Warning: this description has not been authorized by Pseudonymous Bosch. As much as he'd love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn't want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn't want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.
Blending the offbeat humor of Lemony Snicket and insight into the preadolescent psyche a la Jerry Spinelli with the captivating conundrums of Blue Balliett, the debut novel from a pseudonymous author is equal parts supernatural whodunit, suspense-filled adventure and evocative coming-of-age tale. When an unlikely pair of 11-year-old outsiders-survivalist Cassandra and aspiring stand-up comedian Max-Ernest-team up to solve a mystery surrounding the alleged death of an old magician and the strange and wondrous possessions he left behind, they unwittingly cross paths with the villainous Dr. L and his ageless accomplice Ms. Mauvais, who are obsessed with finding the magician's notebook. After the diabolical duo shows up at Cass and Max-Ernest's school, one of their classmates (a gifted artist named Benjamin) goes missing. Convinced that Benjamin has been kidnapped and faces mortal danger, Cass and Max-Ernest track the doctor and his glove-wearing sidekick to an exclusive and remote "sensorium" cum spa, where they uncover an arcane, alchemical, potentially apocalyptic bombshell. Relayed by an often witty, sometimes arch narrator, and loaded with brainteasers-anagrams, coded messages, palindromes and more-as well as such bounty as a brief and idiosyncratic history of Benito Mussolini, the definition of synesthesia and how Earl Grey tea got its name, Bosch's deliberately eccentric offering is likely to acquire a cult following. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 30, 2007
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