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The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  103,113 Ratings  ·  9,063 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 2007)
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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.
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)
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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
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
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
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 ➹ (hiatus)
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
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.
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
Sarah Grace
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, fascinating,
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.

[Shai] The 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. But I got bored in the first part because of the slow pacing of the story. I only got hooked on the story from the 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 book a series is good or not and I'm a little disappointed with what I've r
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.
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
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
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
Leona  Carstairs
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Leona by: Mimi
Shelves: siblings-own
Book: The Mysterious Benedict Society
Rating: 3 stars
Age Range: 9+

What I liked

The writing style

The characters (Constance and Kate were probably my favorites, although they were all very fin to read about)

What I disliked

Length (It was almost 500 pages, when the story could have been told in less. Plus it is junior fiction, and younger audiences will have trouble reading books that long)

Plot (The plot was ok, it wasn't spectacular. I didn't hate it and it did have some good parts but overall meh)

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
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
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.

Mr. Benedi
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!
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
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendi Lee
I love the premise of this novel, as well as the cast of orphans turned spies, but the pacing was just a tad too slow for me.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is shrouded with mystery and secrets. This story revolves around incredibly clever children who join a secret society which the children later call: "the mysterious Benedict society". This story makes you think along with the characters and makes you want to find out what happens next. If these descriptions doesn't make you want to read this book. I don't know what will.

The characters

They are all a bunch of lovable characters. There's Reynie who's the main character. He is what you c
Nov 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, read-aloud
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
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! It is such an interesting idea which makes for a very interesting plot! The characters were lovable (I just loved Constance, despite her stubbornness) and realistic. I really would say that this book series is as good as Harry Potter! Read it!
Allison Tebo
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
RTC once I've gathered my thoughts.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 24%
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweet-petites
A fun adventure story with puzzles to be solved and friendships to be made!
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Hated the book. Your opinions? 70 318 Jun 20, 2018 02:45AM  
Favorite character 10 30 Jan 12, 2018 05:09AM  
UCAS English 10 H...: August Novel Assignment 3 16 Oct 16, 2017 09:06PM  
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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
More about Trenton Lee Stewart

Other books in the series

The Mysterious Benedict Society (3 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)
“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.” 1340 likes
“Rules and school are tools for fools! I don't give two mules for rules.” 240 likes
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