The Westing Game Info

Download Editor's Picks Books in Teen & Young Adult. Read Fan Reviews and check what others have to say about The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin


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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.34

154888 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for The Westing Game:

4

Jul 10, 2009

this is what i am going to do: i am going to take a red panda, and i am going to learn genetics and i dunno - neuroscience. and welding. and i am going to take a little bit of my brain, and a little bit of everyone's brain here on goodreads.com (you'll be asleep, you wont feel a thing) and then i am going to moosh it all together, and put it in the brain of the red panda. and then i will have the perfect book-recommending resource. because if i had had one of these when i was little, then it this is what i am going to do: i am going to take a red panda, and i am going to learn genetics and i dunno - neuroscience. and welding. and i am going to take a little bit of my brain, and a little bit of everyone's brain here on goodreads.com (you'll be asleep, you wont feel a thing) and then i am going to moosh it all together, and put it in the brain of the red panda. and then i will have the perfect book-recommending resource. because if i had had one of these when i was little, then it would have told me, "you love peggy parrish and her wordplay-based mysteries and you have seen the movie clue enough times that you can recite the whole thing (still can). here's a book you will like". i would have to fine tune it so it works better than the one they have on amazon.com or netflix.com (because, no, i would not like to see the aviator, thank you). i would have loved this book like crazy as a kid. as a grown up, i liked it very much, but thought the characters could have used a little fleshing out to make them more defined. the child-me would not have cared. now i have to go write 250 academic words about it. so much less fun than mad scientisting.

come to my blog! ...more
4

Jul 09, 2018

Really fun, and I know without hesitation what third or fourth grade me loved about it. I felt like maybe it dragged a tiny bit in the back half of the second act, but I think that's just me getting ahead of the narrative, and being a little out of the demo.

But if you're like 11 to 13? Holy crap, you're gonna love this book, and be on board with it pretty much from the first chapter. It was written in 1978, but it doesn't feel dated (other than the technology), and it ages very well. It has a Really fun, and I know without hesitation what third or fourth grade me loved about it. I felt like maybe it dragged a tiny bit in the back half of the second act, but I think that's just me getting ahead of the narrative, and being a little out of the demo.

But if you're like 11 to 13? Holy crap, you're gonna love this book, and be on board with it pretty much from the first chapter. It was written in 1978, but it doesn't feel dated (other than the technology), and it ages very well. It has a diverse cast, which I didn't appreciate as a kid, because I didn't know any better, but which I deeply appreciate now. Much of it reads as brief vignettes, which made it very easy to pick up and put down.

I highly recommend this for young readers, and I highly recommend it a second time to adults who read it when we were kids. ...more
2

Mar 02, 2009

This book sounded like it would be lots of fun, and I read it hoping for a great mystery. In the end I think there were too many characters, and not enough information to make any of them seem real to me. I never really got why they were who they were, except on the most basic level. Each character was just glossed over, and even though they were described in a basic way, there was nothing to really draw me in or make me care about them.
4

Jul 07, 2010

The Westing Game is first full-length mystery I remember reading. Well, besides Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew books. But the one mystery that I could still have told you general details about the plot. It might have been the cleverness of the mystery or  it's absence of gore. It could have been identification with the shin-kicking protagonist, nicknamed 'Turtle.' It could have been the clever signals of winds and atmosphere that run throughout the book. Whatever it was, Raskin's story stayed The Westing Game is first full-length mystery I remember reading. Well, besides Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew books. But the one mystery that I could still have told you general details about the plot. It might have been the cleverness of the mystery or  it's absence of gore. It could have been identification with the shin-kicking protagonist, nicknamed 'Turtle.' It could have been the clever signals of winds and atmosphere that run throughout the book. Whatever it was, Raskin's story stayed with me for years.

Opening page:

"The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!
Sunset Towers faced east and had no towers. This glittery, glassy apartment house stood alone on the Lake Michigan shore five stories high. Five empty stories high.
Then one day (it happened to be the Fourth of July), a most uncommon-looking delivery boy rode around town slipping letters under the doors of the chosen tenants-to-be. The letters were signed Barney Northrup.
The delivery boy was sixty-two years old, and there was no such person as Barney Northrup."

