If, as a kid, you saw this peculiar ad in a newspaper, what would you do? Would you be one of the many curious children who enroll to take part in a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests?
What intrigued me the most was how cleverly written I thought this book was. Rather than moseying my way along slowly, I ate this book up pretty quickly. To me, it felt strongly reminiscent of The Series of Unfortunate Events, which was one of my favorite series as a child and one of my original inspirations to be a bigger reader and writer. There was something about The Mysterious Benedict Society that felt similar to Lemony Snicket’s storytelling and it made me feel like a kid again, bookworming my way through a good tale.
Written by Trenton Lee Stewart, this book tells of four children who pass the test that I mentioned at the beginning. Yet, the test is written with multiple ways to answer the questions correctly and each child passes in their own unique way. Together, they form the Mysterious Benedict Society and are sent on a mission to investigate a facility called L.I.V.E. (the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened), run by the evil mastermind Ledroptha Curtain. Here Curtain has been transmitting messages into the public’s mind through technology. Each child has strengths and weaknesses and they need to learn how to work together, during good moments and when they’re at their most irritable, to stop Curtain from ruining the world.
This story was written with a young audience in mind (ages 8-13) but it is told well enough to make for a fun read no matter how old you are. It deals with deep subjects, such as abandonment, loyalty and facing fears. It also gives a message of individuality – that each person is smart with unique talents and gifts and you can make a difference in the world.
If you’re looking for an adventure, why not give The Mysterious Benedict Society a try?