The Name of this Book Is Secret (2008)
by Pseudonymous Bosch
buy a copy via Amazon.
synopsis via Goodreads.
This is the story of a secret, and also a secret story. Cass and Max Ernest are two friendless 11-year olds who come together to solve the mystery surrounding a dead magician and the clues he left behind. Along the way they must solve puzzles and word games and face incredible danger to answer their questions.
I am starting to think I don’t know how to appreciate children’s literature anymore. Although I liked the author’s voice and his “involvement” in the unraveling of the story, I often find him incredibly verbose, as if I am reading a filibuster. I had high hopes for the story, but the ideas just sounded so far-fetched and a clumsy effort to get the plot moving and coherent. What disappointed me the most was how the story “ended” with the main characters receiving a new backpack and a device that was like a swiss army knife that somehow was able to do all these amazing things like turn into a parachute, and “filled from top to bottom with state-of-the-art survival gear.” It just reeked of lazy writing, but it also reminded me of how I would’ve written as a child, relishing in make imaginary gadgets rather than plot.
On the other hand, the author blatantly tries to “teach” his readers new vocabulary. Though to a reader who already knows the meanings of all his “complex” words, the random outburst of a “complex” word comes off as glaringly distracting and inconsistent.