The Mysterious Benedict Society

mbsThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society #1
Publisher: Little, Brown
Number of pages: 456
My copy: paperback, bought from Powerbooks

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

I’ve had The Mysterious Benedict Society in my TBR pile for years, after I bought it when I read reviews about how “smart” this book was. Back then I was still a series completist, so I had to start with the first book and planned to get the rest of the books later on because it was just right, right? But anyway, that didn’t happen, and the book remained in my TBR pile until one day, I decided to pick it up because I wanted something else to read. And I figured it’s about time to get this off there.

An ad in the newspaper appears, looking for smart kids who were willing to go through a series of tests. Out of all who took it, only four children passed: Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. The kids were brought to Mr. Benedict, who tells them of an evil plan that they need to stop and sent them as spies to the Learning Institute of the Very Enlightened, the school where all this evil seems to be coming from. Adventure follows, as well as danger, but there was too much at stake for them to just give up.

They were right. This book was fun and smart, and a lot of it made me think of just how they’d get out of the scrapes they get into. The kids were easy to like, even Constance, who started out so annoying and stubborn but later became endearing just because of those qualities. There was mystery, yes, and as a reader I had to keep on thinking, too, about  just what was happening and how they would ever get out of the messes they got into.

I just think the book was just a tad long. I know all scenes worked out to the ending, but I remember being a bit impatient with this at some point that I was almost skimming. It could just be a case of reader ADD, though, but I can’t deny the relief I felt when I was finally done. To be fair, the ending was pretty heartwarming, and it felt like a reward after reading the length of the book.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is a smart and fun book, and while I was a bit lukewarm about it (Maybe that means I won’t be one of those kids who will take that exam. Or pass it. Heh), I think I’d really like to keep this copy around once my nephew is old enough to read. :)

Rating: 

Favorite dog-eared quotes:

You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.

Other reviews:
Good Books and Good Wine
The Book Gaga

Book Stash – April

I’m sorry for not posting as much as I used to here — truth be told, I’m just having a hard time finishing the books I’ve been reading. Ever since I finished North of Beautiful, I haven’t been feeling much of the other books I have on my to-be-read list. Sure, I’ve got some reading challenges to guide me, but I just wasn’t feeling them that much. Ever had one of those days?

I’ve been browsing around bookstores again ever since Easter, and I found myself not being able to choose books to read. Strange, but it’s also kind of liberating because my wallet is happy. :P I did manage to get some  books from some bookstore visits. Then my dad arrived, and I realized why there’s a subconscious feeling why I’m holding back from buying books: he has my Amazon stash with him. :)

So now I present to you my first book stash post here. I wish I could post this every week, kind of like how other people do, but I don’t really acquire books every week, much less manage to finish reading them on time. So here’s a first (I think), and I can’t say when the next is going to be. :D

Book Stash - AprilIn this picture:

  1. BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker
    I’ve always been a Ted Dekker fan, and I’ve been wanting to buy the trade paperback of this book but it was just too expensive. When I saw this two weeks ago in Fully Booked, I just grabbed it. Here’s to liking this one. :) One day, I’ll do a Dekker bonanza and get all his books and read them. :P
  2. Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco
    I picked this up to add another book in my Project 20:10 Challenge, and Blooey just gave a glowing review on this, and I can’t wait to get started on this. Should be good.
  3. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
    I’ve seen a couple of recommendations on this by Blooey and Myk, and the paperback is quite cheap, too, so I got it from Powerbooks. Looks promising, but it’s another series, so I think I’m going to have to collect this, too.
  4. The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
    I’ve been meaning to get this one ever since I started writing my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel, but of course it’s not available here. When I did my Amazon shopping, this was the first one I got — and I got it for only $5! I’m reading it now and liking it, although I already guessed something from the story the moment the character showed up. :P But’s it’s still good, and I’m glad to have gotten my hands on some good Christian fiction again.
  5. Last Mango in Texas by Ray Blackston
    I’m a big Ray Blackston fan, from his Jay Jarvis series. I was surprised to see that he has new books out, and this was the cheapest I could find. I look forward to laughing with this once again.
  6. Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck
  7. Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck
    For #6 and 7, they seem interesting, and it was on sale, too, so I got it. Good Christian chick lit, how I missed you!
  8. Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself by Mark Steele
    I have actually read this book already, but I had to throw away my copy when Ondoy hit. :( Good thing there was a sale on this, too!
  9. The Guy I’m Not Dating Trish Perry
    Once again, Christian chick lit! It’s very pink, and seems like a good story, so yeah, I threw it in the list. I hope this impulse buy is worth it. :)

Not in picture, but I hope this arrives soon:

  • Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs
    Got Getting this from Booksneeze — I finally caught a fiction release from them! Pays to have them in my RSS reader. Now if only shipping books from where they are to where I am does not take two weeks, I can write their reviews faster. But oh well. Free books are free books, I shouldn’t complain. I hope the book arrives soon, though!

I still have this urge to buy some more books, but right now I’m waiting for some releases to arrive — and some books to lower their prices…or at least, for bookstores to go on sale! I mean, not all books come with low prices like cheap insurance, you know. Which reminds me…can I wait to buy some other books I want until Book Fair? That’s four months away! Hm…Let’s see! ;)