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The apothecary /

Follows a fourteen-year-old American girl whose life unexpectedly transforms when she moves to London in 1952 and gets swept up in a race to save the world from nuclear war. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Schoenherr, Ian,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2011
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SUMMARY

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.

Together with Ian Schoenherr's breathtaking illustrations, this is a truly stunning package from cover to cover.


Review by Booklist Review

Janie, 14, has been living happily with her screenwriter parents in Hollywood. But it's 1952, and blacklisting makes it imperative that the family moves to London, where a TV job awaits. Janie is not happy about this, but a startling adventure opens to her as she becomes friends with Benjamin Burrows, whose father is an apothecary, and not just any apothecary. Mr. Burrows is part of a small, international group of scientists who are trying to contain the destructive results of the atomic bomb, including a weapon that is being tested off the coast of Russia. Those who know little about blacklisting, the Cold War, and European life after WWII will just have to dive into the fantasy-adventure pool, which runs long and deep. Magic elixirs, transformational disguises, and everyday cunning help Janie, Benjamin, and several scientists elude capture and defeat the desperate cabal that supports the Soviet Union. Readers must be willing to traverse a complicated tale and avoid stepping in a few plot holes, but Meloy offers a strong narrator in Janie and an intriguing mix of history and mystery.--Cooper, Ilen. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

When the House Committee on Un-American Activities targets Janie's television writer parents, the 14-year-old and her family flee from Los Angeles to London. There, Janie meets Benjamin, a "defiant" classmate, and his father, the neighborhood apothecary, who is involved in much more than hot water bottles and aspirin. In fact, he is part of a long line of apothecaries who have discovered miraculous secrets-truth serums, invisibility, amazing physical transformations-and he is now working with scientists on an incredible plan that has global ramifications with regard to the escalating tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. Some readers may need to brush up on cold war history to fully appreciate the stakes, but even those with a vague understanding of the times will be quickly swept up in this thoroughly enjoyable adventure, filled with magic, humor, memorable characters, and just a bit of sweet romance. With evocative, confident prose and equally atmospheric spot art from Schoenherr, adult author Meloy's first book for young readers is an auspicious one. Readers will hope they haven't heard the last from Janie and Benjamin. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A fairly interesting mystery set mostly in 1952 London, The Apothecary offers a little of everything; magic, romance, mystery, and historical fiction. When friends of Janie's parents are blacklisted in Hollywood (they are a television writing team), the Scotts move to London. Around the corner from their flat is a mysterious shop with an enigmatic apothecary. The man's son is Janie's new friend at school. When she and Benjamin, who aspires to be a spy, happen to witness a handoff involving a Russian attache in the park, the teens get more than they bargained for. As it turns out, not only is Benjamin's father involved, but the Latin instructor at their school is also a part of this web of espionage. The two rush to save the apothecary only to find out that he is attempting to stop a nuclear test in Soviet territory. Everyone goes along to help stop the explosion. However, the magic occasionally feels like a contrivance to move the plot forward instead of an organic part of the fantasy. The ending is sort of a free-for-all, and the created world doesn't really keep to the rules set up at the beginning. Nonetheless, this is a highly readable adventure/mystery, and it is greatly enhanced by Schoenherr's graceful and evocative illustrations.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Maile Meloy was born in Helena, Montana on January 1, 1972. She received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of California, Irvine. Her works include Liars and Saints, A Family Daughter, and The Apothecary. She has won numerous awards including The Paris Review's Aga Khan Prize for Fiction for her story, Aqua Boulevard, in 2001; the PEN/Malamud Award for Half in Love in 2003; and the California Book Awards Silver Medal for Fiction for Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It. She has also received the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004. In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta's 21 Best Young American Novelists.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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