Sunday, July 5, 2015

Teen review: Fantasy series

Reviewed by Baron Kelly, grade 11

This Isn't What It Looks Like, by Pseudonymous Bosch, is a 423-page mystery novel and the fourth of a five-book series called The Secret Series. In this novel, Cass (the main character) has eaten Time Travel Chocolate from the previous novel of the series and fallen into a coma. While in her coma, she goes back in time in a ghost-like form (solid and there, but invisible). While in the past, she has to try to find “The Secret” and then get back to her own time.

Meanwhile, while she is in the hospital in a coma, Max-Ernest (her best friend) has to get her back to their time before it's too late or she'll be trapped in the past. The only tool he has to accomplish this goal is a special monocle.

The story was a bit strange to pick up, as I had not read the previous books, but it was easy enough to get into. It's a fairly silly book (for example, it randomly cuts for two pages and gives silly step-by-step instructions about “how to disguise your book”). Despite silly intentions, it has an interesting plot and is creative in its own way: For example, it starts at chapter 10 and counts down for the chapters that involve Cass in the past, but when it is Max-Ernest's perspective, it starts at chapter 1 (which is actually chapter 2) and counts up. It proceeds as chapters 10, 1, 9, 2, 8, etc.

I'd recommend this book to most people in grades 7-11 if you're into creative books that have a mystery aspect and can mess with you a little bit. I'm currently in 11th but read it in 10th grade. It's a fairly simple book, but it does require a lot of paying attention, and if you miss the fine details, it can sometimes lead to extreme confusion.

I would give it a 4 out of 5 mostly due to the tricks it plays on the reader, but if I had read the previous books it would most likely jump to 4.5. I would recommend reading the previous books before this one, but reading this one alone as I did is fine too. But if you read it, just remember: This isn't what it looks like.

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