Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

YA Book Club – The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin


Book Club Button(image and description from Goodreads)

The Westing Game cover

When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will…and what a will it is!

I had to read this for school when I was a kid, and I was surprised I actually remembered bits and pieces of it after all these years. Mostly the reading of the will – my classmates and I were sooo amazed by Sam Westing telling one of the heirs to sit down because she really HAD stood up. How did he know???

Although, in my kid-skewed memory, there were about a dozen of these instances (there’s not).

I also remembered the part near the end where Turtle is swiveling her head back and forth because she likes the way her new cut swishes.

And I had a vague recollection of the rainbow candles because I wanted one. For burning, not for blowing things up.

I was worried the book wouldn’t hold up after all these years, but it was still an interesting, quirky read. I’m actually surprised I enjoyed it so much when I was younger since there is a lot going on and a ton of characters – it definitely has the potential to be confusing.

The only thing that really made me go “uh,” was the way the narrative occasionally slipped in and out of tense. It seemed to be a way of showing what a character was currently thinking, but it just felt a little weird to me.

Somehow I missed that there was a movie based on the book – I’m gonna try to track it down. Has anyone seen it? The majority of reviews were on the negative side, saying a lot of plot points and characters were overlooked. To be fair, capturing the stories of that many people on film would probably be difficult.

Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

16 thoughts on “YA Book Club – The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

  1. Unlike you, I didn’t have to read this one in school at any point. As an adult, I can honestly say that this would not have held my attention as an MG kid. Not that I wasn’t capable of understanding it, I just wouldn’t have loved it. There were an awful lot of characters, and as you say, that can get confusing at times. The mystery was pretty fun, though, so I did enjoy that. And who doesn’t love Turtle, right? I think it’s kind of neat what stood out to you as an MG kid and what stuck with you all these years. I guess it’s the kind of book that would make an impact on you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, Jennifer! 🙂

  2. I want to reread this, because I don’t think my heart was into it reading it the first time. I didn’t understand the rave reviews.

    I didn’t know there was a movie.

  3. This is a new-to-me title that sounds very interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. I heard there was a movie too, and I think I’m going to check it out! I found the story so fun that I’d like to see what they did with it on screen. If I’d read this when I was young I think I would have really enjoyed it, but I was kind of a strange child. I loved that part with Turtle and her new hair cut–she was my fave, for sure 🙂

  5. I had no idea there was a movie until someone tweeted about it fairly recently. Even though you say it got bad reviews I feel this need to watch it and find out for myself exactly how much better the book is. 🙂

  6. I had no idea there was a movie! If you find it, please share. 🙂 I’m with you on the feelings about narrative voice. I love that you have childhood memories tied to this book! Those are always my favorite 🙂

  7. I did not read this in school and hadn’t heard of it before Tracey picked it. I really enjoyed it– the style was definitely dated but it didn’t bother me too much. I love a good mystery and I doubly love puzzles, so I had a fun time reading. Please do give us the scoop on the movie when you watch it– I am envisioning a very 70s b-movie that would probably pretty awesome in its awfulness!

  8. I actually happened upon the movie on HBO just the other day! It’s definitely a movie geared for kids and, oddly enough, Shane West (hottie!) plays Chris.

    Aren’t the little details we remember from childhood books funny? The rainbow candles and the will “talking back” to the heirs will definitely stick with me. 🙂

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