The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The first book in a series for middle schoolers, this book starts with an advertisement for children looking for special opportunities. An 11-year-old orphan named Reynie responds to the ad and faces a series of unusual tests. Afterwards, Reynie and three other children are chosen for their unique gifts to be trained by Mr. Benedict for a special mission to stop a madman named Mr. Curtain from taking over the world. The children are enrolled in Mr. Curtain’s school to be spies for Mr. Benedict and try to foil Mr. Curtain’s nefarious plan. Kids will use their intellect to try and solve the clues along with Reynie and the others. A clever and exciting book with some dark elements, but a happy ending for the main characters.