Monday, 29 July 2013

YA Book Club: The Westing Game

{Created by the lovely Tracey Neithercott--click here for more!}

We're back with a summer reading edition of YA Book Club! This month's book was THE WESTING GAME, which I had never heard of before this.

But I'm so glad this was the winner for July, because I never would have read it otherwise and I would have missed out on an excellent story!

From Goodreads:

When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will...and what a will it is!

Well...that's informative. But THE WESTING GAME is one of those stories where the less is said, the better. Because it's tricksy and twisty and so, so fun.

But I will say this: the story revolves around sixteen residents of Sunset Towers who have been tasked with discovering who killed Sam Westing. That's what he tells them in his will--and also, that the murderer is among them.

Cue the unraveling of mysterious clues, teamwork and backstabbing, cheating and spying and lying and so much witty humour. Seriously, I laughed so many times during this book, mostly at Turtle.

Which brings me to the characters! First off, there are a lot of them, and it did leave me confused at the beginning. We have Turtle, and Turtle's sister Angela, and Angela's fiancé, and the restaurant owners, coffee shop owners, delivery boy, took a while for me to get them all straight in my head, and to be honest I probably couldn't tell you every single one now. My favourites were definitely Turtle, a whip-smart and sharp-tongued girl, and her older sister who had a lot of problems going on aside from having to figure out this murder thing. I also really liked Judge Ford: a black, female judge, as an important character and not just tokenism? In a book that came out in 1979? Seriously, if people could do it then, why can't we do it now?! Anyway, before I get on that soapbox, I'll just say again how much I loved that.

Mostly I just loved how clever the story was. It was one of those books where I had to keep reading because I honestly couldn't figure out how everything was going to come together in the end. But come together it did, in an awesome way. In parts it really reminded me of the Lemony Snicket series; it had the same type of twisty mystery aspect, but a touch lighter than those books. I wouldn't be surprised if they were inspired partly by TWG, actually.

Overall, I found this a really enjoyable and fast read. I don't think the humour will work for everyone, and some people who are better at mysteries than me might see how everything's going to unfold way earlier than me (not hard, since I genuinely never knew what was coming next). If you like clever plots populated by unique and memorable characters, then I'd definitely recommend this book to you. Yay for summer reading!

Hop on over to Tracey's blog to check out everyone else's reviews :)


  1. Oooh...interesting comparison to the Lemony Snicket books. I haven't read those, but I keep meaning to. Now I'm even more intrigued because I loved the twisty, tricky nature of The Westing Game.

    On an unrelated note, looking at your blog always makes me want to buy nail polish or lip gloss.

  2. Totally agree-- I loved the mystery (and I did not figure it out at all)! At first I couldn't tell all of those characters apart-- there were too many to keep straight in my head--- but eventually as they got more fleshed out they became real to me. I have not read Lemony Snicket-- but I should, because I love a good twisty mystery.

  3. I really enjoyed the mystery in the story, though I was not at all able to figure it out. When the reveal came, I was definitely satisfied, especially since all of the clues were there all along. Love that! And Turtle was so much fun. I think I probably would have enjoyed this book a little more if I hadn't been reading three other books at the same time. I will admit to having divided attention. ;-)

    Great review, Rebecca! :-)

  4. Hah, I laughed at the Goodreads description when I saw it, too. I kept looking around the page, thinking I was missing the rest.

    I read the entire book in one sitting b/c I'd read it years ago and thought I'd eventually remember whodunnit. I didn't. But that probably made it more fun.

  5. "Clever" is the perfect word to describe this story. The characterizations and the plotting are both so smart and unique -- I think they're why THE WESTING GAME had endured the test of time. I wouldn't have read this one had it not been chosen for Book Club either, Rebecca, but I'm glad I did. It's a different sort of book for me, and I had a lot of fun watching the mystery unfold.