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The Westing Game

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  136,221 Ratings  ·  8,818 Reviews
A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!
Paperback, Penguin, 182 pages
Published April 12th 2004 by Puffin (first published 1978)
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Gladius Other than the race to win the game, Turtle had to break free of her sister's shadow. Their mother always liked Angela better, and Turtle lacked…moreOther than the race to win the game, Turtle had to break free of her sister's shadow. Their mother always liked Angela better, and Turtle lacked confidence because of that. The greatest challenge she confronted was her confidence in herself. Maybe the book doesn't support this, but I do. (less)

Community Reviews

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karen
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mark-harmon
this is what i am going to do: i am going to take a red panda, and i am going to learn genetics and i dunno - neuroscience. and welding. and i am going to take a little bit of my brain, and a little bit of everyone's brain here on goodreads.com (you'll be asleep, you wont feel a thing) and then i am going to moosh it all together, and put it in the brain of the red panda. and then i will have the perfect book-recommending resource. because if i had had one of these when i was little, then it wou ...more
Wil Wheaton
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really fun, and I know without hesitation what third or fourth grade me loved about it. I felt like maybe it dragged a tiny bit in the back half of the second act, but I think that's just me getting ahead of the narrative, and being a little out of the demo.

But if you're like 11 to 13? Holy crap, you're gonna love this book, and be on board with it pretty much from the first chapter. It was written in 1978, but it doesn't feel dated (other than the technology), and it ages very well. It has a di
...more
Tricia
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book sounded like it would be lots of fun, and I read it hoping for a great mystery. In the end I think there were too many characters, and not enough information to make any of them seem real to me. I never really got why they were who they were, except on the most basic level. Each character was just glossed over, and even though they were described in a basic way, there was nothing to really draw me in or make me care about them.
Jen
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: elementary girls with long hair
I think I first read The Westing Game in third or fourth grade. I checked it out of a public school library in Missouri. I loved it, returned it, and checked it again a few months later on another weekly library visit. Two things: 1. Why should children only go to the library once a week? My education would have been brighter and fuller had I just stayed in the library. Other kids could have had more time with the restroom pass, but instead I hoarded that thing and sat on the white raised seat ...more
Wendy Darling
A well-written, twisty puzzle of a mystery, filled with fantastic clues, unforgettable characters, and countless red herrings. Turtle Wexler will always be a hero to me.
Isaac Blevins
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children, children at heart, puzzle fans
Shelves: ya-literature
I read this little book for the first time not as a child - but as an adult. I was looking for a book to kick off our Junior High book club and picked up the Westing Game to see if it might be a good place to begin.
I wish that I had found this book earlier in my life. What kid wouldn't be captivated by wonderful characters thrown together to play a game hosted by a dead millionaire? Don't get me wrong...Mr. Westing isn't a vampire or a zombie - he's just decided that his heirs need to do a lit
...more
Eve
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
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“Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.”

What a wild ride this was, and so much fun! I don't know how I would have approached this as a child or young adult, but it made me laugh at so many different stages! My brain is still feeling a little tingly. I never knew what was going to happen next, and I have a feeling that exactly the way Raskin would have wanted it. Can't wait to read more of her books.

"She said that she wrote for the child
...more
mark monday
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidworld
I just want to cut to the chase: the last three chapters, over the course of about nine pages, are some of the most moving I've read in a book written for kids. life, loss, death; growing up and getting old; compassion and empathy; sadness and mourning, sweetness and light. it's all there. such a generosity of spirit from Ellen Raskin. I would have loved to have known her. but I sorta feel I do, from those few pages.

