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


Definitely my favorite book read in childhood. I read it so many times, I can still recite the first page, and also quote from it even though it's not a terribly quotable book.Sam Westing has gathered his heirs together to solve the mystery of his death and also to teach some of them a lesson. He pairs them up into unlikely duos and hands out clues written on Westing Paper Products paper towels. All of them are interesting, somewhat quirky characters. All of them have something to hide. And answers come from the unlikeliest of places.I recommend this book to everyone under the age of 15, and I still love it every time I read 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!)


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.


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.


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!

Book Review Team

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 book that you can't put down this book is for you. Remember: it's not what you have it's what you don't have that counts.-KMD, CMZ"This is a great book, if you like books that are mysteries that follow one path and that you feel like you are helping solve, this would be a great book for you. It is just like a game as Sam Westing tries to determine his heir, and who is not worthy to be in the game any longer. You start to feel close to all of the characters during some of the best and most suspenseful moments. I highly recomend reading The Westing Game." -MKSI am currently reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It is about a game. Samuel Westing has invited 16 heirs to play in his game. The game will see who will win his vast fortune. Sam Westing may be dead but that is not stopping him from playing his last game. So far I am really enjoying this book. It is very suspenseful and most things that come up you would not expect at all. Around every corner is another surprise and I cant wait to solve the mystery. -JNM

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.


The first time I read this book was probably 1980. A long time ago. But I remember reading it in one day. Because every time I put it down, it didn't stay there for long. I HAD to get back to the book to find out what was happening. I HAD to try to figure out the clues!So this time I thought I would take things a little slower. I checked out the e-book on my I-phone and started reading it during a long wait at the doctor's office on Monday. Then I had to read some more the next morning. And then I had to read some more. So today I checked out the hardcover copy and read some more at lunch. Then I took it home and read the last 150 pages in one sitting. I think if I had the hardcover copy on Wednesday I would have finished it then. So much for savoring and anticipating. And so much for thinking the book would be ruined because I'd read it before. This is one of the best juvenile mysteries around. It is hard to explain why the plot is just so darn fascinating. But I'm going to try to get this in the hands of more kids. It is just SO good!

Clare Wojda

1. Genre - Realistic Fiction2. Awards - Newbery Medal, Banta Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction, Virginia Readers' Choice Award3. Grade Level - 5-64. This is a great mystery book which has a plethora of options for activities in class. When first handing out the books, I would assign each student in my class a character from the book and hand them a case file. As the weeks went on with the students reading independently outside of the classroom, they would be responsible for collecting evidence on all of the other characters in their case file and documenting who they thought they murderer was. While in class, the students would have to remain in character and we would have interrogations of various characters by the rest of the class to collect further evidence of who, what, when, where, and why to try to discover who the murderer was. At the end of the book the mystery would obviously be revealed and we would have a day in class when everyone dressed up as their character and interacted accordingly with their peers.

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.


Every time I read this book I wish they would make a movie of it so I could play Turtle...


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.


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.


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, being a kid's book and all.) I got the gist in the end, and was pleasantly surprised. However, I am always disconcerted when something is left "unresolved" in the end. It makes me crazy!Overall, I'd say this was like the movie "Clue" but without the self-disparagement. I wonder what I would have rated this book if I'd read it as a kid...

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