The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Can’t decide whether you want to read historical fiction or fantasy? Feel like your life has been missing a bit of magic since Harry Potter’s epic saga finally came to an end? Meet The Apothecary.
Set in 1952 London, 14-year-old Janie has just arrived with her parents from California. Her parents wanted to escape the intense Communist scrutiny that was pervasive in Hollywood and the rest of America in the 1950s and saw their opportunity on the other side of the Atlantic. But foggy, bombed out London is a far cry from the sunshine filled streets of Los Angeles that Janie knows and loves. She sticks out like a sore thumb in her new school--right down to her “American hair.” Things look bleak until Benjamin Burrows comes into her life, the one boy who refuses to participate in the bomb drills at school, an aspiring spy, and the son of the apothecary.
In a very real part of history where the world always seemed to teeter of the cusp of nuclear war, Janie and Benjamin rely on great magic and even greater bravery (as well as the marvelous Pip) to make a difference in a world crawling with spies and danger. When it comes time to play their part in preventing a nuclear ending for the world, the suspense builds to marvelous heights and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be torn between rushing through to know how it ends and wanting it to never end.
This is hands down one of my favorite middle grade titles of the year. It takes a very special book to combine magic and comedy and Latin and nuclear warfare and have it seem like the most honest and true thing you’ve read in a long time. Place your holds now to be among the first to read this wonderful book when it hits shelves.