Saturday, December 19, 2020

Book Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Title: The Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: April 12th 2004
Print Length: 192 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

While looking for my next read, I came across The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I had never heard of it before, but the synopsis sounded interesting. I decided to give it a read, and I'm glad I did.

Sixteen people all move into Sam Westing's apartment building after receiving a letter inviting them to move in. They are the only tenants in the building. Little do they know that they were picked to play in a game where they could potentially win a lot of money. However, they must play hard to win if they want to inherit millions even if the game may be dangerous.

I didn't realize it while reading The Westing Game, but this book is considered middle grade fiction. The way it is written, I think every age group would enjoy it. It's a fun and easy read. The plot flows smoothly, and the story progresses with ease. Each page is filled with mystery. I found myself guessing who was the murderer and which person would figure out the clues to inherit Sam Westing's inheritance. I will say that The Westing Game's mystery had me stumped. I never could guess who was who which made me love this book even more. This book is chock full of mystery and intrigue. It will leave you scratching your head as you read it trying to figure out who killed Sam Westing. There's plenty of plot twists, and just when you think you have figured everything out, you will find out how wrong your guess was. I've never read a book that stumped me so much while trying to figure out everything! However, by the end of the book, everything is revealed. All questions are answered, and the author lets us know how each character got on in life. One minor annoyance (and I believe it's a personal thing) was that the writing seemed a little choppy to me in how it was written. Maybe it is just that style, but I found it a bit peculiar. However, that didn't take away my interest in the story that much.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters in the book. I do wish there was a bit more backstory for each of the characters though. It's not that they didn't feel fleshed out because they did, but I would have enjoyed learning more about each one of them a bit more before they moved in to Westing's apartment building. I enjoyed Turtle's character the most. Although she was often looked over, her determination to prove herself was admirable. I like how, despite her young age, she threw herself into Sam Westing's game. Sydelle was my least favorite character. It wasn't because she wasn't written well, quite the opposite. I just found her personality annoying. I kept hoping she was somehow be kicked out. Even though she wasn't mentioned as much, I really liked Madame Hoo. I enjoyed her scenes and her personality on the pages she was mentioned in.

Trigger warnings for The Westing Game include minor violence, death, suicide, drinking, and minor racism from one of the characters.

With it's mysterious plot and interesting cast of characters, The Westing Game is one of those books that you will love reading while trying to figure out its plot. It will keep you on your toes at all times! I would definitely recommend The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to those aged 13+ who are after an unpredictable and well written mystery novel.

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