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The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,362 ratings  ·  298 reviews

Amedeo Kaplan dreams of discovering something -- some treasure no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would like to discover a true friend to share this with.

Improbably, he finds the friend in aloof, edgy William Wilcox. And even more improbably, he finds his treasure among the memorabilia in the house of his eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender. But
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 2007)
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3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,362 ratings  ·  298 reviews

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This is such an interesting read. This is a mystery about art. It happens to be modern art from the time period of Nazi Germany. It is a very mature middle grade read. I mean, this is something that as an adult I enjoyed as an adult. There happened to be young characters in the story.

I know as a child, I would have loved reading this as I liked books that were mature and smart. Amedeo is a very smart kid who grew up knowing art. This book discusses art and how to think about it. It taught me qu
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults who already like the author's work
A question was posed recently on the Horn Book blog run by Roger Sutton about what it would be like if reviewers never knew the names of the authors of the books they read and critique. It's an interesting idea. No human being is a blank slate, after all. You can't help but acquire little prejudices and preconceptions as you become more and more familiar with a writer's work. Sometimes you, the reviewer, are going to have to face facts about one author or another; You're just not that big a fan ...more
Timothy Power
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since reading this book, I've discovered that many readers (and even some librarians) feel the subject matter is too mature for middle grade. When I was a reader of twelve years old or so, I was absolutely thrilled to discover a nugget or two of "adult" sophistication in books for kids, and I felt that was the case here. There are just a few racy moments that would raise an adult eyebrow or two (and thrill a reader nearing his or her teens). Part of the controversy about the "appropriateness" of ...more
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed reactions to this book. Like other books which I have read by E.L. Konigsburg, this book is quirky, interesting, and well written. But it has older, more disturbing themes like the way people use other people, and elements such as homosexuality and Nazi persecution. Other themes are rather esoteric for children--opera and modern art. A piece of art which is central to the story is a nude drawing. There is also some language and sexual innuendo. None of it is explicit, but I found it ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is linked to "The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place" which is linked to "Silent to the Bone". I love these 3 books. They are not a series but characters are linked through each book. This is the last one, Silent to the Bone being the first. Last night was family movie night...we watched The Monument's Men. I have been dying to see this movie, I read the book. I have not had much time to finish this book. It just happened that the movie and finishing the book collided. It was amazing how th ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hm. I am normally a huge fan of E.L. Konigsburg but frankly, I'm mystified by this book. First of all, I do not think it should have been labeled or sold as a Children's or Juvenile book. It seems much more Young Adult. I work extensively with young kids, and I don't know any, never mind two, that act like the sixth graders in this book. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I'm just mystified by the whole thing, and I hate that feeling.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just reread From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (which I originally discovered in 4th or 5th grade), I was struck by the similarities between it and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World (wow, Konigsburg's titles are quite a mouthful!). Written 40 years apart, both books vividly recreate the environments (New York City & Florida) where the author was living when she wrote them. In both stories, an elderly woman's treasure plays a key part in a young person's life. B ...more
I always somehow manage to forget how incredible E.L Konigsburg's writing is until I'm reaching to shelve one of her books and flip through it "just to see which one this is" and then end up reading a chapter and a half before I've realised. She has an unmatched way with words and I adore it.
Heather Laskos
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I book was really good. Two seemingly unrelated story lines weave together to show us how we are all connected.
Amedeo has moved to a new town as he begins to make friends he finds there is a mystery that connects him not only to his Godfather's family, but can be traced back to Nazi Germany.
Penny Landon
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember loving Konigsburg's book A View From Saturday when I first read it in elementary school, so the minute I saw this in a used bookstore I had to give it a read. I was actually shocked by how much I loved this book and how quickly I read it. The first comment that I have to say about this book is that I feel that the audience for this should definitely be older. I'd like to think that if I had read this in elementary or even middle school it would not have made much sense nor would it ha ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I had read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was young and had neither a close library or internet access for library searches. So, I didn't read any more of her books for years. At some point I picked up The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place and really enjoyed it as well, but somehow didn't pick up on the fact that it was the same author. Today I read this book and put it all together, especially as it had a reference to and characters from The Outcasts of ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-- it's still a favorite. But, I haven't been a huge fan of Konigsburg's more recent books. I really, really didn't like Silent to the Bone, and was pretty iffy about The View From Saturday. But at least, with those books, my objections had mostly to do with the story... which didn't really work for me in either case. This novel, however, just felt sloppy... There were lots of bits that didn't fit together, and moments that wer ...more
Alina Borger
I loved this book.

For the writing.

And that is a rare and wonderful thing.

Unconventional similes dot the pages. I first noticed it when “William raised his shoulder slowly and tilted his head slightly like a conversational semicolon before continuing.” But they're everywhere.

Little gems of wisdom pop up in unexpected places, and so are saved from being trite. I especially loved this one: "Friendship is a combination of art and craft. The craft part is in knowing how to give and how to take. The a
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I admire Konigsburg's writing and plotting, and her willingness to attack unlikely and even uncomfortable issues, but perhaps she's attempted too much with this book.

