The Apothecary

( 58 )

Overview

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. ...

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Overview

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. Contains a teaser chapter of the sequel, The Apprentices.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
"Satisfies on all levels."
The Los Angeles Times
"Pitch-perfect."
Booklist
"Meloy offers a strong narrator in Janie and an intriguing mix of history and mystery."
Krystyna Poray Goddu
…the book, with its intricately constructed plot, well-paced suspense, credibly rendered fantastical elements, thoughtfully drawn characters and authentically detailed settings, satisfies on all levels. Even for a reader predisposed against the genre…Meloy weaves fantasy into a fine work of historical fiction, bringing to life the cold-war era when everyday life was permeated by fear of nuclear disaster and Russian spies lurking everywhere. More important, though, she brings to her first book for young readers the same emotional resonance that has won acclaim for her adult fiction, grounding her story in the intricacies of family love, friendship and loyalty, blended here with the complicated fluctuations of adolescence.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
When Janie Scott's Hollywood scriptwriter parents fall under scrutiny during the McCarthy trials of the early 1950's, the family moves from Hollywood to London to escape persecution from the Federal Marshals. Janie feels awkward and out-of-place until she meets Benjamin, the son of the local apothecary, who dreams of becoming a spy. When the apothecary suddenly disappears, Benjamin's spy games start to feel too real. Janie and Benjamin must discover the truth and find a way to rescue his father, using the information they find in an ancient book that the apothecary asked them to keep safe. They discover that magic and science are closely related, allies might be found in the least likely of places, and sometimes taking the impossible path is the only option. Carefully weaving elements of mystery and intrigue, magic and fantasy into the tapestry of a very real historical setting, Meloy tells a captivating story about having the courage to do the right thing, even when the odds are stacked against it. The first few chapters were a little slow as Meloy set the stage for the story, but by the end of chapter six, I couldn't put the book down. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
VOYA - Ava Ehde
This entertaining and informative novel ventures into the infrequently explored Cold War era. Janie's parents, both television writers, are forced to leave Los Angeles to escape the hysteria of the Red Scare. The family heads to London where the post-war, cold-water flat does not include enough heat or blankets, so they head off to the apothecary for hot-water bottles. Mr. Burrows, the apothecary, makes Janie a special homesickness remedy, which unfortunately does not also address her frustration in attending a very traditional school, wearing a dull uniform, being mocked by posh girls, having to learn Latin, and practicing her "duck-and-cover" drills. It is during one of the drills that Janie notices Benjamin, Mr. Burrows's son, and finds him crush-worthy. The kidnapping of his father leads them on a great escapade filled with shape-changing, invisibility, and a resourceful new friend, Pip. This atmospheric first effort in the young adult arena by this author touches on the big issues in an adventure filled with imagination, fun, and first love. The tale is told with perspicacity after a slow start. It is good, strong historical fiction spiced with intrigue, magical realism, mystery, suspense, and science. The plot and pacing are a bit uneven at points, but the spies and historical twist give it a lot of flavor. The illustrations are fluid and delightful. This is a great pleasure read for ages ten and up and may even encourage readers to pursue more period information. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
School Library Journal
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 attaché 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
Kirkus Reviews

Following the paths of Neil Gaiman, Julia Alvarez and Carl Hiaasen, bestselling author Meloy (Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, 2009, etc.) takes a successful plunge into middle-grade fiction.

Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities can interrogate Janie Scott's Hollywood writing-team parents for being possible Communists, they move to London. "I was no witty, patient, adaptable Jane Austen," the 14-year-old admits as she recalls helping to save the world in 1952. While palling around with Benjamin Burrows, who'd rather be a spy than follow in the apothecary family tradition, Janie becomes entangled with Cold War espionage after Benjamin's father mysteriously disappears, leaving behind a secret 700-year-old book of magic elixirs. As the teens, joined by pickpocket Pip (seemingly plucked out of Great Expectations), search for the apothecary (truly an alchemist), they must also outrun their dreamy Latin teacher (who could be a double agent), rescue a kidnapped Chinese chemist and work with other scientists from around the world to thwart the Soviet's detonation of an atomic bomb 20 times more powerful than Hiroshima's, all while testing out some of the elixirs along the way.

