The Book of Nonsense, by David Michael Slater, A Review

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Entertaining New Teen Series!

Looking for a new series to entertain your young reader?  I think any child who reads well enough to manage a 150 page book will enjoy this one!  Adults too if you enjoy the YA genre.

Mystery, magic, adventure, incredible secrets, missing ancient books, all requiring two 13 year olds.  Yes, require is the right word.  It will be up to them.  Imagine how you would feel if the fate of the world rested in your young hands.

The Story

Daphna and Dexter Wax are about to turn thirteen.   The twins are as different from each other as can be, though they have one thing in common.  They are both misfits.  Dex more than Daphna.  Daphna is smart, motivated.  Dex not so much, or so he thinks, even though he remembers everything.  The reasons for their differences become clear as the book moves along.

A new book store in town has Daphna totally excited.  A huge store, the Antiquarian Book Center (ABC), is filled with books on magic, witches, spells—anything supernatural.  Owned by an ancient blind man, Asterius Rash, he relies on a single employee, a huge young man with horribly damaged eyes.  Not your typical, friendly bookstore perhaps, though nevertheless intriguing.

As the story begins, the twin’s father is back in town after a month away scouting books.  He is gone often, much to the disappointment of his two children.  He has come back with a special find of his own—a rare and precious book.  Yet when his daughter takes him to see the vast store, he ends up giving his newly found book to the store’s  owner AND insisting Daphna work at the store besides.  The young girl is beside herself, knowing her father should never have done that.  Was he hypnotized?  Mr. Wax is a changed man after that encounter, behaving strangely.

The twins know something is very wrong and go about discovering answers.  There is a good lesson In that alone.  Facing their fears, learning to trust and support one another instead of the usual arguing and put downs.  Perhaps not easy for a boy and girl of that age.

First Languages From The Past

What they discover stuns them.  When the past comes to the present they see how interconnected little things in their lives can be.  Clues reveal facts about their mother who died when they were babies.  It turns out she held the secrets of the book.  She had once been the only one strong enough to stand against Rash. The  power contained within the book,  power of the “first tongue,” has been Astertius Rash’s lifelong goal.  And now Rash has it.

People in the twins lives are there to help them.  Or so they think. It seems nearly everyone is hiding something. No one is exactly what they seem.  It will be up to the two young children to work together to stop the book  from being used to enslave the world.  They have no choice but to try.

Mr. Slater uses a delightful variety of twists and turns to draw you into his story.  Kids will enjoy them so much!  He also does a good job showing the teens weaknesses and emotions.  They aren’t always perfect kids.  They each have their faults, of course.  They don’t always get along. They don’t have a great relationship with their father.  Fairly normal actions and feelings during the teen years.

The Series

This is the first book of seven in the series, all completed and scheduled to be published every six months. A screenplay is already in the works too.  The books were published a few years ago as the Sacred Book series.  I like the new title of ‘forbidden’ much more.  I’m sure it will be more appealing to youth as well.

The first novel does have a conclusion, though you can see it leads to another book.  When you are dealing with something as ancient as first words, there would naturally be a history and a future to discover.

From an adult point of view I liked the characters even more when they began to help each other. To see the two prickly new teens begin to relate was encouraging. I am looking forward to seeing how they grow through their experiences.  The author does a very good job presenting the disconnect within the family as well as the insecurities of that age and their reactions to those emotions. The early teens can be very lonely for many.

I believe youth of most ages will enjoy the series.   The story moves quickly, offers situations for the read to put themselves in the characters position, encouraging them to use the imagination.  It does contain some violence, enough to interest without being over the top.

Don’t miss our interview with Mr. Slater here.

The Author

The author is a middle school English teacher, living in Reno, Nevada.  With that background, he is well aware of what the age goes through in life.  He also knows what young teens will enjoy and  read.  He has previously published a a number of other books including a selection of books for young children.

The second book in the Forbidden Books series titled, The Book of Secrets, is due out late in 2015.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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