The Name of this Book is Secret
|Translator||Dania Al Toma|
|Series||The Secret Series|
|Genre||Mystery and adventure|
|Publisher||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Followed by||If You're Reading This, It's Too Late|
The Name of this Book is Secret is a 2007 fantasy novel for young readers by Pseudonymous Bosch. It chronicles the adventures of two children, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they investigate the mysterious death of local magician Pietro Bergamo. Frequently during the course of the book Pseudonymous chastises himself for writing the secret, going so far as to change his mind and stop halfway through, only to bribe himself into completing the story with chocolate.
A sequel was published in late 2008, under the name If You're Reading This, It's Too Late. A third book was released on September 1, 2009, with the title This Book Is Not Good for You. A fourth book, This Isn't What It Looks Like, was released on August 21, 2010. A fifth book was released on September 20, 2011 and is titled You Have to Stop This.
Cassandra – Cassandra, or Cass, for short, is the 11-year-old female protagonist of the story. She is prepared for any disasters that may occur, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, and always carries with her a backpack filled with survival gear. Thus, the narrator frequently refers to her as a survivalist. Although she prefers to do things on her own, she allows Max-Ernest to collaborate with her on her investigation of Pietro's death. She is also noted to have pointy ears, and refers to her mother's old high school history teacher and his friend as her grandfathers, She doesn't know who her father is.
Max-Ernest – Max-Ernest is the 11 year old male protagonist of the story. His parents became divorced shortly after his birth because they couldn't decide whether to name him Max or Ernest. Despite this, they still live in the same house, which they have divided into two sections. Each parent cut their house in two, literally, and combined the two by lifting his father's side of the house and putting it next to Max-Ernest's mother's side, saying that while they dislike each other, they don't want to rob their child of a childhood shared with both his parents. They don't cross into each other's side of the house or talk to each other, rather act like the other isn't there. Max-Ernest has a speech disorder that has caused his parents to take him to many psychiatrists and doctors. Instead of inhibiting his speech, it makes him talk incessantly until someone stops him. As he has so many conditions, his parents have a problem of thinking that he has every single condition that exists. Cass is his only friend.
Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L – Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L are the two antagonists of the story. They seem to know the cause of Pietro's death and are desperate to find his song, which contains information about the secret the series revolves around. Once they find out Cass and Max-Ernest have his notebook, they go to many lengths to take it from them. It is also revealed during the story that Dr. L is Pietro's brother after Cass discovers a birthmark of a crescent moon on the back of his neck that is mentioned earlier in the book. They own a spa called "The Midnight Sun," which is run by alchemists whose mission is to search for secrets to everlasting life. As hinted several times in the book, Ms. Mauvais and Dr. L are much older than they look; they wear long gloves to hide their wrinkled skin, which only appears on their hands. They are described as dangerously beautiful. Dr. L. is tall, and he has silver hair that does not get messed, tanned skin, and the whitest teeth Cass had ever seen. He also has an indistinguishable accent. Ms. Mauvais has big eyes, a very tiny waist, stylish, beautiful blonde hair, and is covered in gold jewelry. Her voice is described as icy.
Pietro Bergamo – Pietro Bergamo is the synesthetic magician, who was given The Symphony of Smells, a box containing vials of different fragrances, from Ms. Mauvais many years ago. He also wrote the notebook that Cass and Max-Ernest found, telling them about how he joined the circus. He had a twin brother, named Luciano (who also has synesthesia), who was kidnapped by Ms. Mauvais, and is now her partner, under the alias Dr. L. Although the narrator often refers to him as "dead," Cass and Max-Ernest receive a note from him in code which they decipher. Pietro's initials are used at the end of the note.
Benjamin Blake – Benjamin is a boy who goes to Cass and Max-Ernest's school. He won a prize for an art show, since he has synesthesia, or the confusion of the senses, and paints in an attractive yet unique way. Halfway through the book, he was kidnapped by Dr. L. and Ms. Mauvais, as they thought his brain would help them find out information about the Secret. He reappears later in This Isn't What It Looks Like, and goes through an immense change in character as he attended a private school run by the Midnight Sun. He looks pale, and he mumbles when he talks.
Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne – Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne are Cass's grandfathers. They are not her biological grandfathers, but love Cass just the same, as her real grandparents are "not around." Grandpa Larry was Cass's mother's history teacher when she was in high school; as for Wayne, it is not explained what relation he has with Cass's family. Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne also own a shop established in an old, abandoned fire station that Gloria Fortune visits to drop off junk from Pietro's house, including the Symphony of Smells.
Owen – Owen is a butler whom Cass meets soon after arriving at The Midnight Sun Spa. When they first meet, he has a strong stutter and appears to be very shy but friendly. Cass and Max-Ernest soon discover that Owen is actually a spy of sorts. He helps them escape the Midnight Sun with Benjamin Blake and takes them to Cass' grandfathers. Owen's most notable characteristic is that he imitates other accents, instead of speaking normally. In the first book, Owen speaks with a slight stutter, a nautical surfers' accent and an Irish brogue. Like other staff of the Mindnight Sun, he looks beautiful with tanned skin and some freckles, but he does not have the wrinkled arms and hands because he really is young.
Amber – Amber is one of Cass' classmates and described as the nicest girl in school (and the third prettiest). She is obsessed with two heiresses called the Skelton sisters, thus she uses their company's lip balm called "Smoochies." Every week, she uses a new Smoochie, and gives her old one to her friends and schoolmates. Cass often receives one of her Smoochies, but she assumes it's only because she feels sorry for her. Amber has a friend named Veronica, who is the second prettiest, but not very nice.
Gloria Fortune – Gloria is a probate specialist, or a "real estate agent for the dead." When people die she clears out their homes and tries to sell their house. She loves to gossip, and was a guest at the Midnight Sun although she no longer remembers it and thinks it was a dream.
When a real-estate agent for the deceased, named Gloria, finds a mysterious box in a magician's house called, "The Symphony of Smells," she gives it to Cass and her grandfathers. Cass is a misfit in her school until she meets another misfit, Max-Ernest, who talks too much and has divorced parents but who are still living in the same house.
Cass and Max-Ernest become collaborators and investigate the dead magician's -- Pietro Bergamo—house only to get caught by a young couple; but not before they find a mysterious journal hidden in a secret room.
Later the couple comes to their school looking for them, but find a synesthete boy named Benjamin Blake after they examine a piece of art painted by him on display in the school. After initially loathing him, Cass decides it's her job to save him. The young couple were nothing but the dangerous Ms. Mauvais and her partner Dr. L. They wanted to achieve eternal glory so as to be immortal.
Cass and Max-Ernest eventually find out that Ms. Mauvais founded an evil organization called Midnight Sun. Around this time Cass and Max-Ernest stop being collaborators. Ms. Mauvais kidnaps Benjamin which now becomes Cass' responsibility to save him.
After leafing through some spa brochures collected by her mother, Cass decides to pose as one of the Skelton Sisters, socialites and heiresses, and calls The Midnight Sun spa to pick her up in a limousine. Cass then meets Owen, a stuttering servant who sets up her room and tries to make her comfortable.
Later that night Owen comes into Cass's room, speaking with a strange accent, a notable characteristic he had when she last met him. Then Cass and Max-Earnest save Benjamin Blake and burn The Midnight Sun by doing so. They then return home with Owen, having accomplished their task. They receive useful gadgets from a secret sender named P.B. Cass obtains a survivalist backpack while Max-Ernest gets a decoder.
- "If you're reading this it's too late". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- "Amazon.com: You Have to Stop This(9780316076265): Pseudonymous Bosch: Books". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
- UK Site
- Hachette Group Book Site
- More About the Book
- Allen and Unwin Australian Site
- The Secret Fan Forum
- Pseudonymous Bosch Official Website
- Pseudonymous Bosch's Blog
- Pseudonymous Bosch's Twitter
- The Terces Society (Secret Series Fan Site)