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Monday, July 29, 2013

YA Book Club Chat: The Westing Game

I knew I liked this book. I just knew it, even though I didn’t have the slightest idea why. Well, thanks to you lovely lovelies who chose The Westing Game for our July novel, I remember.

In her dedication, Ellen Raskin says Jenny asked for a puzzle-mystery, and that’s exactly what she got. The Westing Game isn’t so much about solving a murder, though that’s part of it, but about putting together a puzzle that will, once complete, hold the key to the mystery. And, well, that aspect of the book is extremely fun. I say this as a person without patience for puzzles.

Part of what I enjoyed so much wasn’t guessing who the murderer was (because of course after all these years I forgot), but in piecing together the riddles—trying to figure out the how of it all.

The other part of what made The Westing Game so incredibly fun: Many of the 16 characters wrapped up in Sam Westing’s game are unlikeable, but Raskin spends time humanizing most of them. The interactions between characters were sometimes sweet, sometimes hilarious as personality types clashed.

I might have liked for the story to end with the “A Happy Fourth” chapter, not really needing information on what happened five years down the line. The last chapter was touching, though, so I’m mostly on the fence.

No matter. Regardless of the extended ending, The Westing Game is a fun, twisty puzzle that I love just as much now as I did as a kid—definitely worth a re-read.
Later this week, we’ll be picking the August book, which will be a YA beach read. Get your suggestions ready!

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