Let's pretend we're in 4th grade, OK?

My internship affords me many wonderful opportunities, one of them being that I can now read books intended for much younger audiences without looking like a lamewad. Secretly I just love middle grade and young adult fiction, but at 21, I'm starting to need excuses that other people will accept as to why I still read high school material. So thank you, Skipping Stone.

Recently I've discovered a marvelous series that begins with a book called "The Name of This Book Is Secret." The second installment is called "If You're Reading This, It's Too Late." I'm about start the third, "This Book Is Not Good for You." I don't care that they were written for nine-year-olds; these books are GREAT!

The tales are quirky and fantastical mysteries full of puzzles and riddles that you can solve right alongside the characters, which is fun EVEN IF you're old like me and have probably heard them all before. And everything in the book is a SECRET, including the setting (that's right, now you HAVE to use your imagination!) Even the author's name, "Pseudonymous Bosch," is a secret. The story itself is so very secret that the narrator continually chickens out, refusing to tell the rest, before bribing himself into carrying on with rewards of cheese and chocolate.

Cass, the pointy-eared heroine, always carries a survival backpack in case of a catastrophe. Max-Ernest, the logical and loquacious hero, lives in a house divided down the middle by his divorced parents, who refuse even to acknowledge each other's presence, let alone cross into the other's half of the house. Guess it's true when they say can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Together these misfits set out to discover the truth of magician Pietro Bergamo's death, but they quickly get tangled up with the Midnight Sun, a society hell-bent on achieving immortality. At last the two prove themselves worthy of admission to the good guys' secret - I mean Terces - society.

There are a zillion reasons to love this series, but one of my favorites is that it's pretty much all about synaethesia. If you don't know by now, I'm obsessed with this strange condition, which cross-wires your senses so that you can see music or smell numbers or, in this case, see scents. So the Secret series is entertaining AND educational!

If you're a kid, put this on your Christmas list. If you're a parent, sneak it onto the end of your son or daughter's letter to Santa. If you're anybody else, just grab any random kid off the street and start reading to them. It'll look legit, I promise.

Peace, love, and coffee!!!
Miss Rex


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