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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

cover of The Westing Game

A fun mystery. Begins with a new apartment building opening, and invitations to live there being sent to only a few specific people. Who all get to know each other fairly well over the next few months. Because, you see, there is a murder. Not just any murder -- but one with sixteen 'heirs', all of whom happen to live in this new apartment building. The will is a series of clues and rules for them as they set about to solve the mystery and figure out who is the murderer and win the inheritance. And also for the reader to discover the truth, of course!

At the reading of the will, every heir is placed into a pair. Which turn out to be very intentional. Through this pairing, each person gets something they would not have known to ask for. One man is paired with a woman who speaks Chinese and only a few phrases in English. They don't really care about winning, but they do enjoy getting to know one another as he teaches her English and they value one another as people. The most popular young woman is paired with the most unpopular woman, and they also learn to value one another and become friends - which neither of them would have suspected or pursued without this impetus.

Turtle Wexler is one of the main characters. She is the youngest daughter of a mother who does not favor her and often ignores her. But Turtle is smart and curious and wants to be listened to and loved for who she is. She is paired with an older woman, Flora Baumbach, who lost a daughter and wants someone to love. as Flora listens to Turtle and values her, both become more themselves and more confident in who they are, which is exciting to read about. Of course this fireball of a character turns out to be a lot like Mr. Westing, who was murdered. She figures out the puzzle and nobody else does. (It's a young adult novel! It's okay if it's not always logical..) Sad that at the end everyone is happy and gets to do what they wanted to without many problems. Not like real life at all, even though it's nice to read about.

Title:The Westing Game
Author:Ellen Raskin
Date published:1978
Genre:Young Adult
Number of pages:185
Notes: Repeat reading, read outloud with parents


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