It is a variation on the manor house mystery, with a very disparate group of people brought together physically. Initially, they are convinced to rent or buy units in the newly constructed Sunset Towers, a small building that has room for a coffee shop, a restaurant and a small office, perfect for further enticing the future tenants. The tenants discover they have something additional in common when they are called together for the reading of Sam Westing's will. An isolating snowstorm ramps up the tension.

Narration is third person, which is solidly done. Initially, all the characters have aspects that make them seem flawed, or perhaps somewhat unlikable. Interestingly, however, it was probably one of the broadest casts I can remember reading: a black woman who is now a judge, who grew up poor; a Greek family, whose skin is 'darker' than the black woman's (an interesting concept for a young white kid!); a Chinese family, one a recent immigrant; a couple of economically limited white guys; a suburban white family; a single white older woman dressmaker. We pop in and out of most of their heads at some point, which ends up giving the reader more insight than they each have on each other.

There's accusations in a review or two of racism, but on adult read, I'd say that the racism is all internal to the characters, and Raskin does a solid job of showing how things a certain character might say or do regarding someone else's race is about their own knowledge deficits. I found only a couple of moments for me that might not pass the twenty-first century sniff test: One of the characters, Chris, has some sort of unspecified physical disability that impairs movement and speech. One of the questionable moments comes up when his brother, Theo, tells someone else that they don't need to talk to Chris like a baby, "because he's not retarded."

I usually avoid reading books from childhood, as I'm afraid of having precious memories tarnished. I thought The Westing Game held up well. It's told in an omniscient third person, and tends to switch person and location fairly frequently. In the book, the switches are clearly denoted with ****, but it's the sort of thing that probably won't translate well to audio, unless it was done with an ensemble cast.

 I think it is definitely a YA, but in the best sense of the word. Many of the techniques it uses are great for people that are younger and haven't figured some of this out yet; ie. a judge that still has some insecurities, or decides that she will not to compete for the prize, but to protect. The shifts in perspective and time work well for developing empathy--I think each character goes through a redemption arc, and even the one I remember disliking the most--Otis--was shown to be something other than appearance suggested. I ended up searching out a hardcover for my own library, and am glad to have it around. ...more
5

Nov 15, 2008

I think I first read The Westing Game in third or fourth grade. I checked it out of a public school library in Missouri. I loved it, returned it, and checked it again a few months later on another weekly library visit. Two things: 1. Why should children only go to the library once a week? My education would have been brighter and fuller had I just stayed in the library. Other kids could have had more time with the restroom pass, but instead I hoarded that thing and sat on the white raised seat I think I first read The Westing Game in third or fourth grade. I checked it out of a public school library in Missouri. I loved it, returned it, and checked it again a few months later on another weekly library visit. Two things: 1. Why should children only go to the library once a week? My education would have been brighter and fuller had I just stayed in the library. Other kids could have had more time with the restroom pass, but instead I hoarded that thing and sat on the white raised seat reading away. I'm sure my teacher must've been concerned over my restroom needs/habits. 2.I loved Turtle, the girl with the braids that beg to be pulled. I braided my hair like Turtle's and liked whirling around and using them as weapons against boys coming in for the kisschase win. Which was a good development because a couple of years earlier I bit Rashad Ware when he lumbered towards me for a smooch. (I told my parents that I didn't bite him; just was running with my mouth open and happened to want to close it when his arm showed up)

Back to the book. Still, years later, in love with Turtle, only the mother in me now has room to love Flora Baumbach, hair braider, as well. And Mrs. stickyfingers Hoo, my new favorite. So, still in love with the book. The whizzbang puzzle mystery abides, only the clues are not as mysterious and I did wish that purple waves meant something really, really sinister and twisted. But that's just my maturity showing. So great to be grown up.
This was a sister book club pick. My youngest sister had never read it; apparently, an epic fail in my big sister job on that one. But, it's good to see that I did well enough a job that she knew to find it herself and suggest it for book club. I've helped raise a responsible adult. Even if she liked Crow, the woman in black.
My middle sister took a long time, too long of a time, to read this book. But she finished, liked it, and all is well.
This would be a great family read aloud book. But, to stop my eldest from reading ahead I would have to hide it really well. Maybe even have clues. And a wax dummy dead body! Long live the Westing Game.



