The Secret Series
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|Publisher||Little, Brown Books|
The Secret Series is a series of 'secret'-themed adventure novels written by Pseudonymous Bosch, who is suspected to be Raphael Simon. The series centers on three middle school children, Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji, and their adventures as members of the Terces Society ("secret society" spelled backwards), a group that keeps a mysterious Secret from being found out or stolen by the Midnight Sun society. One of the subplots of the series is the alchemists of the Midnight Sun searching for the secret to immortality, and the Terces Society's plans to stop them.
The first book in the series, The Name of this Book is Secret, was released in late 2007. The second, If You're Reading This, It's Too Late, was released in late 2008. The third book in the series, This Book Is Not Good for You was released in September 2009, the fourth book, This Isn't What It Looks Like was released a year later in September 2010, and the fifth book, You Have to Stop This came out in September 2011.
As many fans have noticed, each book is centered on the five traditional senses: The first book concerns scent, the second is about sound, the third centers on taste, the fourth centers on sight, and the fifth is about touch. Bosch's writing style is similar to that of Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- The Name of this Book is Secret (smell)
- If You're Reading This, It's Too Late (sound)
- This Book Is Not Good for You (taste)
- This Isn't What It Looks Like (sight)
- You Have to Stop This (touch)
Each book targets one of the five senses. The first one is smell, and Cass and Max-Ernest have to deal with the Symphony of Smells. In the second book, the Sound Prism is involved, for hearing. The third book revolves around taste, in which the characters face a magical, super-dark chocolate created by an important item, the Tuning Fork. The fourth is sight and involves the double monocle of second sight. In the fifth, the finale, there is a mummy's finger concerned, for touch.
Note: The author explains that in the series, none of the characters are called by their real names, due to the reader's possibly of being part of the Midnight Sun and finding out too much information, and explains that each character has a pseudonym in place of their real name. However, many of the characters' names become relevant to the plot in later books, implying that the author lied about using pseudonyms.
- Cassandra: The survivalist and main protagonist, Cass is ready for any situation. She also has big, pointy ears that turn red often, especially when she's embarrassed or mad, and when people talk about them. She is the descendant of the Jester who let Mr. Cabbage Face out from the pig pen over 500 years ago. In the first book, she learns about Pietro Bergamo, which leads to her being kidnapped by the Midnight Sun. In the second book, she is offered to join the Terces Society that the Jester started and she accepts. She is really adopted but doesn't find out until the end of the second book. Near the end of the third book, Cass discovered she had been chosen to be the next Secret Keeper. She falls into a slumber (because she ate Hugo's chocolate) and is outside the Jester's tent. The third book ends here and the fourth installment delves more deeply into this. There is some suspicion that a woman Cass meets when she goes back in time, is really Cassandra, a seer from ancient Greek mythology. No one ever believed her predictions. Cass is very similar to this, but we do not know the connection between the two. Another suspicion is that the seer who asks to be called by Clara as well, is Mrs. Johnson's ancestor, possibly linking the tuning fork in the third book to the lodestone necklace in the fourth, since Mrs. Johnson claims that the tuning fork and the necklace once belonged to her ancestor Clara, a witch who came on the Mayflower, although chronologically speaking, it may seem impossible. In the fifth and final book, Cass has to find the secret. It is revealed by a mummy. She also graduates and is believed to have feelings for Yo-Yoji,who is introduced in book 2.
- Max-Ernest: Cass' best friend and partner; Max-Ernest knows lots of useless facts, makes sure every hair is the same exact length, and is allergic to almost everything (this isn't really true, because near the end of the third book, it is discovered that back when he was a baby, his allergy tests were done wrong). His parents divorced because they couldn't decide what his name should be (his mom wanted Max to be his name, while his dad wanted Ernest so they decided to combine it). They decided to live together anyway, so Max-Ernest could have both parents with him. In the second book, the parents cut the house in half and the dad moves across the street. So then Max-Ernest has to spend the equal amount of time with each parent. But strangely enough, the parents get back together in book three, renewing their vows, and renovating the now back together house. In the fourth book, his mother becomes pregnant with Max-Ernest's little brother. The argument happens again, as they have been stalling to name the baby because of the first divorce, and they cannot decide whether to name him Paul or Clay. Their relationship's status isn't revealed in the fifth book. In the fifth book, Max-Ernest joins Cass in her adventure. It is revealed that Pseudonymous Bosch is really Max-Ernest. They share the same qualities throughout the books, including random spouts of information and a passionate love for chocolate.
- Melanie - Cass' foster mother. In the second book, Cass discovers papers in the files of Mr. Cabbage Face that reveal Melanie is not Cass's biological mother. In the third book, she is kidnapped by Senor Hugo, an ally of the Midnight Sun, and Cass is forced to eat time-traveling chocolate so the Midnight Sun can learn The Secret. She does not learn The Secret, but the Terces society saves Cass and Melanie. Melanie also plays a role in the storyline because every time Cass disappears on a mission for the Terces Society, she is grounded and must sneak out in some way or another in order to fulfill her duties as a member of the Terces Society.
- Grandpa Larry and Grandpa Wayne - Cass' adopted grandfathers who collect junk and have a store in an old firehouse but never part with their pack rat items. They have an old dog named Sebastian who is blind. Sebastian died of old age between books four and five. They live in a gay relationship, but that is never explicitly stated in the books.
- Antoinette Mauvais - The current leader of the evil Midnight Sun, whose quest is for eternal life. She is over 200 years old. She kidnaps Benjamin Blake in book one. She looked to Itamar for guidance until he died, as shown in book three. She has an uncanny resemblance to Marie Antoinette, which may or may not be intentional on the author's part. She is icy, gorgeous, and deadly. She was the woman who gave The Symphony of Smells to Pietro and Luciano (Dr. L) Bergamo.
- Luciano Bergamo/Dr. L: Pietro's twin brother who joined the Midnight Sun some years ago. Dies in book five. He is synesthetic, as proven in book one. Ms. Mauvais took him away from his brother and the travelling circus.
- Pietro Bergamo: The current leader of the Terces Society. In book one, Cass and Max-Ernest thought him to be deceased. In book 2, Cass and Max-Ernest actually speak to him, proving he wasn't deceased in book 1. He is synesthetic, as proven in book one. In book five, he disappears.
- Benjamin Blake: A boy that goes to Cass and Max-Ernest's school. He won a prize for a big art show. He has synesthesia. Halfway through book one, he was kidnapped by Dr. L. and Ms. Mauvais. He was saved by Cass and Max-Ernest. In book two, he was moved to a private school. In book four he comes back, and they found out that he went to a school ran by Dr.L, who brainwashed him into being evil. Cass hits him over the head with Yo-Yoji's guitar and he turned back to normal.
- Owen: A man of many disguises, he was undercover at the Midnight Sun spa as a butler for the Terces society in book one. He helped Cass and Max-Ernest escape the spa. In book two, he was their teacher (Mr. Needleman). In the third book, he was in Africa, looking for the Midnight Sun's chocolate plantation. Then in book four, he was the secretary of Cass and Max-Ernest's school (Opal).
- Ms. Johnson: Cass' school's principal (self-nicknamed The Principal with Principles) that enforces rules and recycling and won't tolerate otherwise. Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji went to her house in book three to look for the Tuning Fork (which she got from her ancestor that was thought to be a witch) and discover that she herself has no principles, because she doesn't recycle, smokes, and is enraged at the children for stealing the Tuning Fork. She then angrily goes to Cass' grandfathers and tells them her granddaughter is a criminal and they dismiss her. In the fourth book, she starts wearing a lodestone necklace she claims belonged to the same ancestor and expels Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji (again).
- Amber: She is the nicest girl in Cass' school, also the third prettiest (according to all other characters in the school). She became a Skelton Sister in book two, only to be thrown out of the group. She eventually joins the Midnight Sun at the end of the series. She is the youngest member of the Midnight Sun. In book one, Amber enjoyed giving Cass the Smoochies she was done with, until Cass finally said "No".
- Veronica: Amber's friend, the second prettiest girl in the school but not even the fifth or sixth nicest.
- Gloria Fortune: A real estate agent for the dead, she brings boxes of Pietro's Things to Larry and Wayne's fire house. Cass claimed to see her at the Midnight Sun, but Gloria says otherwise.
Characters Introduced in Book Two
- Mr. Cabbage Face: The homunculus that the Midnight Sun think might hold the Secret. He was created in a bottle over 500 years ago and tortured by Lord Pharaoh. Then, the king captured him and put him in a pigpen which turns out to be the royal dog kennels, only to be rescued by the Jester. He guards Lord Pharaoh's notes and studies, which are located in Lord Pharaoh's grave and was found by Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji on a camping trip. He was smuggled back to the Terces Society. But after a few days of rudeness, he falls into his master's grave in the battle with the Midnight Sun at the end of book two but is also in This Isn't What It Looks Like.
- Yo-Yoji: Cass' Japanese-American classmate who spent one year in Japan. He took the Oath of Terces with Cass and Max-Ernest. He now helps them on their adventures. He always wears neon sneakers. Max-Ernest (in book two) does not know what to make of him. He may have "more than friend" feelings for Cass.
- Romi and Montana Skelton: - The Skelton Sisters that work for the Midnight Sun. They are pop stars, but they really lip sync. They have their own line of Sock Roaches, designed after Cass' homunculus sock-animal. In book three, they pretended to help out on an African chocolate plantation.
- The Jester: Cass' ancestor and previous Secret Keeper. He saved Mr. Cabbage Face from the pigpen/ dog kennels.
- Lord Pharaoh: Mr. Cabbage Face's creator and master that tortured him over 500 years ago. He is the founder of The Midnight Sun. He comes back as a ghost in book four and is seen again in book five.
- William Wilton Wallace, III: A certified public accountant (Lily's parents and Larry and Wayne's accountant), the Terces Society archivist, also who delivered Cass to the Fire Station as a baby.
- Lily Wei: A Chinese synesthetic violin prodigy. Ms. Mauvais kidnaps her when she was nine. As told in the continued Magician's notebook on thesecretseries.com, she escapes with the help of Master Yang. Member of the Terces Society. She is a Kung-Fu master. She teaches Yo-Yoji violin and introduces him to Terces, the agency featured in The Secret Series.[full citation needed]
Characters Introduced in Book Three
- Señor Hugo: A member of the Midnight Sun. He pretends to be blind, but is really only blind in one eye. He is a chef and owns a restaurant (El Castillo de la Noche) that gives you the sensation of being blind. He aspires to make the best-tasting chocolate in the world by using the Tuning Fork. He makes chocolate that makes Cass, Yo-Yoji, and Simone fall asleep and their minds go back in time.
- Simone: A kidnapped child from Africa that is used as the taste-tester for Hugo's chocolate. She is a Super Taster and also likes cheese. She kept Melanie company in book three before the Terces Society Max-Ernest, Yo-Yoji and Cass came to help.
- Itamar : Chose Ms. Mauvais as the leader of the Midnight Sun. He dies in book three at the age of 489 years, and also made a brief appearance in book one.
Characters Introduced in Book Four
- Paul Clay: (Normally called PC) Max-Ernest's new baby brother who he watches over and pays his parents to babysit him.
- Clara: Is said to be one of Ms. Johnson's relatives. She encounters Cass in the past and present. Clara also gives Cass the monocle. Clara is also mentioned in the third book since she had the tuning fork.
- Anastasia: A secret bandit that Cass meets when she goes back to the past. She marries the Jester and is related to Cass.
- Daniel Ndefdo (commonly Daniel-not-Danielle): One of the friends of the protagonists. His name is usually mispronounced by people, which he keeps correcting. His father is Albert 3-D.
- Glob: An Internet food blogger
Characters Introduced in Book Five
- Albert Ndefdo (or Albert 3-D): A Nigerian scholar of archeology. Begins a romantic relationship with Melanie, Cass's adoptive mom. His son is Daniel-Not-Danielle.
- Bosch, Pseudonymous (May 4, 2016). "Also Known As". The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- The books.