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The Mysterious Benedict Society

(The Mysterious Benedict Society #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  112,225 ratings  ·  9,660 reviews
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is - there are no rules.
Kindle Edition, 497 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published February 20th 2007)
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John Bell I got this book recommended by my librarian in 3rd grade but I never started it probably because it was to hard to read but I finished it easy in 4th…moreI got this book recommended by my librarian in 3rd grade but I never started it probably because it was to hard to read but I finished it easy in 4th grade and I loved it. I'm going Into 5th grade this year and I am hoping to finish the sires once I'm back in the library again.(less)
Ari Sharks Totally how it is supposed to be. That is part writing style and part something you will learn in the later books if I remember correctly. (I read…moreTotally how it is supposed to be. That is part writing style and part something you will learn in the later books if I remember correctly. (I read these books a few years ago!)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  112,225 ratings  ·  9,660 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I’m coming late to the party, since a lot of readers have already discovered this series, but I enjoyed it very much -- great cast of characters, lots of cool puzzles and mysteries. The book made me feel nostalgic, because it reminded me of some of the better children’s books I grew up with, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Phantom Tollbooth. Stewart’s storytelling has an old-fashioned elegance to it, and yes, I mean that in the best possible way! The second book in the ...more
Please read the following sentence as if I am singing it, joyfully:


Also, I hope you mentally gave me a beautiful singing voice. I’m not saying I have one but I am saying that’s the polite thing to do.

Anyway: THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. I love it so much oh my god. Unless you are new here (in which case, welcome and you have made a grave mistake), you know how I feel about middle grade. How I feel about middle grade is this: I LOV
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do librarians decide what children's book they want to read next? Well, there are professional reviews, online reviews, and good old-fashioned word of mouth. And when it came to "The Mysterious Benedict Society", I picked up this 486-page tome, turned it about, and then needed a quickie confirmation from somebody as to whether or not I should shell out a significant portion of time to read this puppy. As it happened, a librarian I knew and trusted assured me that it wasn't all that good and ...more
I appreciated this book at 500 pages, but would've been REALLY fond of it at only 250. Remove some plod-along-ploddy sections and tighten up a few narrative side tracks and I think you have yourself a big winner for both YA's and those YA at heart.

Ignoring the size for a moment (yes, yes, it matters and we will return to it)...this is charming, smart, well-written story that had me thinking Dickens for Kids based on its engaging yet restrained prose style. It has that cozy feel of well-mannered prim and properness.

Four children,
may ➹
I don’t think I will ever be able to properly rate or review this series because of all the sweet nostalgia surrounding it, but there’s something so beautiful and relieving about reading a childhood favorite and loving it just as much as you did back then

// buddy read with the one who can’t blush
Gregory Baird
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events
"The Mysterious Benedict Society" owes a large debt to Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. It is written in the same Dickens-meets-Roald-Dahl style (although it does emphasize Dahl's whimsy over Dickens' occasional bleakness). It features an oddball cast with a broad spectrum of eccentricities and unique physical features. The plot even centers around a group of kids from orphanages attempting to foil the dastardly plans of a villain who seeks to exploit them in his mad quest for domi ...more
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a treat this book was to read! I thoroughly enjoyed it -- the kids were great, the villain and his heinous plot were quite terrifying, and the plot clipped right along. My one small reservation is that somehow I find I am in no rush to read the sequel -- yet this might have simply to do with the fact that the story did clearly end (unlike, say, THE HUNGER GAMES). But basically, I'd recommend MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY to anyone. I plan to give my copy to a bright 11-year old girl I know.
Sarah Grace Grzy
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 13+
4.5 stars!

JUST WOW! What on earth did I just read!?

This was a crazy fun wild ride from beginning to end! I wish I had known about these books growing up, and will now definitely hand them off to my younger siblings.

I'm rather sick of the trite, cliche, dumbed-down, and weak junior fiction novels that line the shelves these days. I have very few favorites in that genre because there is just so little good in it. But this is one that I've added to my list of favorites! Unique, deep,
What a delightful story! It was very difficult to choose a shelf for this book - it's not truly fantasy, but its not just adventure or mystery either. Perhaps a little Sci-Fi more than fantasy? Well, anyway, it was a wonderful book about four children who agree to help save the world. It sounds a little over-done, I know, but it’s really quite sweet and charming. Well-written and with loveable characters and a kindness throughout the book I was enthralled from the first page.
The book isn’t incr
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-lit
This is by far the best YA novel that I have read since the Harry Potter books. Characters are great, thoughtful and like nothing I have read before. Even though this book is almost 500 pages long, I have been reading it aloud to my class and they are loving it! Every day I come into class they are asking if we get to read it for the day. I can't wait to get the second one.

Kate Willis
I had vaguely registered my friends’ glowing reviews of this book, but since it had been compared to something I don’t care to read, I always passed it by at the library. Until I found a copy at the thriftstore and decided that maybe now was the time to give it a try. ;)


It kinda blew me away with its funness and smartness and cleanness and deepness. <3 It actually reminded me a lot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Wingfeather Saga in that regard.

I LOVED the quirky
I had so much fun reading this clever story! I wasn’t prepared for the amount of suspense in it and I read it in a total of five hours, barely putting it down for necessary tasks. This group is so fun to be around and this definitely isn’t a book just for kids. Squeaky clean; highly recommended.
George Jankovic
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book!

I loved the puzzles and the mysteries. I loved the friendship. I loved the suspense. And I adored the three of the four main characters. I expected more from Costance until she stunned me.

Most of the time, I found myself worried that something bad would happen to these wonderful characters: Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance. And I felt so sad for the guys like Milligain.