...more
4

Aug 03, 2018

I just want to cut to the chase: the last three chapters, over the course of about nine pages, are some of the most moving I've read in a book written for kids. life, loss, death; growing up and getting old; compassion and empathy; sadness and mourning, sweetness and light. it's all there. such a generosity of spirit from Ellen Raskin. I would have loved to have known her. but I sorta feel I do, from those few pages.



the book itself is a delightful lark. a lot of fast-paced fun, but with a I just want to cut to the chase: the last three chapters, over the course of about nine pages, are some of the most moving I've read in a book written for kids. life, loss, death; growing up and getting old; compassion and empathy; sadness and mourning, sweetness and light. it's all there. such a generosity of spirit from Ellen Raskin. I would have loved to have known her. but I sorta feel I do, from those few pages.



the book itself is a delightful lark. a lot of fast-paced fun, but with a surprising depth of emotion and a perfect understanding of human nature. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of its cast, the cleverness of its puzzles, the sardonic humor, why the scar happened and what it means, and especially mean little Turtle and her deepening friendship with the woman she decides to call Baba. ...more
5

Dec 20, 2009

A well-written, twisty puzzle of a mystery, filled with fantastic clues, unforgettable characters, and countless red herrings. Turtle Wexler will always be a hero to me.
3

Dec 20, 2019

A group read with my pantaloonless buddies.

Sixteen very different people were invited to reading of a will of multi-millionaire Samuel W. Westing.

The guy stated he would be killed and whoever finds the murderer would get all his fortune. He provided the participants (or players as Westing called them) with different clues to help, but in my humble opinion they only provided additional confusion.

Coming back in time somebody worked really hard to make sure these sixteen people come to live in A group read with my pantaloonless buddies.

Sixteen very different people were invited to reading of a will of multi-millionaire Samuel W. Westing.

The guy stated he would be killed and whoever finds the murderer would get all his fortune. He provided the participants (or players as Westing called them) with different clues to help, but in my humble opinion they only provided additional confusion.

Coming back in time somebody worked really hard to make sure these sixteen people come to live in the same luxurious apartment building. If you think this beginning has a strong And Then There Were None vibe, you are absolutely right.

Again, in my humble opinion Ellen Raskin does not come close to the greatness of Agatha Christie. Then again, who does?

Reading this book clued me in on how to spot a YA book easily.

The biggest giveaway would be the fact that in this genre slightly grown-up kids (aka young adults) are always unfailingly smarter than the actual adults. The more obnoxious the teen, the more smarter she/he turns out to be. I can understand it: in children books the adults are treated as guardians, teachers, etc. and thus they are not brain-dead. If you want to ponder to teenagers with their rebellious phase of growing up (we all came through this), you want to show them to be the smart ones. I can accept this. By the way, in case you know of an exception to this rule please inform me as I cannot think of any.

What I do not accept is the condescending tone of YA literature. For some reason in children books the readers often treated as equals making them better and more satisfying reads for me - an adult who left his teen years behind a long time ago. The book was guilty of this.

Last piece of criticism. I hate rapid changes of POVs with the passion.

Here they would often change after just one paragraph making the whole story look like a series in disconnected scenes. I like the idea of "tell, do not show", but here is was taken to the extreme adding to the feeling of disconnection between what was actually shown and not told.