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the book itself is a delightful lark. a lot of fast-paced fun, but with a surpr
...more
seth
Nov 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
Unless you love driving chainsaws through your innards, please do not read The Westing Game. The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, is an extremely horrible clue-chasing mystery. The books main events take place in a 5-story apartment called Sunset Towers and the Westing Estate. The book takes place in Michigan around 1975. When reading the Westing Game, it is no more fun than jumping off a cliff for fun.
Barney Northrup, a sixty-two year old salesman, is selling apartment spaces in Sunset Towers to
...more
Jessica
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
As a child, I probably read this book as many times as I watched the movie "Clue" (brilliance), and that is a lot! I loved (and still love) anything with a clever girl as a protagonist. Turtle can stand her ground among Nancy Drew and her ilk. Raskin's cast of characters feels somehow simultaneously real and fantastical, and the mystery is juicy enough to keep you hooked until the final moment of checkmate.
Mary
Jul 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
I don't understand why this book won a Newbery Award. It was confusing and sort of awful. Additionally, for today's reader, it felt extremely dated and had some remarks in it that I would call "un-politically correct."
It all starts with a group of eccentric people of all ages who quickly become involved in a mystery game involving a large inheritance. The person who first solves the mystery wins the inheritance. Clues are given along the way, but I'm not sure whether or not the reader was suppos
...more
jessica
i know this is meant to be a childrens novel, but that thought never crossed my mind whilst reading this. it actually reminded me a lot of the film ‘clue’ - its mysteriously engaging, wildly eccentric, and dangerously witty. a very quick and fun read!

3.5 stars
Mavence
"Today I have gathered together my nearest and dearest, my sixteen nieces and nephews...I, Samuel W. Westing, hereby swear that I did not die of natural causes. My life was taken by me-by one of you!...Cast out the sinner, let the guilty rise and confess. Who among you is worthy to be the Westing heir?"

16 UNLIKELY HEIRS ON THE HUNT OF A MURDERER AMONG THEM? The Westing Game begins.
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I never would have thought that this is a children's book. Because honestly, the ingenuity of the plot transcend
...more
Tung
Apr 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Yes, this is a children’s book – a Newbery Medal winner from 1978. This was also my absolute favorite book from when I read it as a third grader until I was in middle school and discovered fantasy fiction. I saw it in a used bookstore and decided to press my luck and re-read it, hoping it wouldn’t disappoint me as other childhood favorites had done upon a re-reading (I’m looking at you, Hitchhiker’s Guide…). It didn’t. The Westing Game begins with sixteen seemingly random individuals invited to ...more
Toph
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Newbery books I've read. The characters are super distinctive and Raskin is very witty. An example:

Turtle forgot the rules of the court and hurried to her mother.

"Who did you see, Mom? Who? Who?"

(Terrified by the who's, Madame Hoo slipped away.)


(view spoiler)

5/5 stars.
Kate Willis
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, humor
This should seriously be added to the annals of “The World’s Most Brilliant, Strange Books”. I "solved" the mystery twice and was still wrong both times. :D I even had what I thought was a major spoiler to help me. I was still wrong! But in the end all the twists and turns made perfect sense, and I was left wondering how I hadn’t seen it all before. Also, this book has a grand total of sixteen point of view characters! I would usually call that a bad thing, but this author somehow made me care ( ...more
Courtnie
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Fun murder mystery. I suppose that it was written for middle graders, but this adult still enjoyed the whodunnit.



Sixteen heirs to a fortune must puzzle out the benefactor's murderer to win the millions. Reminded me of Agatha Christie in a way. Lots of eccentric characters and all of them suspecting of each other.





More clever than funny with a strong ending. The ending is what really pushed it past 'just okay' for me. I could see this being brilliant for an early reader and will happily collect a
...more
Sarah Grace
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 12+
Wow . . . this is . . . brilliant! Such a fun book, and exceptionally written! I think it is meant more for middle grade ages, but all ages will love it! Witty,, mysterious, and yet heartwarming too, this is a book that will quickly become a favorite!
Y. C.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing


I first read this in grade eight and thought it was the smartest book ever. It was ingenious and full of twists and plots and I adored the main character Turtle. It's one of those books where everything just connects in the end, all loose strings are tied up, and upon closing the back cover, it leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction.