I couldn't stop reading it. I kept reading as fast as ever to see what would happen next.

Five stars.
[Shai] Bibliophage
It's almost a month since I've started reading this book. Usually, I could finish a thick book like this within a week or just several days. However, I got bored in the first part because of the slow pacing of the story; I only got hooked on the story from the second half part till the end.

There are at least 4 other books in this series but I'm not sure I will spare time to read them. This first book is like a preview for me if the rest in the series is good or not and I'm a little disappointed
DNF at 37%. This book wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either for someone older then 12. The book seemed too long for a kids book. I never got back to this book and I didn't really care to over the last few months. Maybe I'll pick it up again one day.
Feb 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-mystery
In the Mysterious Benedict Society, four children with four different problem solving skill sets come together to solve a mystery. Those four children consist of the reader, who has the amazing ability to memorize things; the engineer, who has the amazing ability to create anything to solve the task at hand from materials she carries with her; the baby, whose chief attribute is to be unpredictable and not listen to the rules much less follow them; and the professional puzzle solver, who looks at ...more
This was SO GOOD AHHH small child me would have adored it. Big me just hummed along ('cause big me actually knew about the Azerbaijan dispute and the common vetch. ;) ) I loved solving the puzzles before the kids got to them, though it DID take me a ridiculously long time to get Mr. Benedict's first name. I, being the child who memorized entire textbooks on code, learned Ojibway and two other code languages to chat with friends, and wrote entire journals crammed full of codes I have now forgotte ...more
Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are four very gifted children with a mission. They call themselves The Mysterious Benedict Society and together they have to infiltrate the nefarious Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened - a psuedo-school run by the evil Mr. Curtain. It's up to these four disimilar and intrepid kids to save the world and of course they are completely up to the task.

I thnk this book will have broad appeal to under-12s. The length of the book threw me off - it
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trenton Lee Stewart seems unafraid to pick up a few children’s lit archetypes: four remarkable and lovable children (albeit one slightly less lovable than the others), missing parental figures, the kind male guardian, the boarding house/ evil school scenario, and themes of mind control and world domination. But within the archetypes, Stewart creates his own brand of magic. One becomes fond of Reynie Muldoon’s human perception, Sticky Washington’s nervous glasses cleaning habit, Constance Contrai ...more
In short, The Mysterious Benedict Society was fantastic. Delightful. Whimsical. It starts off with a series of tests- or puzzles, whichever you prefer. But there’s only a few children who will pass the tests, and those children will be chosen for a dangerous task which basically involves saving the world and all that cool stuff.

It starts off as the children are taken to the home of a man named Mr. Benedict, who essentially preps them for the task ahead (saving the world XD). Then, the children are sen
I'VE FINISHED THE BOOK: My initial impressions (and review comments) were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. I admit that the second half of the book did not quite live up to my hopes/expectations but I'd still give the book four stars overall (five stars for the beginning--see comments below). I felt that the second half of the story (once the children officially embark on their mission and become The Mysterious Benedict Society) was not as captivating, mainly because I found a great deal of the char ...more
I may have long ago aged out of the Middle Grade book market, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for their stories. The Mysterious Benedict Society was loved and recommended to me by multiple Goodreads friends, so I’d been curious about it for a long time before I thought to check and see if it might be on audio so I could read it sooner than I otherwise might have been able to.

I was pleased to discover that the hype was real and I enjoyed this story very much. Along wi
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What's wrong with this statement?" -The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society is probably the best Holiday-read ever! It's a combination of the Harry Potter adventures and The Series of Unfortunate Events! Specifically, I felt that the mystery which made this book an ultimate page-turner is very similar to the Harry Potter series and the characters are akin to The Series of Unfortunate Events, especially Mr Benedict, who reminds me of Lemony Snicket's Uncle Monty.

Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: puzzle lovers
Four brilliant orphans are recruited by a Mr. Benedict, who needs their help to discover who is behind a plot to rule the world. The best thing about this book are the logic puzzles the kids have to solve to get invited into the Benedict Society - readers can figure out solutions at the same time the characters do. I really found myself rooting for those plucky orphans, each with their own unique personalities and skills. Go orphans! Save the world!
Feral goblin child &#x1f343;
Wise, quirky, unique, and deep: such a childhood favorite which still lingering with me ❤❤❤ ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This isn't a bad read for the YA market. The premius is one that I liked but I wonder if kids can follow it (any more). Yes I know...I sound condescending, sorry. The book's protagonists are gifted kids who aren't really interested in TV and think for, if only. They love "truth" (that has become a somewhat flexable word of late).

All kidding aside a nice book. Books where the "outsider" kids are the heroes (like this one)are much more common now. I suppose some of that might be
Abigayle Claire
Clever, creative, witty, unconventional with an original plot and engaging characters. Very entertaining for a middle-grade book. It's style came closest to Lemony Snicket, except perhaps more child-friendly.
Cori Reed
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so much fun!
Andrea Cox
The hype is real, y’all! This is perhaps the most intriguing, unique, and creative children’s adventure book I’ve ever read. I’m nearly thirty-two, and I was quite entertained throughout, so I think this book would be a wonderful one for the whole family. It’s super clean too, which makes it easy to read aloud; there’s nothing to worry about filtering out for sensitive ears of any age. I’m eager to track down copies of the rest of the series’ books.
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Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series for young readers; The Secret Keepers, also for young readers; and the adult novel Flood Summer. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Letters to the author may be sent to:

Trenton Lee Stewart
PO Box 251358
Little Rock, AR 72205

Other books in the series

The Mysterious Benedict Society (4 books)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages
“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.” 1371 likes
“Rules and school are tools for fools! I don't give two mules for rules.” 244 likes
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