However after all the mud slinging I did, I liked the book well enough not to get too bored (I only got frustrated from time to time) and I have not regrets about reading it. The rating is 3 stars. Anti-YA rant mode off. ...more
4

Mar 20, 2008

I read this little book for the first time not as a child - but as an adult. I was looking for a book to kick off our Junior High book club and picked up the Westing Game to see if it might be a good place to begin.
I wish that I had found this book earlier in my life. What kid wouldn't be captivated by wonderful characters thrown together to play a game hosted by a dead millionaire? Don't get me wrong...Mr. Westing isn't a vampire or a zombie - he's just decided that his heirs need to do a I read this little book for the first time not as a child - but as an adult. I was looking for a book to kick off our Junior High book club and picked up the Westing Game to see if it might be a good place to begin.
I wish that I had found this book earlier in my life. What kid wouldn't be captivated by wonderful characters thrown together to play a game hosted by a dead millionaire? Don't get me wrong...Mr. Westing isn't a vampire or a zombie - he's just decided that his heirs need to do a little puzzle solving in order to earn their share of his estate. While the mystery and the puzzles are fun and wonderfully clever, it's the characters that really make this novel.
All of the characters reside and work in the same high rise apartment building within view of the looming Westing estate. Getting snowed in with them is like being trapped with the most interesting people you could imagine - both good and bad. By the end of the novel it's almost like you're part of a family reunion you know these people so well.

Do yourself a favor - if you're a kid: pick up this book and have a wonderful time!
- if you're an adult: pick up this book and enjoy being a kid again! ...more
4

Nov 04, 2017



Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.

What a wild ride this was, and so much fun! I don't know how I would have approached this as a child or young adult, but it made me laugh at so many different stages! My brain is still feeling a little tingly. I never knew what was going to happen next, and I have a feeling that exactly the way Raskin would have wanted it. Can't wait to read more of her books.

"She said that she wrote for the child

“Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.”

What a wild ride this was, and so much fun! I don't know how I would have approached this as a child or young adult, but it made me laugh at so many different stages! My brain is still feeling a little tingly. I never knew what was going to happen next, and I have a feeling that exactly the way Raskin would have wanted it. Can't wait to read more of her books.

"She said that she wrote for the child in herself, but for once I think she was wrong. I think she wrote for the adult in children. She never disrespected them or 'wrote down,' because she didn't know how."—Ann Durell, writing about Ellen Raskin ...more
4

Nov 08, 2019

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
The Westing Game is a mystery book written by Ellen Raskin in 1978. Sunset Towers is a new apartment building on Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee and just down the shore from the mansion owned by reclusive self-made millionaire Samuel W. Westing. As the story opens, Barney Northrup is selling apartments to a carefully selected group of tenants. He claims that chess is not allowed in the building. This is a big clue, as Sam Westing loved chess. After Sam Westing The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
The Westing Game is a mystery book written by Ellen Raskin in 1978. Sunset Towers is a new apartment building on Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee and just down the shore from the mansion owned by reclusive self-made millionaire Samuel W. Westing. As the story opens, Barney Northrup is selling apartments to a carefully selected group of tenants. He claims that chess is not allowed in the building. This is a big clue, as Sam Westing loved chess. After Sam Westing dies, at the beginning of the book, it emerges that most of the tenants are named as heirs in Westing's will. The will is structured as a puzzle, with the 16 heirs challenged to find the solution. Each of the eight pairs, assigned seemingly at random, is given $10,000 cash and a different set of baffling clues. The pair that solves the mystery will inherit Westing's entire $200 million fortune and control of his company. It is discovered that Berthe Erica Crow is the answer but not the murderer. In the end, unknown to the other players, Turtle Wexler wins the game and inherits Sam Westing's company.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه اصلی: روز سی ام ماه آوریل سال 2019 میلدی
عنوان: تو را در بازی کشتند؛ نویسنده: الن راسکین ؛ مترجم: آیدا پورنگ‌فر؛ تهران: نشر خزه، ‏‫ 1398؛ در 288 ص؛ شابک: 9786229581810؛‬ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20 م

ا. شربیانی ...more
4

Feb 10, 2019

This book was delightful.

I'm still reeling from the fact that the author wrote this straight through without knowing all the plot details or how everything would turn out. Sam Westing dies and leaves behind one final game for his 16 heirs who he has move into the same apartment building. A bit Agatha Christie mixed in and you are reading about this puzzle. Everyone is not who they say they are and the author slowly unravels the mystery.

For some reason, this took me far longer to read that it This book was delightful.

