Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
What it’s about: A strange advert appears in the newspaper, inviting special and gifted children to take part in a series of intelligence tests. The reward? To be part of a special, undercover task force sent to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened on an extremely important mission on behalf of Mr Benedict. Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance are the chosen ones and it soon becomes clear why quick thinking and bravery are vital, especially when they come up against the bizarre Mr Curtain.
Holly’s review: Sometimes it’s not easy to get into a story at the very beginning and you have to take your time with it. But with this I liked it from the start. I like mysteries and the book got really exciting – I couldn’t stop reading it! All of the characters are interesting and funny and have different personalities although they are all brave. My favourite was Constance Contraire as she had this incredible stubborness and was so funny! I would warn younger readers to be careful though and not read it on their own. I did in bed at night after my parents turned the light out and I was scared! The only thing I would say is that the author didn’t need to write so many ‘For crying out loud!’s and ‘Good grief!’s.
Sam’s review: I’d ordered this from the library for Holly to read as it had been recommended on amazon on the basis of previous purchases. Holly loves mysteries and action adventures, and had previously enjoyed Nancy Drew, The Famous Five and Harry Potter, all of which have similarities with this book. It was a real relief that she’d enjoyed it! In fact, she liked it so much that my husband and I can’t comment very much on the book as she always had her nose in it and we lost track of the plot! And despite the official line of ‘you’re not supposed to read after lights-out’, it was encouraging that she just didn’t want to put it down. From the parts that I did read, the book was exciting and the characters engaging – all suitably different from one another to appeal to a wide range of children. Stewart contains the element of ‘peril’ well too – Holly was excited reading this but certainly not terrified. We’ve already ordered the second title – The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey – from the library.