Trying to read all the novels in my new classroom library has kept me very busy (it's been cobwebby around here lately)! Yesterday, I finished The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, a book that I will be recommending to my boy-heavy classes. Readers who enjoy mysteries and puzzles will love Eric Berlin's novel.
Winston Breen loves puzzles, so when the chance to go on a real treasure hunt comes up, he jumps at the chance. He works with a misfit crew that includes two squabbling fortune hunters, a librarian-heiress, an ex-cop, and his little sister. As in most novels like this, everyone has a secret and the plot twists will keep the reader guessing. Adding to the high interest are the puzzles that are interspersed throughout the novel, with the answers available at the back of the book.
At times, it felt like there were too many characters to track, and that Winston's friends were added in solely to humanize him. I would have preferred that the crucial characters were better developed. Still, I like that Winston is able to love puzzles and be popular with his peers.
My students are always looking for mysteries, but unfortunately, I don't know of many, so usually recommend The Westing Game. I appreciate this updated version for giving my students another option.