The Westing Game
Ellen Raskin, 1978
Mystery, Middle grade: ages 8-12
Rating: 👻👻👻👻 (4 out of 4 boos)
“A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!”
What’s the main character like?
Raskin masterfully weaves in and out of different perspectives, somehow never giving too much away even though we get to hear so many different thoughts surrounding the big mystery. Nonetheless, Turtle Wexler stands out as the main character. She’s a school-aged girl who uses Westing’s final game to expand her intelligence, grow closer to her sister, and form a lasting friendship with her partner in the game. In a lot of ways, the book serves as a coming-of-age story for Turtle, and she is a very enjoyable character.
How scary is it?
The Westing Game is clever, fun, and mysterious, but certainly not scary.
Who might like this book?
I thought of Clue immediately. Yes, the game in general, but mostly the comical film that I watched over and over as a kid. Readers who like complex mysteries and stories with multiple POVs will love this book.
What did I like best?
I love the character Chris. As a boy who’s confined to a wheelchair, he has some physical limitations, but this does not affect his mind. Nonetheless, some characters treat him like he’s mentally not there, and it’s a joy to see what’s ticking behind his inability to always communicate things.
What was not so great?
Some readers might take issue with Raskin’s rapid point-of-view changes. She doesn’t always even indicate who’s thinking what. But she has given each a character such a unique voice that this never tripped me up and made me feel more involved in the story.