The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart Release Date: April 1, 2008 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers YA fiction – middle grades Book #1 of the Mysterious Benedict Society series Number of Pages: 477 Kindle edition Source: borrowed from MCL Rating: PG Read 8/28/16 to 9/8/16
I had to pause and make sure I was judging this book as it’s meant to be judged…as a middle-grade book. I want to be fair to the author and future readers. I believe I was able to do that. I actually quite enjoy middle-grade fiction and I did like this book, it was just a bit slow in some parts.
Let’s face it, almost 500 pages is a lot. Most of the Harry Potter books aren’t even that long! I have no problem with a book being long if the story is long. I didn’t feel that was the case here. There were some points that plodded along a bit to slowly.
Obviously there were good things with this book since I still give it 3 stars even though it’s so long. I really loved all of the main characters and their unique personalities. I love that most children that read this book will be able to somewhat identify with at least one of them. I also appreciated how much Mr. Benedict stressed the importance of children. I think this would be a wonderful story for kids who don’t feel like they fit in to any one group.
Another thing I enjoyed was the play on names, puns, hidden meanings, etc. It was a lot of fun to try to figure out what someone’s name may (or may not) mean. Or try to figure out the Morse code messages before the children did. On top of that, it will cause the kids reading the story to have to think a bit and that’s a good thing. One of my favorite things about this book was toward the end, when the reader finds out Constance’s secret. I’m not usually totally in the dark about things when reading, but that came out of left field and made me laugh.
As a mom, if my kids were younger I’d definitely recommend this story. My oldest is 22 and has always loved to read. I know when he was 11 he would have loved this book and may even enjoy it now. My youngest, 18, has never had an easy time reading and the size of this book would scare him off before he even read the synopsis on the back.
I would like to say I’m going to continue this series because, no matter the length and bits of tedium, I did like the story overall. I’m just not sure though. The next book is over 400 pages. I may have to take a break before picking the next one up.