I'm still reeling from the fact that the author wrote this straight through without knowing all the plot details or how everything would turn out. Sam Westing dies and leaves behind one final game for his 16 heirs who he has move into the same apartment building. A bit Agatha Christie mixed in and you are reading about this puzzle. Everyone is not who they say they are and the author slowly unravels the mystery.

For some reason, this took me far longer to read that it should have. It was a quick page turner and the paragraphs switched perspectives almost from sentence to sentence, which made it a little tricky to follow along. There were a lot of characters, which also made it hard to keep them all straight, especially the families. I really enjoyed getting to know how everything played out, and especially the time gaps in the ending. Great book for almost every reader. ...more
1

Jul 08, 2010

I don't understand why this book won a Newbery Award. It was confusing and sort of awful. Additionally, for today's reader, it felt extremely dated and had some remarks in it that I would call "un-politically correct."
It all starts with a group of eccentric people of all ages who quickly become involved in a mystery game involving a large inheritance. The person who first solves the mystery wins the inheritance. Clues are given along the way, but I'm not sure whether or not the reader was I don't understand why this book won a Newbery Award. It was confusing and sort of awful. Additionally, for today's reader, it felt extremely dated and had some remarks in it that I would call "un-politically correct."
It all starts with a group of eccentric people of all ages who quickly become involved in a mystery game involving a large inheritance. The person who first solves the mystery wins the inheritance. Clues are given along the way, but I'm not sure whether or not the reader was supposed to be able to solve the mystery. I wouldn't recommend this and I feel bad for kids who have to read it as an assignment. ...more
1

Nov 23, 2009

Unless you love driving chainsaws through your innards, please do not read The Westing Game. The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, is an extremely horrible clue-chasing mystery. The books main events take place in a 5-story apartment called Sunset Towers and the Westing Estate. The book takes place in Michigan around 1975. When reading the Westing Game, it is no more fun than jumping off a cliff for fun.
Barney Northrup, a sixty-two year old salesman, is selling apartment spaces in Sunset Towers to Unless you love driving chainsaws through your innards, please do not read The Westing Game. The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, is an extremely horrible clue-chasing mystery. The books main events take place in a 5-story apartment called Sunset Towers and the Westing Estate. The book takes place in Michigan around 1975. When reading the Westing Game, it is no more fun than jumping off a cliff for fun.
Barney Northrup, a sixty-two year old salesman, is selling apartment spaces in Sunset Towers to secretly selected sixteen people. These people all have connections with Samuel W. Westing and are his heirs. Soon after the sixteen settle in to Sunset Towers, Samuel W. Westing is presumed dead. The heirs are all called to the library in the Westing Estate for the reading of the will. Although the sixteen heirs are considered the main characters, the book focuses mainly on the Wexler family.
Grace Wexler is married to Jake Wexler, and they have two kids, Angela and Turtle. Grace is house decorator in her mid-forties. Jake is a podiatrist who now works in the lobby of Sunset Towers, since they moved there. Angela is a very calm person who is currently engaged to Denton D. Deere, also a doctor.
Overall, the reason I really I really disliked this book was because how boring it was. I was literally sitting there turning a page every five minutes! I would not recommend this to anyone. Over the weeks, the clues still puzzle the heirs, and many events occur including bombs, injuries, parties, and more! Read The Westing Game (don’t) to find out what really happens. If you do choose to read The Westing Game , they have places for people like you.



...more
4

Mar 09, 2015

This was one of my favorite children's books, and I decided to reread it by listening to it on audio. What a delight! The mystery held up really well, and Diane the Adult had fun following the clues being dropped. I had forgotten some of the twists in the story, which made it even more fun, and I was happy with the ending, which I had conveniently forgotten.

I can't remember how old I was when I first read this book, but I do remember loving it so much that I wrote a letter to the author on an This was one of my favorite children's books, and I decided to reread it by listening to it on audio. What a delight! The mystery held up really well, and Diane the Adult had fun following the clues being dropped. I had forgotten some of the twists in the story, which made it even more fun, and I was happy with the ending, which I had conveniently forgotten.

I can't remember how old I was when I first read this book, but I do remember loving it so much that I wrote a letter to the author on an electric typewriter. However, when I looked at Ellen Raskin's bio page on Wikipedia, it says she died in 1984 when she was just 56, so she was likely already gone while I was typing out my admiration for her work. Ellen, wherever you are, thanks for writing such a clever book for children. When I was young, reading that book made me feel like a grownup, and as an adult, reading the book made me feel like a kid again. Cheers to you. ...more
4

Jul 07, 2018

"Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my sixteen nieces and nephews...I, Samuel W. Westing, hereby swear that I did not die of natural causes. My life was taken by me-by one of you!...Cast out the sinner, let the guilty rise and confess. Who among you is worthy to be the Westing heir?"
16 UNLIKELY HEIRS ON THE HUNT OF A MURDERER AMONG THEM? The Westing Game begins.


I never would have thought that this is a children's book. Because honestly, the ingenuity of the plot "Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my sixteen nieces and nephews...I, Samuel W. Westing, hereby swear that I did not die of natural causes. My life was taken by me-by one of you!...Cast out the sinner, let the guilty rise and confess. Who among you is worthy to be the Westing heir?"
16 UNLIKELY HEIRS ON THE HUNT OF A MURDERER AMONG THEM? The Westing Game begins.


I never would have thought that this is a children's book. Because honestly, the ingenuity of the plot transcends all age-bracket genres. THIS IS A MASTERPIECE. Sure this isn't really perfect but danggg son, IT'S THE FCKING TWISTS THAT DID ME. At first I just read on without giving any thought about the "murderer" then by the latter part I'm going to piece off one theory, then it get's utterly crushed, and OH! here's another more plausible one, harharrr wrong again! Wait, I'm so sure that it is this one YAAAY, uhmm nope. Then BOOM everything is laid out perfectly right under my nose.



What I loved about this book aside from the eye-catching plot, is how these 16 heirs were fleshed out vividly and had developed by the end of the book. I was satisfied that we readers still get to see these 16 heirs grow and age. YES. The conclusion gave us glimpses of their futures in snippets even after The Westing Game had finally resolved. I just love these endings.

Overall, this book was filled with humor and witty dialogues. I loved how I pined for the right character! HAAHHA. I recommend this to everyone who wants a fast yet enjoyable mystery book. Definitely one of my fave books this 2018.

P.S. I just bought this for 25 pesos in Booksale and I swear, this is the greatest Booksale find I'd ever had in my whole reading career. ...more
5

Dec 29, 2007

As a child, I probably read this book as many times as I watched the movie "Clue" (brilliance), and that is a lot! I loved (and still love) anything with a clever girl as a protagonist. Turtle can stand her ground among Nancy Drew and her ilk. Raskin's cast of characters feels somehow simultaneously real and fantastical, and the mystery is juicy enough to keep you hooked until the final moment of checkmate.
4

Jul 11, 2018

This was a great middle school mystery.
I wish I had known about this when I was a kid because I think 10 year old me would have been even more engrossed than 38 year old me already was.
5

Oct 26, 2016

This... iconic book. This may be one of the books I've reread most in my life. I love this book so much.

I don't even know what to say about this book other than it's one of my favorites ever. It somehow fits every age group - I appreciate it just as much now as when I was ten.

The Westing Game is a brilliant logic puzzle. It's a mystery with all the clues lined up, but you won't get the solution. Trust me, you won't. You'll just scream at the end when you figure everything out. I'm shocked that This... iconic book. This may be one of the books I've reread most in my life. I love this book so much.

I don't even know what to say about this book other than it's one of my favorites ever. It somehow fits every age group - I appreciate it just as much now as when I was ten.

The Westing Game is a brilliant logic puzzle. It's a mystery with all the clues lined up, but you won't get the solution. Trust me, you won't. You'll just scream at the end when you figure everything out. I'm shocked that any author was able to develop the solution and set everything up so well. Every time I read this, I notice a new clue.

This book also succeeds because of its well-rounded characters. Turtle, Angela, Flora, JJ, and Ted are all well-developed, interesting characters. Frankly, all the characters are interesting and memorable, even with so many.

Recommended for MG and YA readers alike. ...more
2

Dec 27, 2019

I read this with some friends who eschew pantalones. I'd never heard of this book before, despite it being a book for children that was available when I was a child. I think, had I read this way back when, I likely would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did reading it now as a woman who once rode a dinosaur around town, probably.

