The Westing Game

ISBN: 014240120X
ISBN 13: 9780142401200
By: Ellen Raskin

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About this book

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 things' for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!Winner of the Newbery MedalWinner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book AwardAn ALA Notable Book

Reader's Thoughts


To me, this book is so my childhood. I remember reading it over and over again growing up and somehow it never got old... the ridiculous antics of the characters, which were somehow realistic despite the fact that they're obviously caricatures, the mystery behind it all, and the constants twists and turns of the plotline. And behind all of it, my joy at being able to cheer on the most obnoxious character of them all, because I connect with her. Somehow it never gets old to me, I'm still always surprised when I reach the end... I love to wait till I can forget the majority of the storyline, and then re-read it to re-discover it all over again!

Isaac Blevins

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 little puzzle solving in order to earn their share of his estate. While the mystery and the puzzles are fun and wonderfully clever, it's the characters that really make this novel. All of the characters reside and work in the same high rise apartment building within view of the looming Westing estate. Getting snowed in with them is like being trapped with the most interesting people you could imagine - both good and bad. By the end of the novel it's almost like you're part of a family reunion you know these people so well.Do yourself a favor - if you're a kid: pick up this book and have a wonderful time!- if you're an adult: pick up this book and enjoy being a kid again!

Doug B.

This was the December pick for a book club I'm in and I think that had I read it when I was the target age, I probably would have enjoyed it more. I did not dislike the book, but I was not as enthusiastic about it as most seem to be. The characterization was ok but I found Turtle, arguably the main character somewhat annoying with her predilection towards kicking folks, although I did like her interest in finance and law. In fact the female characters overall were stronger than their male counterparts and I enjoyed their portrayal for the most part. The mystery aspects I did not find too enthralling, but how each character interpreted clues through their own filter (ie chess, chemistry, finance) was well done. The ending raised the book a notch for me as I thought it was handled well. I wonder if the youth of today would connect with this work. In the age of quick internet searches would the research on the clues seem antiquated? In the end I'm not sorry I read this book, but it won't land on my list of favorite young adult reads.


It's a shame that such a wonderful book has such a boring and dated cover. I think more kids (and adults, ahem) might pick up. I loved each and every one of the characters and the way Raskin made even the insignificant ones stand out at some point in the book. I was surprised at how I got a little teary-eyed at the end. Certainly, not a response I expected to have from a mystery novel. Well done.

Spartan 117

The Westing Game The Westing Game is a mystery about sixteen people who are mysteriously chosen to live in the Sunset Towers apartment building in Chicago. It turns out that they are all the heirs to millionaire Sam Westing, who was allegedly killed. The group of 16 are brought together to hear the reading of Westing’s will, which is in the form of a puzzle. The will divides 16 people into eight pairs, each with a different set of clues as to who killed Sam Westing. Each person is given $10,000 at the beginning of the “game,” and whoever solves the mystery will inherit Sam Westing’s $200 million fortune. This book will keep you guessing until the very end.


Autumn PelfreyDecember 15,2013period-3rdThe Westing Game by Ellen Raskin Mr. Westing believes his life has been wrongly taken from him. His will states that whomever discovers the truth behind this will inherit everything. The tenants of Sunset Towers are paired off and each given a clue to find out who took Mr. Westing's life and possibly inherit millions. The handpicked residents of Sunset Towers all thought they were something special. Especially when they all received the same invite to the reading of Mr. Westing’s will. Clearly each and every one of them must have been related to the head of a huge paper company worth millions. As each one arrives at the Westing mansion located near Sunset Towers, each tenant is surprised to find all their neighbors present. All of the residents of Sunset Towers were related to Mr. Westing and didn't even know it. The Westing Game is written in such detail around every page corner that it is filled themes and ideas. Ellen Raskin has a very unique, style of writing that gets to the point of the story, which I love, and it entertains me. The Westing Game is one I recommend to readers of all levels, as they will enjoy the story of The Westing Game in all the adventures.


