You Have to Stop This, by Pseudonymous Bosch

Avid readers of my blog might have noticed that there was no Timeslip Tuesday post yesterday. This is because at nine o'clock on Monday night, I finished You Have to Stop This, by Pseudonymous Bosch (Little, Brown, 2011), which is book five in the Secret Series, at which point I realized that it wasn't the timeslip story I had thought it was. A little investigation showed that I was thinking of the Time Travel Chocolate mentioned in the previous book, This Isn't What It Looks Like. It was too late to quickly read another book from scratch, and Tuesday rapidly became a day in which no blogging was possible (ie, busy with work and family).

And then today, instead of peacefully finishing up this post at the library during lunch break, it was off to the doctor's office with a damaged child (very fortunatly, not concussed and broken, as had been feared. Phew.). Which is why this post didn't go up around noon.

But regardless, I have now read my first Pseudonymous Bosch book, which is also the first book I've received from its publisher for Cybils review. It was fairly easy to pick up what was happening, despite not having read the earlier books. Three kids (Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji) are trying to solve an ancient riddle that will reveal a powerful Secret, and a bad guy who happens to be an immortal ghost type with alchemical powers is trying to stop them.

The key to the secret seems to be the mummy that's the centerpiece of a new exhibit in town....but, since Cass accidentally breaks the mummies finger off the first time she sees it, the three kids are the prime subjects when the mummy himself goes missing. And an adventurous adventure (to Las Vegas) ensues as the kids try to find the mummy again, and unlock its secret, before the bad guy does.

It's a light, fun read--I turned the pages rapidly. Bosch is an intrusive narrator, but politely keeps his intrusions in discrete sections, so that his arch asides and over-the-top interjections do not unduly disturb the flow of the story. Cass and Yo-Yoji never quite became three dimensional to me (probably if I'd read books 1-4 my feelings would have been different), but I found Max-Ernest (a quintessentially socially awkward geek type) very engaging.

Likewise, because I haven't read the first books, I have no idea if this is a satisfying conclusion to the series as a whole. The story seemed fairly self-contained, though, so I didn't feel as though I were lost at sea.

Some of the many puns were funny; others not so much.

Basically, I'm going to have to conclude that this is a great book for its intended audience of pun and adventure loving kids....and go back and read the first four! Especially the fourth, which really does seem to be about time travel...maybe...I hope!

Thank you very much, Little, Brown, for supporting the Cybils by sending review copies!


  1. Pseudonymous Bosch is an absolute favorite of mine. I noted that this is your first Bosch book - and most of the characters seem familiar and from his synaesthesia series. I wonder if it's part of the Secret Series?

  2. Yes, Myra--I went back in and clarified that it is the fifth book in that series! Thanks!

  3. The students do like these, but they were a bit too Lemony (Snicket) for my taste. Hope that damaged child mends quickly..

  4. I feel like a weirdo because I LOVE the intrusive narrator.

    Also, I am glad this is readable for those who haven't read any other books in this series, like me. That's something that I'm finding matters to me more and more as I read these Cybils books.


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