The premise is such: A very rich man leaves a will naming 16 people as his heirs, but only the one who solves The Mystery(tm) will inherit all of the money that I read this with some friends who eschew pantalones. I'd never heard of this book before, despite it being a book for children that was available when I was a child. I think, had I read this way back when, I likely would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did reading it now as a woman who once rode a dinosaur around town, probably.

The premise is such: A very rich man leaves a will naming 16 people as his heirs, but only the one who solves The Mystery(tm) will inherit all of the money that exists. Nominally $200 million.

There's a lot going on in this book. There's a diverse cast. There's a mystery. There's... a plot. Of sorts.

But what there isn't, at least in my opinion, is cohesion and sense. This book has an ever shifting 3rd person limited Point-of-view narrative structure, sort of stream of consciousness, if we (the reader) existed in the story as a telepathic fly. We flit around and pick up snippets of conversation and thoughts... but the fly has the advantage over us because at least the fly would know whose head it has landed on at the moment. As a reader, there are a lot of ownerless thoughts just hanging out in this book, and it bugged me. (See what I did there?)

On top of that, this book makes use of the dialogue as action style that I really loathe, AND it lacks narrative transitional structure. So one minute we'll have someone saying "Go upstairs and say hello." and then the next line is the hello - not even an "OK, sure".

At one point, one of the characters is in the hospital recovering from an injury. Throughout the time that this character is there, characters just show up, and then show up back at their apartment complex randomly, as though the hospital is IN the building - which it is not. Including a 13 year old child. Just "Oh, we're at this place now. Annnnnd now we're not again?"

It was just very difficult for me to track what was happening, where we were, how much time had passed in the story, who was speaking or thinking at the time. It was just a jumble of words surrounding a mystery that all of the characters were trying to solve... and not one bit of it made sense to me.

The mystery laid out in the will was not as it seemed, and the real solution was to a question that was never asked and a mystery that was never mentioned. It all seemed laid out and planned from the outset, and the level of prep-work required would have been astronomical. And I'm left feeling confused and dissatisfied with the end of the book because it seems like a huge amount of work... for nothing. The end result could have been accomplished much, much, much easier without all the subterfuge and trickery, and it would have actually been much more kind as well.

I just... didn't get this one. It didn't work for me. For all that it's less than 200 pages, it took me AGES to read it because the style just killed my interest every time I picked it up. I was determined to finish, and so I did, but I don't feel like it was worth it. It's a shame, because this book has great reviews, and I had hoped to enjoy it, but it wasn't to be.

2 stars for the potential had I read it when I was an appropriate age and not ancient. ...more
5

Jun 12, 2017

Wow . . . this is . . . brilliant! Such a fun book, and exceptionally written! I think it is meant more for middle grade ages, but all ages will love it! Witty,, mysterious, and yet heartwarming too, this is a book that will quickly become a favorite!
3

Feb 28, 2018

i know this is meant to be a childrens novel, but that thought never crossed my mind whilst reading this. it actually reminded me a lot of the film clue - its mysteriously engaging, wildly eccentric, and dangerously witty. a very quick and fun read!

3.5 stars i know this is meant to be a childrens novel, but that thought never crossed my mind whilst reading this. it actually reminded me a lot of the film ‘clue’ - its mysteriously engaging, wildly eccentric, and dangerously witty. a very quick and fun read!

3.5 stars ...more
2

Dec 11, 2018

I checked out this audiobook on a whim when I saw that it was available, because it seemed like a quick, fun nostalgia read. I remember being assigned to read this book in fifth grade or sixth grade, and had fond memories of it as a brief, fun little puzzle of a story.

The Westing Game begins when sixteen people are called to the abandoned Westing mansion to hear the will of Sam Westing, recently deceased millionaire industrialist. In his will, Westing proposes a game: the sixteen people (his I checked out this audiobook on a whim when I saw that it was available, because it seemed like a quick, fun nostalgia read. I remember being assigned to read this book in fifth grade or sixth grade, and had fond memories of it as a brief, fun little puzzle of a story.

