December 27, 2013

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict - by Trenton Lee Stewart

I opened this book expecting it to be my new favorite book. Why?  This comes at the end of an amazing series, the Mysterious Benedict Society and its follow-ups, and it focuses on possibly the most intriguing character in those stories, Mr. Benedict himself.   Was I disappointed?  Not a bit.

Although not an action-packed story, this book is nonetheless full of quick wits, realistic adventures,  mystery, reading, problem-solving, courage, and unlikely friendship.  It's got a little of everything, and a bit of something more:  Wonder and Genius. Can you tell I am a big fan of Trenton Lee Stewart?

When you begin this book, you meet young Nicholas, the precocious orphan with a remarkable memory who is just heading to his last-chance home, a very odd and problematic mansion full of mean boys and inattentive caretakers.  Before long, Nicholas puts his impressive mental talents to the challenge of solving a decades-old mystery before his arch-nemesis, and to the ultimate goal of getting himself out of this dead-end life and into a successful path to a rich, orphanage-free future.  Of course, nothing in this poor boy's life is easy, and this task may be his most difficult and hopeless yet.  Or not.

Mr. Stewart's latest book is a wonderful balance of just about everything, and is a must-read for anyone who's read his series, and even those who have not.  Like any of Roald Dahl's best work, this book is a stand-alone, unforgettable novel of an extraordinary boy whose pluck and wits help him make the best out of a troublesome life.  Go read it.


1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

For some reason, I had trouble with the rest of the series, but I really did enjoy this one. All of them continue to be popular with my students.