OK, I promise the next book I review will be adult fiction. But for now...
The Name of This Book is Secret is a children's mystery book that starts out by saying it can't possibly let the reader know anything about the mystery or secrets in question, for fear of danger. Names are changed and information blanked out with X's, all quirky but not something that can be kept up if there's to be any storyline. The book soon settled in to being more of a normal story, which I liked on one hand and didn't on the other. I felt that it was a cop out after all the going-on about protecting the secrets and changing information, and meant the style altered significantly a few chapters in. But having said that, it meant we could get on with the story.
The plot involves a girl called Cass, a 'survivalist' who carries around a rucksack of important things in case of emergency. But the thing is that Cass has never yet had to survive anything. She makes a new friend Max-Ernest and together they get themselves involved in solving the mystery left behind by a recently deceased magician. They find a symphony of smells- a scientific instrument that allows you to communicate through smell, which proves to be very useful. The children meet a beautiful couple- Ms. Mauvais and Dr L- who look too perfect to be true. The children soon become suspicious that Ms Mauvais and Dr. L have something to do with the magicians death. After lots of sneaking around and uncovering secrets, Cass and Max-Ernest believe that Ms. Mauvais is much older than she seems, and that she and Dr. L are in the business of kidnapping children. So when a boy from school called Benjamin Blake goes missing, Cass sets out to rescue him. She and Max-Ernest follow him to the Midnight Sun Spa, where he is going to be used horrifically to feed the needs of the youth seekers, of which Ms. Mauvais is the leader.
I found this book interesting enough and I think many children would like it. The problem for me is that the book pretty much copies Lemony Snicket's style (A Series of Unfortunate Events) but it's simply not as good. All the build up doesn't pay off, and I felt at the end that there was too much mystery still uncovered. There are four more in the series, but I don't agree with leaving questions unanswered and plot undeveloped just because there are more books to come. I firmly believe a book should be able to stand alone, as well as be part of a set.
3 out of five ¶¶¶