37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book was definitely meant for the type of kid/adult who enjoys the Series of Unfortunate Events. The author intrusions were very similar... and equally brilliant. It was an incredibly fun book to read.
Now, for my advice as a parent...
Some reviews have noted that the book is scary. While the intensity was definitely heightened at the end, I think they're all referring to the scene very reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom--the human sacrifice scene and the implication that there will also be cannibalism in some form. It all takes place in front of a cult group in a pyramid. (So, it's very like that Indiana Jones scene--minus the lava, but there is a giant bonfire.) While the child due to be killed is not one of the main kids and is ultimately saved, there have been previous missing kids who weren't so lucky. It's not graphic per se. The villain describes what he is going to do and makes preparations to do it. In a previous scene, there is a character who drinks something that possibly contains blood and there are implications that the "Fountain of Youth" concoctions they're all drinking contain some essence of previously killed victims... though it's really glossed over and not focused on.
The main characters in this are eleven years old, but kids generally read up so you'd expect kids aged 8-11 to be interested. On the other hand, how do you know your child has reached that crucial "I'm okay with human sacrifice and implied cannibalism" stage? I have a nine and a ten year old, and I'm not entirely sure this wouldn't give my ten year old nightmares. She's a bit more sensitive.
I still whole-heartedly recommend it. It was pure genius from beginning to end, but sensitive kids or kids who visualize far beyond the book's details might want to wait until they're older.
81 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2007
This is truly a great book! It is a wondrous read that I couldn't put down and I didn't want to end. This engaging book pulled me in on the first page and I couldn't let go. It is an amusing, intriguing and well thought out mystery, but it is also an inspiring and magical story. It's like a comedy-action-adventure-mystery with magic. It was pure joy to read and easily the best book I have read this year. I have already begun reading it again. Once you enter the world of Cass and Max-Ernest you will never want to leave. It is a kid's book but like Harry Potter before it, everyone can get wrapped up in the world Bosch creates. I really loved this book and recommend it to anyone who likes to read. This book is a MUST!!!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2007
...but this book won't be a secret for long and you have only yourself to blame! You've "spilled the beans" and with them made the most irresistable dish of alchemy and intrigue that had me giggling and engaged with every page. Thank you for making the "footnote" something to look forward to (where else can kids and adults alike get a humorously concise yet accurate explanation of Art Nouveau, Mussolini and synesthesia?) and surprising me with plot twists (and puzzles!) when I least expected them. My apologies, sir, but I will not keep this secret. This holiday season I know what I'll be giving all the readers I know: The deliciously secret story by the charmingly pendantic Pseudonymous Bosch.
40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2007
My son begged me to buy this book. I thought it was too long for a 6 year old but he has devoured the book - reading non-stop for 3 days. He loves the dry humor and the way the author keeps stopping the story to make comments. I hope this author writes many more books.
There is even a great website to check out at LB-KIDS.com.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
In his debut novel "Pseudonymous Bosch" tells a story wrapped in an enigma: not only is the name of the book a secret, as its very name asserts, but so are the names of his characters and other identifiers such as their location and hair color. But because he's got a story to tell and has to call them something, Bosch gives his characters pseudonyms. "Cassandra," or Cass, is an 11-year-old survivalist. She carries a backpack filled with supplies with her at all times and tends to imagine disasters around every corner. Because these never materialize, the people around her mostly dismiss her concerns--hence her similarity to her namesake, the Greek Cassandra, who was given the power of prophecy with the catch that no one would believe her. Cass's classmate "Max-Ernest"--whose dual name reflects his parents' divided opinions and lifestyle--is unusually talkative and has some kind of condition that has yet to be identified. Cass and Max-Ernest bond because they're both more accepting than most of one another's peculiarities. And soon they fall into a mystery. A secret message from a magician, presumed dead, leads them into peril--specifically, the evil, glove-wearing clutches of a pair of too-perfect-looking malefactors, the enigmatic Dr. L. And Ms. Mauvais.
To an extent Bosch's book is reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Here too a pseudonymous author is telling the story of his young protagonists' brush with evil. He suggests readers not read the book. There is a secret organization of do-gooders involved, and the plot is even punctuated by suspicious fires. The narrator alludes to dangers he himself is facing, and he interrupts the narrative with amusing comments addressed to the reader. But Bosch is not as linguistically playful as Snicket, and a larger percentage of his text is pure story, I'd say, than one gets in the Snicket corpus.
I liked most of this book a lot. The protagonists are likable, not improbably smart but clever enough. The mystery held my interest. And the villains are deliciously creepy without wearing their evil on their sleeves. I was disappointed, however, in the ending, an important detail of which, involving a coded communication, seemed implausible. The ending also, frustratingly, left a lot unanswered, presumably in preparation for a sequel, though there is no indication on the book's jacket that this is the first in a series.
