If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late Review
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Last year, in his (or her) book, The Name of This Book is Secret, the mysterious storyteller known as Pseudonymous Bosch introduced young readers to two young characters whose names definitely aren’t Cass or Max-Ernest. Now, in If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, their story continues.

After their first big adventure, survivalist Cass and comedian/magician Max-Ernest were left waiting for their initiation into the secret society known as the Terces Society.

Finally, months later, they get a mysterious note. At first, it just looks like another note from Cass’ mom—but when they take a closer look, they realize that it’s written in code. The note directs them to the docks, where they’re supposed to meet the magician Pietro Bergamo.

With the help of their new friend, Yo-Yoji, Cass and Max-Ernest make their way to the docks, only to find themselves kidnapped by Pietro’s twin brother, the evil Dr. L, and the beautiful Ms. Mauvais. And so begins their race against the Midnight Sun to find the homunculus—a creature that Cass has seen only in her dreams.

Like The Name of This Book is Secret, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late is another silly yet witty book, following the adventures of a couple of unconventional but lovable young heroes. Cassandra and Max-Ernest aren’t the pretty, popular kids in school; they’re the “nuts.” Cass is a worrywart who carries a backpack full of survival equipment wherever she goes. She also has huge pointy ears. And Max-Ernest is a highly pragmatic little boy who tells jokes that aren’t really funny—and does magic tricks that don’t always work. They’re smart and daring, and they’re definitely quirky—and they’re the kind of characters that just about any kid can relate to (and root for).

Once again, the kids go on another thrilling adventure, making If You’re Reading This an exciting, fast-paced read. It’s a little bit creepy—and Cass and Max-Ernest are almost always in some kind of danger—but it’s funny, too. For instance, while the homunculus is an eerie and mysterious Frankenstein-like creature that was created by a mad scientist, he was grown in a bottle that was submerged in…poop (and what kid doesn’t love to read the word “poop”?).

But the best thing about If You’re Reading This is the pseudonymous author’s fun writing style. He repeatedly frets about telling you things that he knows he’s not supposed to tell you (for your own safety, of course!), but he just can’t help himself. He’s a bit of a scaredy cat, really, but he’s also a source of all kinds of interesting facts and figures (which you’ll find in the various footnotes, as well as in the appendix). You never know what he’ll come up with next, though, so you might want to pay close attention—because there could be a pop quiz at any time.

This second book in the series doesn’t feel quite as fresh and fun as the first, but the lovably odd characters and the cleverly-written story still make If You’re Reading This a book that both grown-ups and kids will enjoy.

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