The Apothecary: Book summary and reviews of The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

The Apothecary

By Maile Meloy

The Apothecary
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2011,
    368 pages.
    Age range: Children


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Book 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. With evocative, confident prose and equally atmospheric spot art from Schoenherr, adult author Meloy’s first book for young readers is an auspicious one." - Publishers Weekly

"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." - VOYA

"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." - Children's Literature

"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." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Maile Meloy Author Biography

Photo: Nancy Crampton

Maile Meloy was born in Helena, Montana, in 1972. A Family Daughter is her third book. 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.

Author Interview
Link to Maile Meloy's Website

Name Pronunciation
Maile Meloy: first name is pronounced my-lee. Last name is pronounced maloy

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