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The Westing Game

April 24, 2010

Several families are offered apartments in beautiful Sunset Towers – the offers are so good, in fact, they can’t refuse them.  Sunset Towers overlooks the Westing estate, home of eccentric millionaire Sam Westing.  Shortly after everyone settles into Sunset Towers, Sam Westing passes away.  All the tenants (plus a few others) are summoned to the Westing mansion for the reading of his will.

At the reading, the heirs are divided into eight groups of two and each pair is given four single word clues that seem meaningless.  They’re told that, “It is not what you have, it’s what you don’t have that counts.”  They all assume that the winner of the game will inherit the estate, so each team tries to figure out their clues and everyone else’s too.

When I started The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, I was afraid that I would be confused by the abundance of characters.  There was no need to worry, though, because they were easy to keep up with once they were paired up.  This book won the Newbery Medal in 1979 and I can see why – I thought it was fantastic!

The mystery in The Westing Game is well developed and a lot of fun.  There is a puzzle of sorts to figure out, and the pieces to the puzzle are slowly provided to the reader.  I thought the puzzle was clever and unique.  I’m happy to say that I was on the right track, but didn’t figure it out completely until the characters did.

The best part of The Westing Game for me was the characters, though.  They were paired in such a terrific way and they each helped their partner develop in some way without even knowing it.  I loved that the characters had such unique personalities and that the “game” helped them all learn to appreciate each other.

This YA novel is a lot of fun and it will appeal to teen-agers and adults alike and I do recommend it.

For more children’s books reviews, check out Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.   Feel free to grab the little button too!

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I won this book from Booking Mama.   I am an Indiebound Affliate.
38 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2010 6:42 am

    I have always wanted to read The Westing Game, but it has always gotten pushed to the bottom of the TBR pile. Nice review, and I’m glad you enjoyed it so! And you’ve encouraged me to pick it up now and read it!

  2. April 24, 2010 7:56 am

    This sounds so good! I’ve enjoyed all the Newbery winners I’ve read to date, and I think this would be no exception.

  3. April 24, 2010 8:13 am

    This sounds so fun! Actually it also sounds like a reality show! I love Newbery winners – they so rarely disappoint!

  4. April 24, 2010 8:19 am

    i LOVED this book when i was younger. it was one of my favorite newberry reads

  5. April 24, 2010 8:37 am

    Sounds like one that I need to add to my list!

  6. April 24, 2010 8:37 am

    Great review. You already know this was one of my favorites as a kid. I thought it was so clever!

  7. April 24, 2010 9:26 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never read this. It sounds like I need to get on the ball!

  8. April 24, 2010 10:14 am

    Kathy, it has been many years since I read THE WESTING GAME. Since my daughter was in elementary school I think and her school librarian was pointing me at many, many wonderful books. I loved that librarian. I think this will be just the perfect book to pick up for a weekend read soon. Thanks for highlighting it!

  9. April 24, 2010 10:24 am

    This is my sister’s favorite book (and I enjoy it too!) So glad you liked it and I definitely encourage everyone else to read it as well. It’s not very long and it’s a Newbery winner

  10. April 24, 2010 10:51 am

    I read this with my son years ago. I think we still have it–may have to pick it up again.

  11. April 24, 2010 10:53 am

    Never heard of this one growing up, but I sure do want to know how the game ended up working out for everyone.

  12. April 24, 2010 11:19 am

    I haven’t head of this one. It sounds great. Sometimes I get lost when there are too many characters. I’m glad you were able to keep up with them. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this one.

  13. April 24, 2010 11:44 am

    I’m sorry to say I haven’t heard of this book. The plot idea sounds fun and, if the characters are good, well then, I need to find this one. I’m going to check the library this week. Thanks for the tip.

  14. April 24, 2010 11:51 am

    I actually do this book as a novel study with my fourth graders and they love it We keep a “detectives notebook” to track all the characters and the clues and the kids LOVE it!! It is a great book with good characters and good mystery! I am glad that you enjoyed it as well because it is one of my favorites!

  15. April 24, 2010 11:54 am

    Sounds fascinating! And I like that the number of characters don’t overwhelm the reader.

  16. April 24, 2010 12:13 pm

    Hmmm…now I know where 39 Clues got the idea! Sounds suspiciously similar.

  17. April 24, 2010 12:19 pm

    I read this book in school as a kid, and I remember liking it. I think it would be fun to re-read it with The Girl, especially since I don’t really remember the story.

  18. April 24, 2010 1:21 pm

    That sounds really good!! Off to Amazon I go…

  19. April 24, 2010 2:18 pm

    This is one of my favorites! Ellen Raskin charms me. Apparently when she wrote this book, she didn’t plan forward, just made up the plot as she went along. So impressive for an intricately plotted book like this!

  20. April 24, 2010 3:13 pm

    This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. In fact, it’s one of the few I’ve kept on my bookshelf.

  21. April 24, 2010 3:15 pm

    Kathy, I’d heard of this book before but didn’t know about the “puzzle”. Sounds quite good!

  22. April 24, 2010 3:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds like it’d be a fun read. Great review, Kathy! I just added this to my list.

  23. April 24, 2010 4:34 pm

    I love this book! We read it in 6th grade and I too feared that I would mix up all the characters’ stories but the author prevents that from happening. Sandy was probably my favorite character along with Turtle. All these characters had such funny and odd personalities and the mystery was really good 🙂

  24. April 24, 2010 4:49 pm

    I remember reading this as a kid and loving it, but I don’t really remember what it is about. I’ll have to give it a try since it seemed to work for you.

  25. April 24, 2010 6:37 pm

    I just read this one recently for the first time too. I wish that I had read it as a child, because I think I would have loved it even more then.

  26. April 24, 2010 8:28 pm

    This just sounds like a ton of fun! I’m intrigued!

  27. April 25, 2010 2:41 am

    I loved this book when I was a kid! 😀

  28. April 25, 2010 5:17 am

    Oh my, this sounds like such a fun read ! I’ve not heard of this book before this, but now I’ll certainly look out for it !

  29. April 25, 2010 6:23 am

    This really does sound fun!

  30. stacybuckeye permalink
    April 25, 2010 12:01 pm

    I loved this book when I read it as a youngster 🙂

  31. April 26, 2010 9:46 am

    I read this a couple of years ago, and loved it too! Someone suggested it as a beginners mystery book, and since I hadn’t read very many mysteries, I took the bait. I also passed it to my middle school aged daughter, and she loved it as well. I am so glad you liked it! I bet I still have my copy around here somewhere!

  32. April 26, 2010 10:31 am

    glad to hear that you got to keep all the characters straight!

  33. April 26, 2010 1:22 pm

    I liked this book too. And I liked that there’s a character named Turtle — that was a big part of the draw for me.

  34. April 26, 2010 2:57 pm

    I really enjoyed this when I read it a few years ago.

  35. April 26, 2010 4:41 pm

    I’m sorry I missed this one growing up, it sound fantastic. I’ll just have to get a copy and read it now though huh?

  36. April 27, 2010 3:37 pm

    This definitely sounds like a fun novel! I don’t think I have read this one though.

  37. janicu permalink
    April 27, 2010 10:09 pm

    Oh man, I loved THE WESTING GAME when I was a kid. I also enjoyed A TATTOOED POTATO AND OTHER CLUES plus a couple of her illustrated children’s books.

  38. April 28, 2010 8:43 pm

    Waaayyyy back in the day, we had to read Newbery Medal books for school. I never found one I liked until this one. I LOVED this book! I couldn’t believe I stumbled upon it either. I think they made a movie at one time too. Great book and one I would def re-read 🙂

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