When: October 4th, 2011
Why: Premise Love
How: For Review (BEA)
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.
I have so much love for this book, guys!
It's a historical set during the Cold War about a girl named Janie who moves from Hollywood where her parents are TV writers to go to London and she meets a boy named Benjamin who thrusts her into this magically scientific world of potions and spies and adventure!
Janie is an awesome heroine! She's brave, funny, smart, and exactly the type of girl i'd love to be friends with! I loved watching her become strong through her adventures and you really see her mature throughout the course of the novel. Really, all the characters are fantastic. Benjamin is brave and completely headstrong and impulsive and I adored him. Pip was a hoot and is definitely up there with Tiki with my favorite pickpockets. Sergei was so adorable and a bit slow, but I wanted to hug him. Even Sarah Pennington, with her snotty (although, she was nice at heart) attitude and money-bags parents.
Her writing is that perfect space between simple and descriptive and I want to nestle into that space for the rest of my life, because I love it! Speaking of middle grounds: the book is that in-between of Middle Grade and YA. Jamie is fourteen, but it has a bit of a Middle Grade feel to it (maybe because the romance isn't the main focus and adventure takes more precedence) so the fact that I completely loved it regardless of it being MG is saying something! The romance does take a backseat but I wouldn't have it any other way. It was so innocent and charming and completely adorable and seeing Benjamin and Janie's relationship (and friendship!) grow was so heartfelt and I loved it.
Overall, a fantastic read that I recommend to everyone I can! And there's illustrations! SO MUCH PRETTY.