It's an amazing book, even after all these years.
Book Review Team
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
The Westing Game is about 16 heirs competeing for Sam's Westing's inheritance. This book is a clever mystery full of excitement, danger. and suspicion. There are 8 teams, each team has a set of clues and together they must understand them. Together you must find out who Mrs. Westing is and who killed Sam Westing. You too may strike it rich, who dares to play...The Westing Game. We really loved this book it keeps you on your toes and every little thing matters. If you like a suspenseful, exciting ...more
Charles Finch
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Duh. 100 stars. The best. Read it whenever I remember to.
Megan
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I first picked up this book in high school, if I remember correctly, from the high school’s library. I fell in love almost immediately, and when I recently saw a copy at Half-Price Books I picked it up so that I could own it.

“The Westing Game” is a wonderful, clever and engaging book. It’s a murder mystery, a puzzle, and a treasure hunt, all in one, centered around the unique cast of characters that inhabit Sunset Towers apartments. The reader essentially becomes a participant in the mystery as
...more
Lisa
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it

CLAP.

CLAP.

CLAP.

Well done, Ellen Raskin. Quite the clever little yarn you've spun. I can see little middle-school-Lisa reading this book and taking notes and trying to win the prize. Alas, I didn't even know this book existed then. But reading The Undertaker's Gone Bananas gave me the hankering for more mysteries involving kids finding corpses and getting in deep with the grown-up business of murder and finger-pointing. I'll keep it short. After all, it's not what you have, it's what you don't ha
...more
Scott
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
A clever, engrossing and funny mystery and a good introduction to the genre for young readers.
Trinity Irwin
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't enjoy rereading books, no matter if I thought they were great. But, I could read The Westing Game over and over again, never getting bored. It has such a carefully structured plot and a wonderfully delicious set of characters. I cannot stand when authors can't bounce between different characters with smooth transitions, but Ellen Raskin did it with absolute grace. It's a children's mystery, but a person of any age could enjoy it as much as I did ...more
Tamara
Alright, I finally read it. The copy I read has a copyright date of 1978. So it was kind of interesting to read a book that was born the same year I was!

Amazingly, the fact that it was such an old copy was slightly distracting. The changes in stylistic trends is quite obvious. I didn't realize how much of the way I read is based on how things are organized and addressed in type and breaks and alignment.

I'm not used to reading mysteries, so for me this was a little hard to follow (quite sad, huh
...more
Lindsey Lynn
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a middle grade/mystery novel about a group of 16 randomly selected people to play a part in a rich man's game. It all starts with a will and millions of dollars at risk. This hodge-podge group of people are summoned to a mansion to take part in a dead man's game. Everyone wants the money but are they cunning enough to see the bigger picture?

You get a wide variety of characters and view points throughout this book that come a bit unexpectedly but in a wonderful way. There were characters
...more
Max
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A re-read. Still as much of a gem as I thought when I was in fourth grade, and there aren't many books I can say that about. The last scenes get me every time.
April
I don't often read children's books. I don't consider YA to be children's literature. This means I am not as well-read in a certain genre as I would like to be. Now when I say children's lit, I don't mean picture books. I mean the books that are in the juvenile section of the library between the picture books and the young adult books. Of course, when you are not well-read, you can take easy steps to fix the problem like, actually reading the books you haven't read. When I want to correct someth ...more
Gazella
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love mystery books and I mostly read Agatha Christie when I'm in the mood for a good murder mystery novel but I'm glad I picked this one up for a change. It's a very entertaining and engrossing read. Full of great humor and wit. The storyline is intriguing and the plot-twists are very well-crafted. It has a variety of quirky and interesting characters and all of them are fully developed.

The style of writing is original. At first I found it somewhat confusing because the author switches rapidl
...more
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327 followers
Ellen Raskin was a writer, illustrator, and designer. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up during the Great Depression. She primarily wrote for children. She received the 1979 Newbery Medal for her 1978 book, The Westing Game.

Ms. Raskin was also an accomplished graphic artist. She designed dozens of dust jackets for books, including the first edition of Madeleine L'Engle's classic A W
...more
More about Ellen Raskin

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“Life, too, is senseless unless you know who you are, what you want, and which way the wind blows.” 86 likes
“Smiling without good reason is demeaning.” 60 likes
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