Hi y’all! Today I am back with my final review of an unintentional trilogy of Newbery winner reviews this past week. At the end of 2018, I read several Newbery winners to finish my reading year.
Today I am reviewing The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. This is the last book I read in 2018 and I’m excited to review it today! I read this book for the first time when I was about 14 and I remember loving it as a middle school student. When I decided to reread it last year, I thought I would remember a good portion of it. But this mostly felt like a new read to me as the twists and turns of the mystery unfolded.
- This is a murder mystery. And I must admit I haven’t read many of them! The majority of my murder mystery experience comes from watching a few episodes of Midsommer Murders with my grandma and helping my sister with her murder mystery birthday party a few weeks ago. So this was fun to step outside my usual genre especially because it was a Newbery winner. I love how diverse the winners are!
- There are several very different covers for this novel. I prefer the one below because the copy I got at the library was a bit more intense than I thought necessary. Yes, this is a murder mystery but we don’t actually see any murders (which I appreciated as this technically for kids).
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is murder mystery with more twists than anyone expects. According to Goodreads:” 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, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!”
I have never read anything quick like this murder mystery. And to be fair, I must also admit I haven’t read many murder mysteries. It’s not one of my usual genres. But I enjoyed this one. The details seem to come together as the plot continues–I’m not sure even Raskin knew how it would end when she started. I was fascinated by the twists and turns–the complex way the clues connect and how they lead the heirs to the answer.
This novel is easy to get lost in so read it slowly (or at least give it your full attention). The plot is so detailed and quick paced. Several times I had to reread several pages or go back to confirm a single detail that became important later. I enjoyed the fast paced nature of this novel and the ways the different characters interact and put together the clues. Those characteristics made the novel enjoyable to read. Plus, I easily got to the point where I wanted to forgo all my other responsibilities to find out how it ends. Novels like that are fun.
The characters make the whole story more engaging. They are each different with their own agendas, personalities, and relationships with others. They have different backgrounds and goals in their lives. It was fascinating (and sometimes pretty funny) to see them interact with each other. There are a lot of them! It’s a bit hard at first to keep at the heirs in order but it got easier as I went along. I think Chris, Mr Hoo, and Turtle were my favorites.
This is definitely a novel for at least older middle grade readers. I think the plethora of details would be too hard for younger readers to follow. Plus it is based on a murder which calls for some heavier subject matter (no intense violence, but some homemade bombs, scary experiences in a somewhat haunted house, and the whole who is the murderer plot). That being said, I don’t think there is an obvious age limit for readers of this novel. Sometimes, I feel out of place reading middle grade or children’s fiction as an adult. Not the case here. This novel is engaging for readers of many ages and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys an intricate mystery.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as I had hoped and I didn’t feel as much closure as I had hoped. It felt like it was building to something amazing and it just left out some of the final details for me. However, I think it’s a well deserved Newbery Winner!
Do you enjoy murder mysteries?
Which are your favorites?
I read this Newbery Medal winner as a part of my Newbery Challenge.
I plan to read all 100 Newbery Medal winners by the end of 2022, the year the 100th winner is announced.