Although Janie's narration loses some of its charm and humor as the adventure escalates, its blend of history, culture and the anxiety of the time with magical "science" will keep readers just as spellbound as the characters. (art not seen) (Historical fantasy. 10-14)

The Barnes & Noble Review

For fourteen-year-old Janie Scott, daughter of a husband-wife comedy writing duo, life in midcentury Los Angeles involves women with French twists and men with undone ties drinking lemonade and wine on her parents' porch, avocados eaten in "fat, green slices with salt right out of the shell," and practicing her Katharine Hepburn swagger in bright green, flared sailor trousers. Within mere paragraphs, Maile Meloy — novelist, short story writer, and sister of Decemberists frontman and freshly minted young adult novelist Colin Meloy — demonstrates the snap, color, and wit that suffuse every page of The Apothecary, her first novel for young adults.

Unfortunately, 1952 is also the period when wartime "panic" has been replaced with "a constant, low-grade anxiety" — Cold War "duck and cover" drills and paranoia about Communists. Janie's parents, on the verge of being blacklisted for political reasons, flee with her overnight to London, where they are employed to write for the BBC under pseudonyms (the TV show is modeled after a similar real-life Cold War program). "Going from Los Angeles to London in 1952 was like leaving a Technicolor movie and walking into a black-and-white one," says Janie, now confined to a small, gray apartment with hot-water bottles for heat and black-market eggs.

But she soon befriends Benjamin, the son of the local apothecary, whose seemingly benign home remedies turn out to be centuries- old scientific potions that can turn people into birds, render children invisible, and perhaps even deflect nuclear war. A Chinese scientist, a Russian spy, a Bulgarian viscount, an orphan named Pip, and a crew of Norwegian sailors join the teens in their quest to save the world. Meloy's heady, fantastical universe is grounded everywhere in small, carefully observed truths: "[T]o be a kid," she writes, "is to be invisible and to listen, and to interpret things that aren't necessarily meant for you to hear — because how else do you find out about the world?"

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142422069
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 55,727
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Maile Meloy

Maile Meloy is the author of the story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009, and the novels Liars and Saints, shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize, and A Family Daughter. Meloy's stories have been published in The New Yorker, and she has received The Paris Review's Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta's Best American Novelists under 35. She lives in California.

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      1972
    2. Place of Birth:
      Helena, Montana
    1. Education:
      M.F.A. in Fiction, University of California, Irvine, 2000

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2

 

The Apothecary

It’s safe to say I was not graceful about the move to London. I was no witty, patient, adaptable Jane Austen. And if I was anything like Katharine Hepburn, it was in the scenes where she’s being a giant pest. I cried in the taxi all the way to the airport, past the churning oil rigs on La Cienega. I cried on the first airplane I’d ever been on, which should have been exciting, and was exciting—all those tiny buildings below—but I wasn’t going to give my parents the satisfaction of knowing that I was enjoying it.

At Heathrow Airport in London, there was a framed picture of the brand-new Queen Elizabeth II on the wall.

“She’s not that much older than you are,” my mother said.

“And she’s been through a war, and her father’s dead, and

now she has to be queen, poor thing.”

“See?” my father said. “Your life could be worse.”

I looked at the picture of the young queen. We had escaped ahead of the U.S. marshals, locking up the house and packing only the things we could carry. My parents were going to be writing for the BBC under fake names—fake names, when my mother wouldn’t even put yellow food coloring in margarine! We were living like criminals or spies. Although I was angry, standing there looking at the plucky young queen’s portrait, I allowed myself to think that my mother was right, and it might be an adventure.

But February in London crushed those hopes. We took a taxi through streets that were still bomb-scarred and desolate, seven years after the war’s end, to a tiny third-floor flat on St. George’s Street in Primrose Hill. Across the street was a haberdasher—my father said he was like a tailor—standing outside his shop with his hands behind his back and a look on his face as if no one would ever come in.

Our new landlady, Mrs. Parrish, took off her apron and patted a wild cloud of hair to show us around. She said the gas water heater over the kitchen sink was broken, and we would have to heat pots of water on the stove. The kitchen was along one side of the living room, no bigger than a closet, and could be closed away just like a closet. The rooms were freezing and the walls seemed damp. The brown wallpaper was water-stained near the ceiling.

We must have looked dismayed, because the distracted Mrs. Parrish suddenly focused on us. She was not going to let some spoiled Americans fail to appreciate their good fortune.

“You’re lucky to get the place, you know,” she said.

“Of course,” my mother said quickly. “We’re very grateful.” “People are queuing up for a flat like this, with its own

lavatory, and separate bedrooms, and a working telephone line. But the BBC asked to hold it, specially.” It was clear that we did not deserve such a bounty, when her countrymen, who had lost so much, were still going without private bathrooms.

“We’re very grateful,” my mother repeated.

“Do you have your ration cards for the marketing?”

“Not yet,” my mother said.

“You’ll need those,” the landlady said. “And you’ll find that

the butcher sells out first thing in the morning, ration cards or no.” She lowered her voice. “I can sell you some eggs, if you like. They’re hard to get, but I know someone with hens.”

“That would be very nice.”

Mrs. Parrish showed us where to put penny coins into the gas heater in the wall, to make it work. We didn’t have any English pennies, but said we would get some.

“Mark you,” she said, brushing dust from the heater off her hands, “it doesn’t do much. Apart from eat up pennies. You’ll want your hot water bottles for the beds.”

“We don’t have hot water bottles,” my mother said.

“Try the apothecary,” the landlady said. “Around the corner, on Regent’s Park. He’ll have pennies, too.”

And she left us alone.

My mother started investigating the closet kitchen, and my father and I put on every warm thing we had, which wasn’t much, to go find the apothecary, which my father said was like a pharmacy. The sky over St. George’s Street was gray, and the buildings were gray, and people wore gray. It sounds like a cliché, but it was true. Going from Los Angeles to London in 1952 was like leaving a Technicolor movie and walking into a black-and-white one.

Around the corner on Regent’s Park Road, just as the landlady said, we came to a storefront with two bay windows full of glass bottles. A painted sign over one window said APOTHECARY, and one over the other window said ESTABLISHED 1871. My father pushed the paned glass door open and held it for me. The shop had a strange smell, musty and herbal and metallic all at once. Behind the counter was a wall of jars. A balding man on a wheeled ladder, halfway up the wall, pulled a jar down. He seemed not to have noticed us, but then he spoke. “I’ll just be a moment,” he said.

He carefully climbed down the ladder with the jar in one hand, set it on the counter, and looked up at us, ready for our needs. He had wire-rimmed glasses and the air of someone who didn’t rush things, who paid close attention to each particular task before moving on to the next.

“We’re looking for three hot water bottles,” my father told

him.

“Of course.”

“And how about some chocolate bars?” The apothecary shook his head.

“We have them sometimes. Not often, since the war.”

“Since the war?” my father said, and I could see him calculating: twelve years without a steady supply of chocolate. He looked a little faint. I wondered if he could get a prescription for chocolate from a doctor. Then I could have some, too.

“Come back again,” the apothecary said, seeing his dismay. “We may have some soon.”

“Okay,” my father said. “We’d better get some aspirin, too.” I could tell he was embarrassed by his undisguised need for candy, and he always made jokes when he was embarrassed. I could feel one coming. “And how about something for my daughter, to cure homesickness?”

“Dad,” I said. The apothecary looked at me.

“You’re American?” I nodded.

“And you’ve moved here to a cold flat with cold bedrooms that need hot water bottles?”

I nodded again, and the apothecary guided the ladder along the back wall on its metal wheels.

“I was joking,” my father said.

“But you are homesick?” the apothecary asked, over his shoulder.

“Well—yes,” I said.

He climbed the ladder and chose two jars, tucking one beneath his arm to climb down. At the counter, he unscrewed the lids and measured two different powders, one yellow and one brown, into a small glass jar. “The brown is aspen, the yellow is honeysuckle,” he said. To my father, he said, “Neither will hurt her.” To me, he said, “Put about a dram of each—do you know how much a dram is? About a teaspoon of each in a glass of water. It won’t take effect right away, but it might make you feel better. And it might not. People have different constitutions.”

“We really don’t—” my father said.

“It’s free of charge,” the apothecary said. “It’s for the young lady.” Then he rang up the hot water bottles and the bottle of aspirin.

“Thank you,” I said.

“You’ll want some pennies, too, for the wall heater,” he said, handing me our change in a fistful of big brown coins that clinked, rather than jingled, into my hand.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Best book ever!!!!!!!!!

    This is the best book on the planet!!!!!!! For people who like action and adventure!!!! Buy it it is great

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Pretty Good

    The Apothecary was a pretty well-thought out book with different layers of elements. For a first-time young reader's novel, it was exceptionally well. I enjoyed the book and it had clear descriptions so I could really see the characters. I would reccommend this book to others!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Wonderfully Illustrated Historical Fantasy

    Who doesn't love a little alchemy in their stories? The Apothecary is fun adventure for both boys and girls. While the story is geared towards young readers (10 and up) there might be a bit of confusion about the story's basis. The storyline all happens because of politics, and involves talk of communism, Russian spies, atomic bombs, and war. Many middle grade readers won't know what's going on when it comes to these areas.