The Westing Game begins when sixteen people are called to the abandoned Westing mansion to hear the will of Sam Westing, recently deceased millionaire industrialist. In his will, Westing proposes a game: the sixteen people (his “heirs”) will be divided into teams of two and given a handful of clues, which they must use to figure out who murdered Westing. The team that wins inherits his entire fortune.

Honestly, on re-reading this, I realize that it’s basically Saw for the elementary school set: rich eccentric dude brings a group of strangers together and proceeds to psychologically torture them by a) teasing them with the chance to win an outrageous fortune and b) convincing them that someone in their group is a murderer. Plus there’s puns and puzzles based on patriotic songs!

In short, this has not aged well. Maybe people were more open to the idea of a rich guy fucking with people’s lives for shits and giggles back when the book was originally published in 1979, but reading The Westing Game in the year of our lord 2018 was a significantly different experience for me. Watching all of these people go through what was basically an elaborate parlor game to appease the whims of a rich dead asshole wasn’t very fun, at all, and it was a genuine disappointment for me when at the end (view spoiler)[it turns out that not only was Westing alive the entire time, none of the characters ever take him to task for how thoroughly he disrupted their lives for his own amusement (hide spoiler)].

And it’s not just the general plot that left a bad taste in my mouth – there are a lot of little things that I definitely didn’t realize were problematic when I read the book as a kid. A child with mental disabilities is described by a character as “a mongoloid child”; a Chinese woman’s inner thoughts are written in broken English; and the one black character wears traditional African clothing once, but those are all the details about it we get, since no country or other information about her clothes are provided, aside from a character calling her outfit “ethnic” and the narration describing her as looking like “an African princess.” Oof. Oh, and since one of the characters has Down’s Syndrome, listening to the audiobook meant having to listen to a non-disabled voice actor do an impression of a person with a speech impediment, which…was not fun for me. I mean, I don’t know how else they were supposed to do it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to. ...more
3

Sep 08, 2017

This should seriously be added to the annals of The Worlds Most Brilliant, Strange Books. I "solved" the mystery twice and was still wrong both times. :D I even had what I thought was a major spoiler to help me. I was still wrong! But in the end all the twists and turns made perfect sense, and I was left wondering how I hadnt seen it all before. Also, this book has a grand total of sixteen point of view characters! I would usually call that a bad thing, but this author somehow made me care This should seriously be added to the annals of “The World’s Most Brilliant, Strange Books”. I "solved" the mystery twice and was still wrong both times. :D I even had what I thought was a major spoiler to help me. I was still wrong! But in the end all the twists and turns made perfect sense, and I was left wondering how I hadn’t seen it all before. Also, this book has a grand total of sixteen point of view characters! I would usually call that a bad thing, but this author somehow made me care (sometimes even love) each character and recognize them by name. ;) A+ for character development!!

I enjoyed the clever clues, the even greater mystery lurking in the shadows, and the quirky cast of characters. Jake Wexler and Theo were my absolute favorites. :D It was really neat to see how, even if there was only one winner to the game, everyone’s lives were brightened and changed by their participation. And I really liked the end. <3 I cried over all the sweetness and (view spoiler)[the emptiness of one character’s life (hide spoiler)].

Just a note that there are some bad attitudes among the children, a bit of slight feminism, and a very theatrically descriptive tall tale about a corpse that is repeated several times during the opening of the book.

Best quote: “I remember the will said, 'May God thy gold refine.' That must be from the Bible."
"Shakespeare," Turtle said. All quotations were either from the Bible or Shakespeare.

Altogether, I very much enjoyed my jaunt into this quirky, brilliant book! ...more
5

Feb 06, 2017

One of the best Newbery books I've read. The characters are super distinctive and Raskin is very witty. An example:

Turtle forgot the rules of the court and hurried to her mother.

"Who did you see, Mom? Who? Who?"

(Terrified by the who's, Madame Hoo slipped away.)

(view spoiler)[Madame Hoo had stolen the other witnesses's valuables to save money for a return trip to China. (hide spoiler)]

5/5 stars.

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