Title: If You're Reading This, It's Too Late
Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Pub info: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2008; 400 pp
Genre / Audience: mystery & magic / ages 9+
Caveats for Younger Readers: none, but the length may seem daunting
Having read Book #1 of the Secrets series, I was happy to reacquaint myself with Cass and Max-Ernest for Book #2. And who can resist the latest character addition, Yo-Yoji?
Beware! Dangerous secrets lie between the pages of this book.
OK, I warned you. But if you think I'll give anything away, or tell you that this is the sequel to my first literary endeavor, The Name of This Book is Secret, you're wrong.
I'm not going to remind you of how we last left our heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they awaited initiation into the mysterious Terces Society, or the ongoing fight against the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. I certainly won't be telling you about how the kids stumble upon the Museum of Magic, where they finally meet the amazing Pietro!
Oh, blast! I've done it again. Well, at least I didn't tell you about the missing Sound Prism, the nefarious Lord Pharaoh, or the mysterious creature born in a bottle over 500 years ago, the key to the biggest secret of all.
I really can't help myself, now can I? Let's face it---if you're reading this, it's too late.
Status: finished 9/6/14
Take another look at the Goodreads summary. That's the voice of the author. If you don't mind an author being intrusive--sometimes a bit in your face--then you'll be fine. If this kind of thing gets on your nerves, however, it will wear thin throughout this book. As reviewers have noted, there's more than a nod to Lemony Snicket in these pages. (Also: Be advised that the introductory chapter is not indicative of how the writer tells the rest of the story. He really does fade into the background.)
Generally, the Bosch voice intrudes in the form of footnotes, which are easy to ignore. I find these asides funny, but towards the end of the book I was skimming them because I was much more interested in Cass, Max-Ernest, and their new friend, Yo-Yoji. This is a fun, fast-paced mystery with a bit of magic and alchemy thrown in, and a nicely turned dynamic on the three friends and the decidedly preadolescent feelings that crop up between them. This is a tighter, easier to navigate tale than The Name of This Book Is Secret, and you won't be totally lost if you've not read that one, either. This volume stands on its own and just may send you back to see how the story began.
As you may have guessed, Pseudo (as his friends call him) likes to keep things under wraps. His official bio reads: "
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