The Apothecary for the New York Times, (skeptic) Krystyna Poray Goddu wrote: "...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."
The story begins in Los
Angeles, in 1952, when 14-year-old Janie Scott moves with her parents
to London, England. There, she meets a mysterious apothecary and becomes
fascinated by his son, Benjamin Burrows -- a 14-year-old boy who isn't
afraid to stand up to authority and who dreams of becoming a spy.
before Benjamin's father is kidnapped, he gives Janie and Benjamin an
ancient book, The Pharmacopoeia, insisting that they must keep it safe
-- no matter what. It turns out that Russian spies want the book and
will do anything to get it. Using the recipes for transformative elixirs
they find in the book's pages, Janie and Benjamin stay one step ahead
of the bad guys as they embark on a dangerous mission to save the
apothecary and prevent impending nuclear disaster.
During this week's program, Maile Meloy will talk about where she got the idea for The Apothecary,
her first novel for middle readers (she's the author of two adult
novels and two story collections). She'll also read from the book and
talk a little about her writing process.
You can hear the program on the radio or online: