This Isn't What It Looks Like
September 21, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reviewed: Hardcover from library
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Cass may be in grave danger. She's eaten the dreaded Time Travel Chocolate--and you know what that means. I won't even begin to tell you what trouble this delicacy has caused in the past. If only Cass could leave the past behind! But it appears she is literally stuck in it.
Meanwhile, Max-Ernest is worried for his best friend. Can our expert hypochondriac diagnose Cass's condition before it's too late? And will he have what it takes to save the survivalist?
For Max-Ernest, it's a race against time; for Cass, a race through it. For the rest of you, well, it's a race to find out what happens next, of course. But proceed with caution, and be sure to read carefully because...this isn't what it looks like.
Ah, we're almost at the end of the Secret Series. Of course, I've already read the last book, so I suppose I could say I'm at the end. Except I'm not, because there's more story after this book, but this is the last one I hadn't read yet. For what I would consider to be a kids' book, re-reading this series has been surprisingly enjoyable. I would recommend it right off the bat for it's unique characters and quirky writing style.
For a book that's set in a place we are told to picture as our own neighborhood, there is still some kind of fantastical element to the setting. Cass's dream world, for example, is back in the renaissance period, so if you think you'd get bored of a modern day suburban area, you have that as a break. I tend to like it when books incorporate multiple time periods into the plot too.
I grew to love Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji throughout these books. Especially Cass. Cass is really cool. I loved her adventure into the past to find the Jester, the Secret, and really herself. It was brave of her, and Cass is usually brave, but this seemed pretty out there for her. It wasn't just action and survival this time; it was a lot of thinking too, which is more Max-Ernest's thing.
It was definitely a change to see our heroes separated during this book. I'm so used to Max-Ernest and Cass doing everything together, so I liked the way the author put them into a situation where they could no longer play off each other. It showed that Max-Ernest could indeed take some risks, and that Cass could slow down and use logic. Yo-Yoji wasn't actually there for that much of the book, though, which was a little disappointing, as he is my second favorite character (and he's Asian). I would've liked to see more of Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais in place of Lord Pharaoh, because I feel their purpose is to do his dirty work, and he should appear as seldom as possible.
I found This Isn't What It Looks Like to be as thrilling as the rest of the Secret Series. I never would've thought I could read 423 pages in one day. This wasn't necessarily my favorite storyline out of all the books, but it brought something new as always. I adore Pseudonymous Bosch's periodic breaks for comic relief, making it seem as if he himself were a character. That is definitely exclusive to this series.
Overall, this book was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to read it (after they read the first three, of course). Kids can love it, teens can love it, and adults can love it. Most of all, I can love it.