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The mysterious Benedict Society and the prisoner's dilemma

When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, Benedict Society members Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance follow clues on an adventure that threatens to separate them from their families, friends, and even one another. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Roy, Del.
Format: CD
Language: English
Published: Random House/Listening Library, 2009
Edition: Library edition.
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SUMMARY

IF YOU FAIL, ALL IS LOST.
Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other. When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before.
IS THIS THE END OF THE mysterious benedict society?


Review by Booklist Review

Are you a gifted child looking for Special Opportunities? This curious newspaper ad catches the eye of orphan Reynie Muldoon. After taking exams that test both mind and spirit, Reynie is selected along with four other contestants--Sticky Washington, a nervous child with a photographic memory; irrepressible Kate Weatherhill; and a tiny child who lives up to her name, Constance Contraire. The children soon learn they've been chosen by mysterious Mr. Benedict for an important mission: they are to infiltrate the isolated Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, from which messages of distrust and compliance are being broadcast into the minds of the world's citizens. Debut novelist Stewart takes some familiar conventions--among them, an orphan struggling against evil forces (Harry Potter, anyone?)--and makes them his own. But like the Potter books, his story goes beyond mere adventures, delving into serious issues, such as the way sloganeering can undermine society--or control it. Through its interesting characters, the book also tackles personal concerns: abandonment, family, loyalty, and facing one's fears. The novel could have been shortened, but Stewart writes with such attention to the intricacies of plot and personality, his story rarely feels slow; only a significant disclosure about Constance seems forced. Smart kids who like Blue Balliet's books are the natural audience for this; but, read aloud, the novel will attract many others as well. Illustrations to come. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Stewart's (Flood Summer, for adults) first book for young people begins with a bang. Gifted 11-year-old orphan Reynie Muldoon is sharing the newspaper with his tutor when she excitedly points out an ad: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" She encourages him to take the series of tests cited in the ad, and the entire process resembles the otherworldly experience of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with puzzles within puzzles and tests within tests-some mental, some ethical, some physical. Ultimately three children pass the first test and go on to the next: Reynie, Sticky (born George) Washington and Kate Wetherall-all of them essentially orphans. A fourth, the "very, very small" Constance Contraire, joins them later, and Mr. Benedict describes why he has brought them together. Initially, readers-like the four children-may be unsure of what to think about this mysterious gent: Is he hero or villain? Mr. Benedict has recruited them to foil an evil plan, devised by a mysterious "Sender," to brainwash the population via secret messages-delivered by children-embedded in television and radio programs. The plot-driven novel follows many adventures among the four, whose unique talents all come into play; readers will likely warm to each of them. A couple of concluding twists involving Kate and Connie may throw readers a bit, but these do not detract from the book's entertainment value or from the author's sound overall structure. Though the book is lengthy, readers will likely enjoy getting lost in this fully imagined realm. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-A newspaper ad reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Many youngsters respond but only four are chosen, among them 11-year-old Reynie Muldoon who can't figure out what he has in common with his three companions. Talkative Kate carries around a bucket filled with odds and ends and can wiggle her way into or out of any situation. Sticky is a voracious reader who remembers everything. Tiny Constance is smart as a whip but cranky and stubborn. The one thing they have in common is they are all without parentsAeither by circumstance or by choice. When kindly Mr. Benedict recruits the youngsters to go undercover on a dangerous mission, they are confident that they are up to the challenge. Their goal is to infiltrate the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, a school for gifted children, whose founder is sending hidden messages and hypnotizing the world population to bend to his wishes. Alone, each child is helpless, but as a team, they manage to overcome evil and save the day. First-time novelist Trenton Lee Stewart has infused his novel (Little Brown, 2007) with strong characters and an exciting plot. Del Roy's husky, grandfatherly voice works perfectly with the third person narration. Although the story is long, each short chapter ends in an exciting cliff-hanger that is sure to keep kids listening. Count on this clever, well-written title to make an appearance on both state reading lists and best books lists.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Trenton Lee Stewart was born in 1970. He graduated from the Iowa Writer's Workshop and wrote the adult novel "Flood Summer" in 2005. He has since become a children's novelist with the three part series - "The Mysterious Benedict Society" - which includes "The Perilous Journey" and "The Prisoner's Dilemma." He also teaches creative writing.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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