Reviews for Name of This Book Is Secret


Booklist Reviews 2007 July #1
In enormous lettering the first page warns: "Do not read beyond this page!" The reason? The book contains a secret so nefarious as to be dangerous even to innocent page-turners daring enough to venture forth. The first few chapters present a tricky little exercise in metafiction in which the story about a secret is revealed as being itself too secret to tell, a ploy sure to tickle more puzzlesome readers. But then the intrusive narrator, who is equal parts snarky and delightful, strikes a deal and deigns to tell the story with fake names in Your Hometown, as long as you agree to "forget everything you read as soon as you read it." Then follows a not terribly shocking story wherein two intrepid kids uncover a mysterious society bent on immortality, which gets them in and out of all manner of trouble. While some may be disappointed that there is no mind-bending secret at the bottom of it all as promised, most junior Da Vinci Coders will likely be having too much fun to notice. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 September #2
Though less common than their Harry Potter brethren, the Lemony Snicket imitators continue to crop up. Max-Ernst and Cassandra weren't likely friends from the start. Cass has pointy ears and wants to be prepared for every emergency (hence the backpack full of supplies she always carries). As for Max-Ernst, he can't stop talking. No one can diagnose the source of this problem, and it makes him a bit of a social pariah. When Cass discovers the mysterious accoutrements of a dead magician, she enlists Max-Ernst's help in determining whether or not the posthumous illusionist left clues amongst his belongings asking for help. What the kids discover instead is a cult of powerful men and women bent on immortality that will stop at nothing to preserve (one way or another) their way of life. The title references the tone of Lemony Snicket time and time again without ever conjuring up the same wit and wisdom. The story line is often engaging, but its ubiquitous narrative trope comes across as more annoying than insightful. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 September #2

Blending the offbeat humor of Lemony Snicket and insight into the preadolescent psyche la Jerry Spinelli with the captivating conundrums of Blue Balliett, the debut novel from a pseudonymous author is equal parts supernatural whodunit, suspense-filled adventure and evocative coming-of-age tale. When an unlikely pair of 11-year-old outsiders--survivalist Cassandra and aspiring stand-up comedian Max-Ernest--team up to solve a mystery surrounding the alleged death of an old magician and the strange and wondrous possessions he left behind, they unwittingly cross paths with the villainous Dr. L and his ageless accomplice Ms. Mauvais, who are obsessed with finding the magician's notebook. After the diabolical duo shows up at Cass and Max-Ernest's school, one of their classmates (a gifted artist named Benjamin) goes missing. Convinced that Benjamin has been kidnapped and faces mortal danger, Cass and Max-Ernest track the doctor and his glove-wearing sidekick to an exclusive and remote "sensorium" cum spa, where they uncover an arcane, alchemical, potentially apocalyptic bombshell. Relayed by an often witty, sometimes arch narrator, and loaded with brainteasers--anagrams, coded messages, palindromes and more--as well as such bounty as a brief and idiosyncratic history of Benito Mussolini, the definition of synesthesia and how Earl Grey tea got its name, Bosch's deliberately eccentric offering is likely to acquire a cult following. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

[Page 61]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 January

Gr 4-6-- The pseudonymous author of this droll mystery insists that he cannot disclose the real names of its characters, or where they really live. The book is about a secret that cannot, under any circumstances, be revealed, so the author gives the story's fictional heroine and hero, two eccentric 11-year-olds, false names (think about that for a moment): Cassandra and Max-Ernest. Cass always expects disaster and carries a backpack filled with survival equipment; Max-Ernest tells jokes that nobody finds funny. They team up after discovering a secret message from a deceased magician in a box of his things delivered to Cass's substitute grandfathers' antiques shop. To learn more, they must break into the magician's house, where they find a hidden room, and, in it, his journal. They also run into a mysterious man and woman who are looking for the notebook, but Cass and Max-Ernest grab it and flee. They learn that their pursuers appear to have kidnapped several children in the past. Cass sees them kidnapping one of her classmates, but nobody believes her. Full-page illustrations incorporate chapter headings. Secret seems to want to be a blend of Lemony Snicket's books in their tendency to warn readers, Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game (Puffin, 1997) puzzles, and the oddly matched detectives of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004). The author tries to make the mixture funny and mystifying, only partially succeeding.--Walter Minkel, New York Public Library

[Page 114]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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