Parents' Guide to

The Mysterious Benedict Society

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Suspenseful mystery with a Lemony Snicket vibe.

The Mysterious Benedict Society Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 31 parent reviews

age 12+

picky review

I am going to be nit-picky because I think you are here to know whats in the book, not whether I liked it. There is some weirdness and creepiness, and the story takes a while to develop. Orphaned children are singled out to participate in a dangerous mission. They are put through a series of "tests" by strange adults... often brought to strange places not not knowing what to expect and also not allowed to contact anyone (a caretaker.) Mysterious yes, but also creepy. The story becomes more "adventure and mystery" once you know the reason behind the tests and the mission. But you have to get through the long beginning, not knowing where the story is leading. The "bad guy" uses a machine to control and use the kids' minds (preferring the orphans because they won't be missed) and part of the control is brainwashing them into believing the lie that whatever their worst fear is, they don't have to fear it. To me this is also a bit creepy. The bad guy takes them to a room and straps them to a machine where he uses his mind to overpower them and somehow it ends up being something the kids enjoy and can't wait to do again. (A kind of escape from reality.) Everything that is done in the "school" they are brought to is very secret and kids are punished for breaking rules (of which there are none, except...) So, that said, it is an interesting book and it does have a lot of suspense. Mostly for me it was the unpleasant suspense of not knowing if the book would take any twisted turns. Things take a while to develop. I happened to read the prequel before this book and it was nothing like this one and although that was also kind of slow to develop, we enjoyed that one much better. The creepiness of this one was unpleasant. My 12 yr old did not like the bad things the adults were doing to the kids, and doesn't want to read the next book. I agree.
2 people found this helpful.
age 8+

Fantastic book

This book is very adventurous, a mystery around every corner. Four best friends that have very special talents and are unique in their own way, the Society has to become spies in order to stop these messages from controlling people through a machine know as the whisperer that makes you feel good and tells you things you what to hear, created by Mr. Curtain, the head of an institution known as L.I.V.E The Learning Institution for the Very Enlightened, he want to control the world and everyone in it. Read to find out how the mysterious Benedict society stops him and his crew. Join Reynie, sticky, kate and Constance on an adventure to save the world. The Mysterious Benedict Society will make you fell like your apart of the story. You will enjoy each character.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (31):
Kids say (109):

At nearly 500 pages, THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY is quite long, and it drags at points, but it's a clever and suspenseful story. Cross Lemony Snicket with Blue Balliett and you'll have a good idea of the tone: a code- and puzzle- filled mystery wrapped in an over-the-top melodrama.

Every character is delightfully eccentric, there are plenty of twists and turns, and underlying it all is a wicked but understated sense of humor. Reluctant readers will be put off by its size and uneven pacing, but bright, avid readers will love it.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate