The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game
Ellen Raskin
Puffin Modern Classics
178 pages

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 thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

An ALA Notable Book


Often regarded as one of the best young adult books ever, The Westing Game follows a simple yet intriguing premise. When a billionaire, Mr. Sam Westing, was found dead, his will stated that he had appointed sixteen heirs. But, beside all of the heirs are the resident of Sunset Towers, there was not any other relationship between the heirs and Mr. Sam Westing himself. It's all get twisted when Mr. Westing has promised million dollars for one heir who could discover his murderer, and before they all realize what they're falling into, all sixteen heirs played a dangerous game: the Westing game. 

Raskin's way of narration is really engaging with her omniscient point of view which gives us different thoughts and insights from different characters. Raskin gives the reader the opportunity to know all 16 characters, their antiquity, their secrets, their true self. Not only they all must discover Mr. Westing's murderer, but also they had to face a thief and a bomber who terrorized the Sunset Towers. However, Raskin's wit in hiding the real culprit until the end of the book was a top notch. I still can't figure out what really happened until the end since Raskin spread a few of red herrings in here and there. It misled me. But, it's fun. I kept turning the pages to understand what really happened. Reading The Wasting Game is like almost solving an enigma--you know you're really close to the answer and the truth, yet you can't grasp it. 

My only complaint is actually lack of character developments. I know it's hard to give all 16 characters a fair portion on the book, and that makes the character is somehow unlikable. I even hated the winner of the game. But, it is all redeemed by the ending. Man, that ending! You know the season finale of Six Feet Under? This series finale is often considered as one of the best series finale of all time. Spoiler alert, though, for everyone who hasn't watched Six Feet Under: It ends with a flash-forwards of remaining characters, how they live, and how they die as a memento mori, a reminiscence that everyone's going to die evantually. Accompanied by Sia's song, "Breathe Me", that series finale makes me cry and bawl. 

That's what I felt about the ending of The Westing Game. It's like that flash-forwards, that's really touching and heartwarming. And that is why I decided to round up my rating to 4 stars. A heartwarming book is my Achilles' heels. 
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