Meh While I liked getting in every character's head, the narrative style was a little confusing/overwhelming at times. I wasn't sure who I was reading. I know part of that was tied to the whole mystery element, but it pulled me out of the story.

Kthxbai This was a fun read, and I wish it had been assigned to me for summer reading as a kid! Thanks for the fun, light read in midst of this crazy summer!


  1. I can really relate to your 'meh' category. While overall I enjoyed this book, I wouldn't say I loved it. Katy mentioned in her review that her middle grade self wouldn't have liked it, and I have to speak for middle grade Jaime and agree. Too confusing at times, especially with such a sizeable cast of characters. As an adult, it was a fun read, particularly the mystery itself, though unlike you, I didn't even try to crack it lol. (How'd you do, by the way?) Great review, Liz! :-)

  2. I loved THE WESTING GAME when I was a kid, mostly because I enjoyed trying to figure out the clues and because of the twist at the end. I've been reading it to my son (unfortunately we didn't finish on time to participate in the YA Book Club) and I have to admit that I'm not loving it as much now. It's not an easy book to read out loud at all, especially because of the issues with the narrative style, as you pointed out. Ah well. I recently read him A WRINKLE IN TIME, and that one always lives up to when I originally read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Liz! :)

  3. I can't believe you managed to work out what was going on! I was completely wrapped up and had no idea what was going on (in a good way :) I think the voice thing is a common point in everyone's reviews--it is a little disconcerting to have an MG story told in such an adult way. I absolutely loved it, though--definitely agree with your conclusions!

  4. You figured it all out? I'm impressed. You should start a detective agency. Even after reading this years ago and forgetting the ending I didn't figure it out.

  5. I think it was definitely dated in terms of style and delivery-- but I really enjoyed it. I think it's interesting you consider it a MG-- I didn't think of it as fitting a modern category-- though Turtle was a slightly more prominent character, it hadn't occurred to me. I definitely didn't figure it out. Not a whit. I noticed the words from America the Beautiful kept cropping up, but I didn't bother to write the whole down and see which words were missing.

  6. Yeah, the narrative was weird in some places. It reminded me of a movie where the main character randomly turns to the camera and shares something super secret with the audience.

  7. The narrative was the biggest issue for me too, Liz. I get the author's intention to keep the mystery a mystery, but I wanted to be in one narrator's head (preferably Turtle's) for the duration of the story.

    And hello... I TOTALLY want to reread THE GIVER. It's one of my very favorite middle grade books!