Then, one day, while I was strolling through the library, I came upon a book that had an interesting drawing as the cover. I happen to judge this book by its cover, which I normally never do, and decided to check it out. On the front, there was a sketch of a rickety looking mansion, with a massive spiral staircase outside and an uninviting looking fence. It seems mysterious and interesting, but not spooky. The book was The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The book begins with an orphan named Reynie Muldoon responding to a newspaper ad asking for “gifted children looking for special opportunities.” After responding to the ad and undergoing a series of strange mental and physical tests, Reynie is chosen along with three other children to become the Mysterious Benedict Society. The children take on the daunting task of traveling to an isolated island called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where they must prevent a very intelligent criminal mastermind from going forth with his plans. The story contains a very fast paced account of their adventure, and kept me on my seat. Booklist had an interesting comment to say about the story as well:
“Debut novelist Stewart takes some familiar conventions–among them, an orphan struggling against evil forces (Harry Potter, anyone?)–and makes them his own. But like the Potter books, his story goes beyond mere adventures, delving into serious issues, such as the way sloganeering can undermine society–or control it. Through its interesting characters, the book also tackles personal concerns: abandonment, family, loyalty, and facing one’s fears.”
I highly recommend the story, which can be bought on amazon.com here. And, of course, if you can’t get enough of the Mysterious Benedict Society, their adventure continues on the newly released sequel, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. That sequel can also be found on amazon.com here. Happy Reading everyone!