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    The Apothecary (Hardback) By (author) Maile Meloy, Illustrated by Ian Schoenherr


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    DescriptionIt'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.

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    4 Stars4

    SpadesHigh 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!! by SpadesHigh

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