    The fantasy portion, which involves the alchemy I mentioned previously, is perfect for the young reader and is a lot of fun. The two kids, Janie and Benjamin, are courageous and get to do lots of cool things kids will envy them for. The miss for this book is the fact that the fantasy seems young while the political storyline seems old and it doesn't work to its fullest ability for either age range. As an adult I found everything to be predictable and felt that there was not enough depth to the characters involved. The Advanced Reader's Copy that I read didn't have the complete artwork in it yet, but from the pages that did contain the illustrations - I thought they were great and added a good touch to the story.

    ARC Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    The apothecary

    I LOVE this book. It is great for seven and up. :) my sister read it and LOVED it! She was thrilled. I loved it to. I bet he or she has more books that are amazing. If you like this book (if you read it) you you love it to!!!!!!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review by Acesmommy

    First off, if you didn't know what an Apothecary is, it's another name for a Pharmacist or a person who prepares and sells medicine/drugs.
    I was going to rate The Apothecary 3 1/2 stars in the beginning because the story drags on and is some what monotonous, but you get use to the writing style and towards the end it started to get really good. And the ending was just perfect.

    Jane Scott, aka Janie which she prefers to be called, is a 14 year old who lives in Los Angeles with her parents. They soon secretively leave and move to London when Janie gets followed home from school by the government. The government believes that Jane's parents are communists, so they are placed on a list with other people who needs to be "watched."
    On arriving to London, Janie dislikes everything from her new home, her new school, the uniform, and the "populars" of St. Beden's School. But soon all that changes when a simple Bomb Drill happens during lunch and a defiant boy who doesn't see the point to comply with hiding under the table catches her eye and draws her attention.
    On her way home from school she hears the familiar voice of the boy and realizes that he is the Apothecary's son, Benjamin. Janie eavesdrops on their conversation and over hears their argument on how Benjamin does not want to take on the family business. Benjamin's decision gets put into question after his father gets kidnapped and the only one he can turn to is Janie.
    Benjamin and Janie then go head on into a world of secrets, lies, danger, and things that you would never believe was possible, alchemy.

    I enjoyed Janie so much because she is very mature for a fourteen year old. She's witty and smart and not at all needy, juvenile, or the damsel in distress. Maile Meloy did very well to make Janie relatable and a great narrator in the story.

    Benjamin, the male protagonist, was really plain. That's not to say it was a bad thing. He was very refreshing to read because he didn't right off the bat fall "love at first sight" fancied Janie like most YAs produce. He was not so much as a bad boy persona but a driven and outspoken character. With all the trials and tribulations Benjamin and Janie went through, it left no room for a romantic relationship, however, there was room to blossom.

    Pip is such a character!! I love him! Pip plays the sidekick roll to the two, but he brought such a critical roll that without him the story would lack luster. He is very distinct, cocky, and comical that he made the most nerve wrecking of times enjoyable and humorous.

    I couldn't help but see The Apothecary side by side with The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass. The Apothecary is written whimsically and fairy tale like. A story I would love to be read to, and a story I will read to my son at bed time.

    The ending had me in tears and ended in a good note, some what as a stand alone. I can only wish The Apothecary is the beginning of a series and that there will be more adventures with Benjamin and Janie with Pip at the tow.


    Thank you Putnam Juvenile for this well liked ARC treat!!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Awesome

    This was an amazing book, i would highly recommend it. I really hope they make more!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Does the YA market proud

    Janie Scott was seven-years-old when Japan surrendered and the evil forces were finally destroyed. Living in Los Angeles, California had always been fun for Janie. Her parents were much beloved writers' for television shows, and Janie enjoyed a life full of entertainment, friends, and fun. Nothing seemed negative in Janie's world until a black sedan began following Janie home from school. She was fourteen by then and was more than a little 'creeped out' by the men in dark suits with sunglasses who seemed to be watching her every move. Very soon, her parents told her that they were on their way to London; not to pack anything, because they had to get out of the U.S. as quickly as possible. It turns out her parents have been placed on some kind of 'list.' When Janie arrives at her new home she is completely confused. She went from a nice house to a small, desolate flat; from looking out her window at the sunshine of California to starring at the bomb-addled streets of London that have not been mended since the Germans had hit full-force. Janie finds herself in an odd world at school, as well. Going from her true, lifelong friends, to a cold castle called St. Beden's that focuses on Latin and other subjects Janie hasn't even begun to study is not easy. Some of the kids are a bit 'hoity-toity' while others are.unusually unique. Right down the road from Janie's new desolate home is the apothecary - where a wonderfully kind man whose son, Benjamin, is the 'unique' young man that Janie met at school. Benjamin is fun and wants to be a secret spy one day when he grows up. In fact, he is already in the midst of spying on people, which is what brings Janie and Benjamin into a dark world of secrets, lies, and spies. Benjamin's kind father is suddenly kidnapped, and Benjamin and Janie have only one way of helping him to return; they must figure out the text in a book called the Pharmacopoeia that has urgent information the Russian spies will kill for. This amazingly dangerous race becomes part treasure-hunt, part Indiana Jones, as Janie and Benjamin get locked inside a world of everything from Communists, to 'closer' people in their lives who seem to know far more than they are letting on to the tough, never-say-die teens. The locations are rich in detail, and the story is so thrilling that a reader will not be able to 'step away' from these amazing teens' adventure! And on another note, the illustrations accompanying the chapter headings are truly works of art. Quill Says: This is a true work of 'fantastic fiction,' that does the YA market proud. We need MORE of these stories!

