Author Pseudonymous Bosch is certainly no stranger to secrets. His true identity remains under wraps, and his bestselling books for middle-graders are known collectively as the Secret series, a five-volume run that kicked off with The Name of This Book Is Secret (Little, Brown, 2007) and concluded with You Have to Stop This (Little, Brown, 2011); the series is approaching two million copies sold across all formats and foreign rights have been sold in 17 countries. Today Bosch returns to bookshelves with Bad Magic, the first title in a mystery-adventure trilogy that features Clay, the younger brother of Max-Ernest from the Secret books, and his experiences at a summer camp for struggling youth located on a remote island.

The new entry will probably look familiar to Secret fans, too, as it features more than 40 black-and-white illustrations by Secret series illustrator Gilbert Ford. Far from keeping this launch a secret, Little, Brown has announced a 100,000 copy first-printing for Bad Magic and has posted a trailer on YouTube.

The build-up for Bad Magic’s debut began several months ago, with the author’s appearances (or “sightings” as they are often dubbed) at various conferences, panels, and signings, including BookExpo America in May and Comic-Con International in San Diego in July. Bosch penned a letter that accompanied the ARCs that were sent out to booksellers, media, and reviewers in June, and Barnes & Noble stores nationwide distributed exclusive Bad Magic chapter samplers this summer as part of its Get Pop-Cultured promotion. In addition, all paperback and ebook versions of the Secret series have recently been updated to promote Bad Magic via stickers on covers, teasers, and back ads.

A dedicated website counted down to Bad Magic’s pub date and will soon be home to teasers, information, and activities for readers. As part of the launch celebration, Little, Brown gave away 50,000 branded textbook covers containing a book excerpt and teaser information to students in grades three to six in schools and in after-school programs across the country this month. Bosch embarks on a national tour beginning at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival on September 20, with stops in New York City, Austin, and San Francisco before ending at YALLFest, the Charleston Young Adult Book Festival, on November 7 and 8. Bookstores and libraries that aren’t on the tour route can still be part of the hoopla by using the publisher’s event kit to host their own party.

According to his editor, Lisa Yoskowitz, executive editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Bosch’s fan base is strong, and in for a treat with this new outing. And she’s confident that both longtime enthusiasts and readers just discovering the author will enjoy being “carried away to a new world of mystery and adventure where magic may just exist, and nothing is quite what it seems – also, there are llamas.” Mandy Brooks, director of events and marketing for BookPeople in Austin, Tex., where Bosch will visit on September 27, shares that assessment. “I think readers are drawn to his books because they’re a great mix of mystery, magic, and humor,” Brooks says. “They’re easy books to love and share with friends.” She expects “a nice big crowd” on the 27th, noting that the last time Bosch appeared at her store, he attracted an audience of “about 100 kids and parents.” Obviously, the secret is out that Bosch’s new series is set to make a splash.

Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch, illus. by Gilbert Ford. Little, Brown, $17 Sept. ISBN 978-0-316-32038-2