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The Mysterious Benedict Society

(The Mysterious Benedict Society #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  129,572 ratings  ·  10,880 reviews

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most
Hardcover, 485 pages
Published March 7th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
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Sam No such thing as "too young"! Read it as a senior in high school, found it very imaginative and enjoyable.…moreNo such thing as "too young"! Read it as a senior in high school, found it very imaginative and enjoyable.(less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  129,572 ratings  ·  10,880 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 LOVE IT.

Middle grade is like young adul
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
It's been a long time since I read such an easy book. It's a sibling of Percy Jackson and a cousin twice removed of Harry Potter. I liked it, despite its cluster of weak points.

I'm not going to illuminate any one on these weak points, because it wouldn't increase or impede the next reader's grasp in their read of this book. It's very problematic to make sweeping comments that damn the novel with faint praise.

What's concrete is that the story has some merits that only the biased can deny. The spe
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sarah Grace Grzy
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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, fascinating,
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.
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 tests at the be
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
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.

[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
George Jankovic
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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. ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 was so long
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
Re-read April '21 - did I just neglect an entire lab report in favor of reading a 500-page children's book? abslutely. I've been searching for this comfort-read series since we moved, and I finally found it! (in the middle of an honours genetics zoom lecture but hey, I was desperate). Still just as lovely. Very ticked off that I once again forgot how to find Mr. Benedict's name (do I know it? obviously. Do I remember how I found it? marginally. and it isn't. in. the hardcover.)

First read:
This wa
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
Read this book for the first time when I was around ten and loved it.
Reread this book now at age twenty and still love it.

Such a special and classic series to my heart. :)
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
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 with being mys
Nov 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud, audio
There's something a bit Roald Dahl-ish about this book in that it has a fairly preposterous story (children infiltrating an institute run by an evil genious baddie, to thwart his plan to take over the world), and a rather light tone. Yet it's also not quite Dahl-ish in a couple ways; despite the evil genious plot the book is permeated with a sense of kindness and is full of deeply nice people (which is good). It's also long and rambling (less good). Dahl could have wrapped the story up neatly an ...more
Sully (thysaltymar)
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books, favorite
"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.

Mr. Benedi
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.
Abigayle Claire
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer brilliance of this book. Nothing. This is the tale of four orphans led by Reynie Muldoon, all average children who have in some way lost their family’s to disaster. Despite their differences, brainy Sticky, clever Reynie, spritely Kate and the ever-annoying Constance are in for the adventure of their lives when one day all of them are drawn together by a mysterious test, planned out to see if any of them are capable of an underground job in the midst
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!
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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 (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #4)

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