The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Series: The Apothecary #1
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction, action
Published on October 4, 2011
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons
Read From: 3.22.12 - 3.23.12
It's 1952 and the Scott family has moved unexpectedly from Los Angeles to London. Janie Scott feels uncertain in her strange new school until she meets Benjamin Burrows, the local apothecary's curiously defiant son, who dreams of becoming a spy.
Benjamin's father promises Janie a cure for homesickness, and it seems to work. But Mr. Burrows is no ordinary apothecary, and he holds dangerous secrets. When he disappears, Benjamin and Janie find themselves entrusted with his sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia. And Russian spies are intent on getting their hands on it.
Discovering transformative elixirs they never imagined could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous quest to save the apothecary and prevent an impending nuclear disaster.
When I initially heard of this book, I was dying to read it. Then I read Chapter One and I became worried that it would not be as good as I was anticipating. Finally, I got around to actually reading the whole thing. And in the end, I was not disappointed. Both Janie and Benjamin are an excellent young hero and heroine, and the Author wastes no time in jumping into the adventure. Almost as soon as Janie arrives in London, things get exciting, and they don't slow down until the end. Along the way, there are a few surprising twists, and all of them good ones, and the end is satisfyingly bittersweet. The Author also did a good job in getting Janie's parents out of the way for the duration of the adventure, so they would not impede her progress. Parents always get in the way of a good adventure.
The Author's attempt to write accents was a little annoying at times, especially for Jin Lo, and I wish Sergei had been in it more, but overall this was an entertaining read with lots of good characters, spy espionage and disguises, and just enough strangeness to make it an original idea. It comes recommended.
Others in This Series: