Title: The Name of This Book Is Secret
Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company, 2007
Technically I guess I'm not supposed to tell you what this book is about. The narrator makes that very clear in the first chapter; this is a SECRET and s/he shouldn't even be TELLING us the story. But said narrator can't keep a secret, so there you go. Basically this is the story of how survivalist Cassandra (she is always prepared for a disaster, though to date she hasn't had to deal with a real one), along with unlikely collaborator Max-Ernest (classmate and aspiring comedian), wind up trying to crack they mystery of an Italian magician's suspicious death. Along the way they find out what synesthesia and alchemy are, and why they are connected. (Yeah, I don't know either.)
This is the kind of book that you have the be a specific kind of person to enjoy. I was not one of them. I didn't like how the narrator kept interrupting the story to talk about how s/he shouldn't be telling us this, s/he was stopping, whatever. I found it irritating. I also wasn't too thrilled about the plot itself. The mystery didn't really draw me in, and I found myself skimming the last 50 pages just so I could finish it. I don't think I'd have liked this when I was a kid, either, so it's not just me being a grown-up and not appreciating it because it was written for children.
I didn't particularly like the characters, either. Everyone seemed pretty flat to me, with personality traits thrown in here and there in an attempt to round them out. It just wasn't for me.
That said, readers who enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart might enjoy this. There's a lot about codes and logic and puzzles, which can be really fun. I know that people must buy and read this series, since there are five of them now and the keep being published, so maybe I'm missing what makes this series special. *shrugs*
Disclosure: I bought this ebook from B&N.