From the black page with a great white exclamation point “Warning: Do Not Read Beyond This Page” no even before that on the title page of The Name of this Book Is Secret you are already laughing and wondering what in the world this book is about. By Pseudonymous Bosh this book has the same flavor already as Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events but you know absolutely nothing about what is going to happen next.
The compelling first pages “if, despite my warning, you insist on reading this book, you can’t hold me responsible for the consequences. | And, make no bones about it, this is a very dangerous book. | No, it won’t blow up in your face. Or bite your head off. Or tear you limb from limb. | It probably won’t injure you at all. Unless somebody throws it at you, which is a possibility that should never be discounted. | Generally speaking, books don’t cause much harm. Except when you read them, that is. Then they cause all kinds of problems. | Books can for example, give you ideas. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an idea before , but, if you have, you know how much trouble an idea can get you into.…But the main reason this book is so dangerous is that it concerns a secret.”
Now I cannot speak for all readers but I have to admit that ever part of this book from the front cover to the two pages of X’s before chapter one and a half on is a combination of hilarity and mystery as you are goaded on to find out what happens next. Each chapter is begun with a humorous picture like chapter 32 “Do-it-yourself-ending” because “Only bad books have good endings. If a book is any good, its ending is always bad—because you don’t want the book to end.”
This book is full of random things like the pages of x’s, chapter 32’s lined pages with instructions to “write in blue or black ink only. Attach extra pages as needed” a chapter Zero or denouement and an appendix with recipes, and explanations of terms and tricks from the book. For anyone interested I recommend this book for 5th grade and up, it is a lot of fun, easy to read, and has such a great hook that even the most reluctant readers probably won’t be able to resist. I would compare this YA work with Dave Pilky’s Captain Underpants, or Lemony Snicket’s Series or Unfortunate Events books for young readers. For a reader who enjoyed The Name of This Book Is Secret I would suggest the second in the series called If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late. The subsequent two works in the secret series are This Book is Not Good for You, and This isn’t What it Looks Like. Just as I described the first book the whole Secret Series is praised by Booklist and School Library Journal.