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Scads of Twists and Turns and a Playful Tone
on November 30, 2009
Cass, Max-Ernest and Yo-Yoji are back in another installment of the Secret Series. As oath-bound members of the Terces Society, the trio once again battles Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais, the evil masters of the Midnight Sun who continue their quest to discover the secret of eternal youth.
With Cass, this time it's personal. After learning a secret about herself, she lashes out at her mother while they are at a cooking class at an exclusive and unusual restaurant. Cass blurts out harsh and hurtful words and then wishes she could take them back. But before Cass can apologize, her mother is kidnapped.
Shortly afterwards, Cass receives a ransom note from the cruel and calculating (and possibly blind) Chef Señor Hugo. To save her mom, Cass has two days to find a magic tuning fork. She must deliver the fork --- which possesses unholy powers --- to Chef Hugo. And she is also instructed to keep her mission a secret from Max-Ernest and Yo-Yoji, but she desperately needs the help of her friends if she is to rescue her mother.
This latest book in the series has the same playful voice and many familiar characters from the first two entries. In addition to Cass's mother and the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais, Larry and Wayne --- Cass's substitute grandfathers --- are back. The Skelton Sisters, Romi and Montana, make cameo appearances, and thankfully the twins are not as annoying as they were in book two. Also returning are circus clowns, a bearded lady and a master of disguise.
THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU --- which opens up on Chapter 15 --- also features a girl named Simone, locked in a cage because of her superstar talent and superior sense of taste; monkeys on the loose in a Rainbow Rainforest; a smattering of Aztec history; and a bird with special talents and a deadly snake. From adoption to allergies and chocolate to circus performers, Bosch takes the reader on a non-linear path to the book's conclusion. And, by the end, many secrets will be revealed, not only about Cass but also about Ms. Mauvais, including her first name and a glimpse into her childhood --- her very, very long-ago childhood.
With scads of twists and turns and a playful tone, Bosch delivers an important message: families come in assorted varieties, but the best ones are centered in love, no matter how they are structured. Rounding out the reading experience are an appendix, complete with "chocolossary --- a slightly biased glossary of chocolate terminology," several recipes and Max-Ernest's 100 ways to say hello.
THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU is about a secret society and a dangerous adventure --- and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. What's not to like?
--- Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt