Ever felt skeptical of all the “gurus” who are selling products, services and plans to make your health, finances, relationships, romantic life, or nearly anything else perfect (and in 30 days or less) ? This book will tell you why your suspicions were on target. It takes on every “self help” trend, and shows how the people helped the best by all these “final solutions” are those who collect the money spent on them. Read this book, be prepared to be outraged, and hide your checkbook and credit card the next time you see one of those infomercials !
This novel by Trenton Lee Stewart–his first for children–is a breezy, fun read that is also extremely intelligent–which is not surprising, considering that its four protagonists are all geniuses in their own unique ways.
The main character is Reynie, an 11 year old orphan who answers a very strange ad in the newspaper at the urging of his tutor. Throughout the book, Reynie and his three companions must solve a variety of puzzles, and uncover and utilize their strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses–so they can save the world, of course.
This novel is full of quirky, unique characters (one is a narcoleptic, and another never sleeps so she must eat constantly to have enough energy) with great Dickensian character names, such as Ladroptha Curtain and Constance Contraire, and the action, while brisk, never feels rushed.
I would highly recommend this book to Harry Potter fans, puzzle lovers, and anyone who likes their characters interesting and their plots complex.
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More about Trenton Lee Stewart and The Mysterious Benedict Society:
If you’re looking for a book to bring some sunshine into your day, don’t read this one. But if you enjoy writing that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let you go, even when you can see disaster coming for the main characters, this one’s for you.
The plot revolves around what happens in the lives of four very ordinary Japanese women when one of them does something horrifyingly extraordinary. Part suspense tale and part social commentary on the condition of modern day Japanese society, this is a true page turner.
Barry Hannah is one of the best Southern Gothic writers active today. In the spirit of Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, he has crafted a dark and disturbing tale of small-town folk who find betrayal, death, and unexpected beauty, in the swamps of Mississippi. This book is not a casual read; the violence can be graphic, and the poetic language is often dense and difficult. But for fans of the genre, and for those who like the darker side of drama, this could be a rewarding Southern vacation.
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