Thursday, March 8, 2012

Apothecary by Maile Melroy

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.

This is a book that will not only appeal to the middle school reader but has enough historical significance, dealing with Cold War politics and McCarthyism, and even a little bit of romance which should appeal to the teen reader.  There is an excellent review at the School Library Journal by Elizabeth Bird, Collection Specialist for the New York Public Library's Youth Collection,

Maile Melroy is not a newcomer to literary awards or industry recognition of her talent. So it should come as no surprise that "Apothecary" has been selected as one of the YALSA titles for 2012.

Maile Meloy was born in Helena, Montana, in 1972. Her short stories have been published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Her first story collection, Half in Love, received the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters , the John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares, and the PEN/Malamud Award. Her first novel, Liars and Saints, was shortlisted for England’s 2005 Orange Prize. Both books were New York Times Notable Books. She has also received The Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in California.

Apothecary is available at Paragraphs or can be purchased online in HardcoverUnabridged Audio Book on CD

Also available as a Blio ebook

Or as a Google ebook

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