-- Debra Hamel
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2007
This is destined to be a classic of children's literature. From the first page this book inspires a feeling of wonder and joy, in both children and adults. It is a book for anyone who loves to read. The pleasure is not just in the well-crafted mystery, but in the exuberant way it is told. Fun, funny, original, stylish, unique, just delightful.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2008
I love reading books and some books I can't understand how its written or the story line at all. I am a 12 year old girl and am in sixth grade. I love to read and this is my favorite book. This book is a mystery and an adventure story in one. Pseudonymous Bosch adds his own little comments about the book which makes you just want to keep going. I took me an hour to read this book and when i was done with it I read it again because it was sooooooooo good. I am sure anybody who reads it will fall in love with it instantly.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Everything about this book is hyped, manipulative and frantic. The reviews are breathless; the blurbs are excessive; the editorial comments are just super, super, super.
Well, the book is fine. The plot is predictable, the villains are stock, the conspiracy is shallow, and the lead characters are forgettable. The overall impression is light and cartoonish.
There seem to be a number of series popping up with interchangeable plots, characters and hooks, and so-so writing. I'm thinking Mysterious Benedict Society, NERDS, and so on. Easily read and easily forgotten. You will not read a paragraph or sentence that makes you pause with admiration for the author's skill.
Now, all of that is O.K. Kids get to have beach reads, too. But, I would suggest just starting with volume one in each of the available series and waiting to see if one of them strikes a chord before collecting the other later volumes.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
Ms.Mauvais, Dr.L, and the Magician
Cass is an 11-year-old girl who you wouldn't expect to be a Detective. She is a Nobody in school, a little Angel at home and a fierce determined detective when she collaborating with her partner Max-Ernest. However Max-Ernest, on the other hand, is a talkative 11-year-old boy- who can be pretty sensitive at times. The Suspenseful, Crazy adventure all starts when Gloria the real estate agent drops off "The Symphony of Smells" at Cass's substitute grandfathers shop."The Name of this Book is Secret" by Pseudonymous Bosch is a story about Friendship and Trust-Believe it or not.
The chapter Titles and Illustrations of Pseudonymous Bosch definitely "grab you" and make you want to read more. Chapter 17, I've changed my mind. Chapter 2, a Wednesday. Chapter 5, Lying. Cass narrates, and the author narrates. But, he makes it so that it's very interesting. The author, his voice, is very funny. But while he's speaking, he actually explains himself. It's like he's reading a storybook, and stops reading and talks. Like for example,"Or maybe I should say I've come to my senses. Rather than continuing to narrate the adventures of Cass and Max-Ernest, I'm going to end this book right here, while they're still safe. More importantly, while your still safe. I know, you're angry with me. You've read this far - you feel you've earned the right to know how this story ends. Go ahead: Laugh, Scream, Cry, Throw the book at the wall." While creatively mashing together description and voice, Bosch creates a main idea from the beginning.
The main idea Bosch writes out in the open, is about friendship and trust. Their friendship is on a thread because Max-Ernest can't keep a secret, and trust because Cass doesn't think she can trust Max-Ernest in keeping the secret because he already told MS.MAUVAIS the main evil character about it. First of all, they're trying to find out what really happened to the magician because Cass and Max-Ernest think he's innocent, also why Ms.Mauvais is trying to find out so much about him.
Not only is this book filled with playful voice and good vocabulary, but it also has a powerful lesson about how to keep a friendship going, and not to give a secret away unless you ask. I like this story and think you should read it because though it's long, it's necessary for all Bosch's great writing. This book, in my opinion, is fit for ages 11 and up and for grades 6 and up. This is the best book ever, and don't forget to pick it up at your local Amazon or order it online!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2012
Please Comment on and (or) like this review I would like to see if it helped anyone.
This book is the most Fantastic book in the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm 10 and REALLY enjoyed this book! I was in a Book Club in our Local Library and we read this book (but we had to end the group because there wasn't enough people) I was a little Skeptical at first seeing that the age group is 8+ so I thought it would be to young for me but boy was I WRONG!!! I love it! If you want Adventure, Action, Mystery, and Humor read this book!!! This book has everything!!! Other people think it's to scary but that's because they where probably to young to read it!(I don't get scared to easily though)I recommend about 9 or 10 and up. Now I'll tell you about the actual book.
The heroes are 2 kids name Cass (Cassandra) and Max-Ernest (which are actually their code names because he can't tell you there real names) who are both 11 years old. Cass is always prepared for disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, and carries with her a backpack filled with survival gear. So she calls herself a survivalist.She also has pointy elf ears that embarrass her. Spoiler Alert!(well not really) She finds out why her ears are so pointy and her mothers are not in the 2nd book.
Max-Ernest is the child of divorced parents because they fought over whether to name him Max or Ernest. But they still live in the same house... which is divided in to 2 because they want Max-Ernest to have a family with 2 parents. Max-Ernest's parents. Cass and Max-Ernest's only friends are each other as they battle evil in this amazing book!!!