The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – Try Something New

Synopsis: 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!

For the Writer: Though a little confusing The Westing Game succeeds as an unusual character-driven crime story. The author uses word association as clues to a deadly game.  The story begins and ends (No spoiler here!) with pertinent characters in the same room, which is a classic move in the whodunit chess game. The author also employs loads of natural well-written dialogue that provides a lesson in and of itself. I have read on a few occasions that if you are writing for the MG fiction genre dialogue and action are critical ingredients. The scenes in TWG are arranged in a reality TV style jumping from character to character. At one point I thought I was suffering from motion sickness, but what do I know. Nine to twelve year olds probably love it. It was the author’s intent I’m sure, and provides for an interesting template in constructing a new way to unfold a plot.

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