Up until the age of probably 16 if you asked me what my favorite book was, I would launch into a monologue about how hard it is to choose a favorite, and debate the value of a singular favorite because you want different things at different times. But eventually I would relent and I would say The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
A Newberry Medal winning book, The Westing Game was published in 1978. I have no idea when I first picked up the book but I remember being enthralled with it immediately. It was definitely one of those books I would sneak and read in the bathroom because it was the only room with a lock so my brothers could not bother me. It is a mystery novel with the central mystery being absolutely fantastic but that is only part of why I love it so much.
My last two days of favorites have shown my love of weird characters (Night Vale) and character development. And at the heart of this lovely story is this cast of 16 entertaining individuals who are launched into this mystery by virtue of this will they are all attached to. The will has paired them up, seemingly randomly, and given them each a set of clues they are supposed to use in order to solve a puzzle that would allow them to inherit a great deal of money. Hijinks ensue and we learn quite a bit about these 16 characters as most of them try to solve the mystery.
I have no intention of giving away the ending but I will say that the answer to the mystery is actually deeply satisfying, it’s a good conclusion. The other thing that I loved about this book is that it had an epilogue. If you haven’t noticed, I am the type of person to become heavily invested in the characters I engage with, and this book actually gave a great sense of closure. The book ends with a description of where every character ends up in the future and I loved every ending. I even remember one particular future detail that made insanely giddy. Even thinking about it now makes me smile.
There was a film adaptation called Get A Clue that I kind of remember watching and possibly enjoying but pretty sure I have only seen it once. I think an updated adaptation would actually be great. It is a fun story.
P.S. In case you were wondering, if you asked what my favorite book was today I would never actually answer, it is an impossible question.