Riddles & Gifted Children

Riddles & Gifted Children

The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart

Genre: YA Mystery
Published: March 7th, 2007
by Little, Brown Books





When a peculiar advertisement appears in the newspaper, children everywhere sit a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. In the end, however, just four children succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children can complete.

They must go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened where the only rule is that there are no rules. There they must work as a team to save not only themselves, but also the world outside the walls.


The Mysterious Benedict Society is an absolute delight to read. Filled with clever riddles, twists, and memorable characters, you won’t be able to resist following Stewart’s characters as they crack codes and go on secret missions.

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

It’s this very news article that attracts children from across the country to come take a series of intricate test. But in the end, it’s only four children who succeed – Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall and Constance Contraire. They are sent to study undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where they must stop an evil doctor before he brainwashes the world.

The cast of characters Stewart creates are unforgettable. You have Reynie, who has a keen eye for spotting puzzles and patterns; Sticky, who has a photographic memory for anything he’s ever read; Kate, whose athletic ability is something to be reckoned with; and Constance, who’s stubborn and moody. Each of these children have different types of intelligence and contribute something equally important to the success of the mission. Each of Stewart’s characters are apt in characterization and have wonderful backstories, something I thoroughly appreciated.

The most intriguing part of the book, however, are the wonderful puzzles. There are puzzles and riddles galore to solve throughout the course of the book, and adults and children alike will find themselves aptly interested in solving these puzzles alongside them and seeing if they answer them correctly.

I cannot recommend this enough; especially if you like solving puzzles and unforgettable characters. If you found yourself engrossed in The Westing Game or The Name of this Book is Secret, I can almost assure you this will be a hit as well.


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