When I’m not wandering the aisles of a bookstore, filling my arms with more than I can carry, or sitting on the couch in my pajamas surfing library e-book catalogs in search of the next fabulous read, I find book suggestions through the recommendations of fellow bookworms. My latest find comes courtesy of my oldest niece, Kelsey. When we were at the bookstore together the other day she suggested I borrow her copy of The Name of This Book is Secret. What a great suggestion!
The Name of This Book Is Secret is a young adult (on the younger side of the YA genre) in the vein of The Series of Unfortunate Events. The book tells the story of Cass, a survivalist who is prepared for anything, and her sidekick, Max-Ernest, who finds his way in to her mystery-filled adventure. The tale begins when her grandpas, who own an antique store, find a box containing the Symphony of Smells. From there, she gets herself entangled in a world of magic, mayhem and murder. She and Max-Ernest (who never goes by a shorter version of that moniker) discover that the Symphony of Smells is a cry for help from a missing magician, and in their quest to rescue him, they end up at a secretive spa where the search for immortality takes precedence over manicures and massages.
One of the things I loved most about this book is the way the narrator speaks directly to the reader. The book starts with an admonition to not read it, as it could be dangerous, which made my mind jump back to one of my favorite childhood books, The Monster at the End of this Book. (If you’ve not had the chance to enjoy this fabulous tale, skitter to your nearest bookstore and get a copy!) Throughout the story, the reader is repeatedly given instructions to forget certain details that would identify the leading characters and the recipe for making the best “Super Chip” trail mix- made with no raisins!
On top of the direct dialog with the reader, the book is filled with codes to be deciphered, anagrams to puzzle over and mysteries to be solved. While sitting on the sofa reading a book may seem like an inactive way to spend an afternoon, but with this novel there is no such thing as passivity. You are definitely on your toes (at least mentally) from start to finish. Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Name of This Book is Secret is an amusing way to spend a few hours, and it doesn’t hurt that it includes an aging basset hound. The smiles and grins produced by this novel earn it: