Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch


There are some books that become popular because readers enjoy them and tell their friends about them. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was one of those books. When it first came out, there wasn’t a lot of publicity about it from the publisher; nor were reviewers in newspapers and magazines raving about it. Somewhere along the way, readers discovered it, and they became enchanted with the world of Hogwarts. The series went on to make publishing history.

imagesThe Name of This Book Is Secret is one of those books that is becoming popular by word of mouth. It was published in 2007, and suddenly, many readers are hearing about it from their friends. The book doesn’t stay on our library shelf, and many copies are being sold in bookstores. The author is Pseudonymous Bosch, and readers know that a pseudonym is a fictitious name (or when an author doesn’t want to reveal his/her own name). From the beginning, the reader wonders what kind of author has written this book. The answer comes in the first pages of the book, even before the first chapter, when the author writes, “Generally speaking, books don’t cause much harm. Except when you read them, that is. Then they cause all kinds of problems.” Pseudonymous Bosch talks directly to the readers, similar to the way that Lemony Snicket does in The Series of Unfortunate Events. He gives warnings, tells the reader that he isn’t going to tell everything (hmm..), and displays a great deal of humor by teasing the readers with just enough information to keep them wondering where he is heading with the story.

The two main characters are definitely not traditional. Cassandra always carries a backpack filled with survival gear, has pointy-ears that give away her emotions by turning red, and is sure that there are sinister plots and ominous events that only she notices. Max-Ernest talks incessantly while practicing to be a stand-up comedian, has hair that stands straight up, and lives with his parents who won’t divorce but have divided their house right down the middle. Cassandra and Max-Ernest become unlikely partners to solve a mysterious disappearance, find the stolen box of smells, and try to outsmart some very evil villains. Oh, and then there are The Grandfathers, Cass’s mother, Max-Ernest’s Parents, and Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. They aren’t traditional characters either; nothing about this story is traditional. It is unique, and so are the sequels, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late and This Book Is Not Good for You.

The readers who are recommending Pseudonymous Bosch’s books to their friends have found that this author’s words are very true to them. Toward the end of The Name of This Book Is Secret, Bosch writes, “Only bad books have good endings. If a book is any good, its ending is always bad – because you don’t want the book to end.”

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