Summary: Seemingly unrelated families and individuals receive invitations to rent in a new apartment complex. Two months later, a millionaire is found dead in a nearby house, and most of the building's residents are invited (through the dead man's will) to solve his murder for the opportunity to win his inheritance.I was really impressed with this book - it has a large cast of characters that I found enchanting, and I felt like Raskin did an excellent job of giving all of them face time, so to speak. It also deals with social relationships and class in a manner that I feel is a lot more complex than is normally found in books aimed at this age group.While the mystery is fun, The Westing Game is really more about the characters discovering one another and themselves - near the beginning and near the end, all of the game's players are asked to write down their "position" in life, and it's used to charming effect to show the shift in how they identify themselves.The ending was a bit twee for me - I really wish she hadn't taken the route she did here. Overall, though, it was a fun book and highly recommended.


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.


What a surpisingly delightful little puzzle of a book! And it made me giggle more than once, too.Is this too new to be considered a classic? Too bad, it's going in there anyway - I rarely read anything pre-2000s and my classics shelf is a little skimpy.


This was a WONDERFUL, charming read. I read it to my son's 6th grade class (a very tough crowd) who actually loved it, interacted with it and begged for more books like it.


If you like shooting yourself in the heart with a missile, then you'll love The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Words can't describe this book. This story is about 16 people competing for money, and it couldn't be any more boring. This book takes place in Michigan, around 1975, I'd say. Apparently nothing interesting or even slightly amusing took place around that time, because that's when this book takes place. This book doesn't have any main characters, but if you ask me, my favorite character is Ellen Raskin, the author, because her name appears 4 1/2 times!!! So really, there isn't any main characters. I mean, there are characters, and here are examples of some: Turtle is an obnoxious girl who likes kicking people for no reason, Angela-well, no one cares about Angela, so why should I bother? J.J. Ford is conceited, and Otis Amber is just plain stupid. The only person who isn't a bozo is Sandy, and he dies, anyway. The genre of this book is clue-chasing mystery,because all of the heirs are trying to figure out what the clues mean, but only one is smart enough to try and get the heirs to figure out what the clues mean together, and that doesn't work out so well. The theme of this book might be person-person bonding and struggles. I really don't like this book. I don't think Ellen Raskin did a good job of pulling the reader in. Or making it interesting. So. once again, if you like starving to death in the middle of the ocean surrounded by man-eating sharks, then you'll love The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin!!! (Excuse me, i have to go throw up now that I'm done writing the review. I-uh oh!)


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 supposed to be able to solve the mystery. I wouldn't recommend this and I feel bad for kids who have to read it as an assignment.


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 live in a beautiful building called Sunset Towers. The individuals are then invited to the reading of the will of the wealthy Samuel Westing, recently found dead. But rather than a standard will reading, the sixteen individuals are divided into pairs and given envelopes filled with random words from which they must decipher who the murderer of Samuel Westing is. Winner receives $200 million, and the game is on. The rest of the book details the connection of the individuals to each other, and the revelation of each of the team’s sets of clues. Two decades later in a re-read, and the solution to the mystery is far more obvious than it was to me in the third grade. But the way Raskin unfolds each set of clues, and finds plausible ways to attempt to mislead the reader with the clues, and two decades later, I can better appreciate her wordplay. A definite must-read for elementary school kids, and a recommended read for adults who missed reading this gem when they were in school. Still one of my favorites.

Jessica Donaghy

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.


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 (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 would have told me, "you love peggy parrish and her wordplay-based mysteries and you have seen the movie clue enough times that you can recite the whole thing (still can). here's a book you will like". i would have to fine tune it so it works better than the one they have on or (because, no, i would not like to see the aviator, thank you). i would have loved this book like crazy as a kid. as a grown up, i liked it very much, but thought the characters could have used a little fleshing out to make them more defined. the child-me would not have cared. now i have to go write 250 academic words about it. so much less fun than mad scientisting.

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