The art mystery here is intriguing (and much better than that from Chasing Vermeer), and Konigsburg does a wonderful job bringing together the storylines from many different directions. The idea of art stolen by Nazis and recently being rediscovered seems very topical. However, I felt that bringing together two families, from two di
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A coming of age novel about friendship, trust, history, art history, and relationships. I adored Mixed-Up Files and found this book to be more complex. I appreciate that. Some reviewers knocked off stars in their ratings due to content dealing with homosexuality and Nazism and didn't think it was appropriate for middle grade readers. The beauty of YA lit is that topics such as these are a good way to start conversations with your child. I love YA novels and art history so this book was a delight ...more
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
So, this turned out to be a really great book. When it first started, I was like, where is this one going, but it picked up speed and wrapped up nicely.

Take two kids helping to clean out an old opera singer's estate (while she's still around), mix it with a museum curator organizing a showing of art banned by Hitler, and throw it all it the blender. Mix well. Yields a good result. Surprisingly tasty.
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love From the Mixed... But This Book was NOT for a childrens section of a library. Homosexuality, sexual innuendo, abuse is mentioned briefly. I am sorry to those who hold other views, and I DO NOT agree with what the Nazi's did, but I'm with Carrie Prejean. Marriege and bf/gr are the way to go.
Changing the subject from a book: Is anyone else on goodreads doing NaNoWriMo?!??!? If so please reply!!!
Libby Ames
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World combines the technicalities of estate liquidation with the history of Hitler's "Degenerate Art" and his practice of stealing and banning modern art. It is an interesting premise with intriguing jumps between present and future. I was interested in the history of Nazi confiscated art, but I felt the story was rather jumpy and just raced together at the end. Again my problem might be late night reading, but I wasn't as impressed as I hoped to be.
Elizabeth Andrew
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Konigsburg is a master. I appreciate how she plunges kids into serious characters encountering the serious forces of history but in a way that's funny and gripping. The final tie-it-in-a-bow scene was a bit labored but otherwise this was a great read.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sap---
May 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Such a disappointment... and definitely not appropriate for children younger than 8th grade!
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Konigsburg's writing process must include looking up archaic words that no one uses and building a story around them.
Nov 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow...where to begin? The intended age of the reading audience is the real mystery.

A mother and her son do estate sales for a living. A young neighbor, who happens to be an artist's son and a godchild of an art gallery owner, becomes friends with the boy and helps organize one of the houses to ready it for a sale. Simultaneously, the godfather happens to be opening an art show of art deemed degenerate by the Nazis. This show reveals some secrets to his own past. Coincidentally, the boys uncover
When Amedeo moves to the suburbs for his mom's work, he's not really sure what to expect; everything's so different from the city life he's used to. What he is sure about is that he wants an adventure--to discover something that's been hidden, some sort of treasure. As he helps his new best friend William Wilcox and his mom Mrs. Wilcox out, he gets the opportunity he's been waiting for. These three are helping Amedeo's eccentric, flamboyant neighbor, Mrs. Zender, get ready to move, pricing and s ...more
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
This is the story of Amadeo, who wants to discover something that will bring him fame. When he begins working for Mrs. Zender, he hopes to find a treasure of some kind among her dusty old things, but he is also looking for friendship. Egh. I disliked this book intensely, but I can't muster up enough emotional reaction to it to actually say I hated it.

The plot moves sooooooo slow. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen. Finally, towards the end of the middle, they find the drawing, an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah TheAromaofBooks
So growing up, Konigsburg's The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was one of my favorite books. As an adult, I discovered her book The View from Saturday and loved that one, too - a lot. But for me, The Mysterious Edge just didn't work the way her other two books did. The plot is disjointed and strange, the characters inconsistent and unrealistic, and the entire premise centers around a lot of coincidences.

I really wanted to like this book - two kids becoming friends while helping an e
I abandoned this book once I knew for sure where the plot was going. I haven't liked Konigsburg since Silent to the Bone, and even then, I had to suspend a lot of disbelief. What's happened to this author? It seems as though her eye for story and style is caught in the 60's and 70's, but she tries to edge her work to a more mature level by adding the odd profanity or adult situation. What's hard about criticizing her this sharply is that the prose is delicate...I'd teach writing from many passag ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sixth-grader Amedeo Kaplan is smart, sophisticated, quirky and lonely. He and his communications-executive mom just relocated from New York City to St. Malo, Florida. Amedeo discovers that his next-door neighbor, Aida Lily Tull Zender, will soon be moving into a retirement “village.” In preparation for this move, Mrs. Zender hired Mrs. Wilcox to sort through her mansion and sell those things she will not be taking to her new home. Mrs. Wilcox’s son, William, helps his mother with this job. Soon ...more
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Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was an American author and illustrator of children's books and young adult fiction. She was the only author to win the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year (1968), with her second and first books respectively: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Kongisburg won a second Newbery ...more
“Ninety percent of who you are is invisible." - Mrs. Zender” 45 likes
“Friendship is a combination of art and craft. The craft part is in knowing how to give and how to take. The art part is in knowing when, and the whole process only works when no one is keeping track.” 5 likes
More quotes…