Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog on Mondays for a list of other sites featuring MG books.
Today I’ll talk about The Apothecary by Maile Meloy*.
From Goodreads: It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows—a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.
From Vicki: First off, as Janie and Benjamin are 14, calling this middle grade might be a stretch, but only a tiny one. I think the content and tone still fit.
Cold War-era London setting. Tiny blossoms of feelings toward the opposite sex. A sacred book. Transformative elixirs. Adventure and intrigue. What is not to like?
The details, both historical and alchemical, are amazing. The characters are distinct and memorable, and some are quite amusing. Ms. Meloy even referenced Great Expectations! If you’ve followed my blog long enough, then you know how I feel about Great Expectations.
Have you read anything good about alchemy lately?
*Thanks to Akoss Ketoglo for another great MG recommendation!