Friday, August 26, 2011

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy - Once Upon A Twilight Book Tour

Book Details:
Title: The Apothecary (ARC)
Author: Maile Meloy
2011, Penguin
ISBN: 978-0-399-25627-1
Genre: YA

Book Summary:
It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. There, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and becomes fascinated by his son, Benjamin Burrows - a boy who isn't afraid to stand up to authority and who 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 those secrets out of the hands of Russian spies. Discovering transformative elixirs they never belieed cold exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending nuclear disaster.

My Review:
This was a very different book. I don't read a lot of Young Adult fiction, but this was a fun read. I felt like it was definitely geared for a little bit younger set - early high school rather than later. The characters were very innocent (which I liked) and I felt were pretty fitting for fourteen-year-olds in the 1950s.

The story takes place during about one month in 1952 London. Janie's parents have had to move from LA because they work in Hollywood and they are suspected of being Communists during the Red Scare. They move to post-war London, England, but there is a new threat - the Cold War and nuclear weapons.

I thought the author did an excellent job of weaving the characters in and out of the storyline. The plot is definitely fanciful, but you are always urged to "believe in the possibilities...." Benjamin and Janie had good chemistry - although they don't have too much time for romance, since it's one action-packed scene after another.

This book is filled with spies, amazing science (that reminds me more of spells and potions, than science) and Russians! "Science" is used to transform and mask humans, as well as simple things like memory erasing, truth-telling and painting boats! Definitely an interesting read and worth picking up if you like anything sci-fi or just a little bit unbelieveable.

One other note: of the books that I've read as an Advanced Readers Copy, this was probably the best-edited book I've seen. There was maybe one typo that I picked up on (I'm not saying there weren't more!) and I really appreciated that!

This book will be released October 4, 2011.

Thank you to Once Upon A Twilight for hosting The Apothecary Book Tour and giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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