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Recommend

    Great read for a 5th grade lit group. Awesome vocabulary to work with can be creative for book reports. Possibly a bit long for end of year.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Wonderful

    The Apothecary is a wonderful book. It is geat for grades 6-8, and provides a perfect balance of romance, magic, and mystery. If you enjoy adventures this book will keep you reading and never wanting to stop. Not only does it have a good writing style, but it also provides the right amount of challenge and fun for a young reader. I hope there is to be a sequel written, for this would definalty engage the reader alittle more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    Enjoyable read

    This was a quick, enjoyable read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    I really enjoyed this book but¿

    I dont favor the ending of this book. It stops at an abrupt scene. Overall, I really liked this bok.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Good read

    Nice fictional book. I would recomend this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ¿The Apothecary' brings forth the inner child that lives inside

    ‘The Apothecary' brings forth the inner child that lives inside every one of us. This book has the power to make your eyes light up with the impossible, even as your mind tries to defy you. There were elements of pure magic and of serious logic, and I don’t think a reader can help, but appreciate the mix.


    This book is set in 1950’s London. A time when a young Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne. While in America, your neighbor was being spied on and labeled a ‘communist’ if he or she fell under the slightest suspicion. It was set in the time before the Cold War. And when countries fought to get the atomic bomb. Not to mention the spies around every corner.


    There was something positively enchanting about this mix, and the characters who brought the story alive. I think it was the innocence of the characters that stood out, even while they were brave, curious and fascinating. Janie was a character who was taken from America to England when her parents fell under suspicion of being ‘communists’. She hated leaving everything she knew behind. What I loved was the fact that even though that had happened to her, there was none of the whiny teenager in her.


    Although I don’t think she had time to be like that because she met Benjamin. I adored him. He was just so cute with the way he thought about people. He actually made the book fun for me, more than Janie did, and I liked her too. I think it was the way they worked together. In fact, the whole crazy cast of characters interacted well.


    The magical elements added something to this story. I think it would have been just as great if it had only been a piece of historical fiction, but the way magic was added gave the book an almost realistic feeling about it – even though there was nothing remotely like that with some of the things they did. This novel held bits of all types of genre in it and it worked.


    And the artwork at the beginning of each chapter. That was what I loved most about the book. The illustrations, drawn by Ian Schoenherr, just added that something extra and I looked forward to finishing each chapter, just so I could see what the next illustration would be. The pictures made this middle grade novel more flamboyant than it would have been without them.


    Anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of fun, enjoys cloak and dagger and loves a little hint of magic.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Five Stars Hands Down!

    This was the best freaking book ever. I am not even going to attempt to describe its awesome awesomeness. Just, just please, pleeease get it. I'll be your best friend.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Awesome

    AMAZING BOOK!!! MUST READ!!!!! If you LOVE adventure and HISTORICAL FICTION, thus is the book for YOU!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    The apothecary

    The apothecary is a book that is written by a talented writer.it has its own special tint of magic and adventure. Bur i got to admitt, it does end very abruptly. It would be awesome if the author made a sequel. Take the word and read the book



    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    I love this book! The story is full of excitement,adventure,and

    I love this book! The story is full of excitement,adventure,and of course magic. Also the characters are lovable and just the way you'd expect a 14 year old to be during 1952. After reading this you will love this book so much that 5 minutes after you finish it you'll read it again! If you don't read this you'll be missing out big time!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    Amazing

    This book is AWSOME!!!!!!! I highly recomend it. Amazing illustrasions and a awsome stotyline, on the Food Network this would be on GOod Eats. Please READ this book

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Anonymous

    I love this book- it is full of a place where imagination roams free and fit to BURST!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Apothecary

    This book is outstanding!!! I could never put it down. It always left me wondering what would happen next and all of Janies adventures.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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