THE APOTHECARY
[Book One of the The Apothecary Trilogy]


New York Times bestseller
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award2012
Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2011
The Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best
California Book Awards YA Gold Medal 2012
Booktrust’s Best Books 2012 (UK)

Download Penguin’s discussion guide
Visit Penguin’s website, theapothecarybook.com
Read about the sequel, The Apprentices

It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London.  There, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and becomes fascinated by his son, Benjamin Burrows—a boy who isn’t afraid to stand up to authority and who dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father disappears, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s ancient book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping those secrets out of the hands of Russian spies. Discovering transformative elixirs they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending nuclear disaster.

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PRAISE FOR THE APOTHECARY:
“Meloy weaves fantasy into a fine work of historical fiction, bringing to life the cold-war era when everyday life was permeated by fear of nuclear disaster and Russian spies lurking everywhere. More important, though, she brings to her first book for young readers the same emotional resonance that has won acclaim for her adult fiction, grounding her story in the intricacies of family love, friendship and loyalty, blended here with the complicated fluctuations of adolescence.” 
New York Times Book Review

“The title of Maile Meloy’s smartly written, page-turning adventure/fantasy refers to a magical druggist in London in 1952. It’s told from an adult’s perspective, based on a diary the narrator kept at 14, when she moved from Los Angeles with her parents, TV writers caught up in the Cold War’s ‘Red Scare.’ It deals with the threat of nuclear war, but it’s written with a dry sense of humor and a hint of teen romance. It’s for curious readers who, like Meloy’s characters, can make room in their imaginations and ‘allow for the possibilities.’” 
USA Today

“A gem of historical fiction for the middle-school set, Meloy's children's debut is a pitch-perfect melding of postwar intrigue and ancient medicinal arts told from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl.” 
Los Angeles Times

“Maile Meloy’s sly commingling of the real and the imaginary make this a witty and entertaining Cold War romp—with a touch of age-appropriate romance.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Think of a cross between Harry Potter and Nancy Drew.... The magic of this book is dazzling.” 
New York Journal of Books

“An imaginative and quick-moving story about two clever kids who manage to outsmart a lot of adults. The narrator, Janie, has a delightful sense of humor and is an engaging, fresh character. While the topic seems a bit heavy (nuclear bombs!), the story is lighthearted and reads like a fun mystery.” 
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A tantalizing blend of history, mystery and fantasy. Meloy’s fast-paced, engrossing Cold War story is matched by her ability to create characters who grab the reader’s interest. The ambiguous ending of The Apothecary hints that a sequel is in the works, which should cheer the hearts of the many readers who will love this book.” 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This imaginative Cold War thriller centers on an L.A teen living in London, her new friend and his kidnapped father, whose secret elixir just might prevent nuclear Armageddon.” 
San Francisco Chronicle

“A twisty, magical adventure.” 
Girls’ Life Must Read

“A delightful read. It enchants from the beginning, and as the characters are drawn further into a world where magic potions really do exist—but are the stuff of chemistry, not wand-work—it all seems perfectly acceptable. The Apothecary is original but follows in the tradition of great world-building books, from The Hobbit to Harry Potter, in creating a believable world, internally consistent and fascinating.” 
Canberra Times, Australia

“In The Apothecary, Maile Meloy keeps raising the stakes for her main characters until it seems that victory is impossible….But it’s hard to keep these characters down, and their ingenuity and determination bring them out of the pages and make them real for the reader. This book is full of magic and sparkle, spies, evil and global intrigue….The Apothecary is an exciting, well-researched adventure that readers will find hard to put down, no matter what genre they favour.”
Kids Book Capers, Australia

“As the plot darkens, even reluctant readers will find it hard to pull away from the intrigue. A level of storytelling this high, with Schoenherr's fabulous illustrations as chapter openers, make this book a gem indeed.” 
Shelf-Awareness

“I ADORED the style of this book. Each page danced with magic and excitement, while the overall tone made me feel like I was re-reading one of my favorite classics. Meloy’s writing is straightforward, compelling and wonderfully vintage, and her words expertly lured me into a world that I can’t wait to visit again.”
Forever Young Adult

“A masterful, multi-layered adventure that combines history, magic, and nonstop action, The Apothecary delivers in every regard.” 
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“[The] blend of history, culture, and the anxiety of the time with magical ‘science’ will keep readers just as spellbound as the characters.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] thoroughly enjoyable adventure, filled with magic, humor, memorable characters, and just a bit of sweet romance. With evocative, confident prose and equally atmospheric spot art from Schoenherr, adult author Meloy’s first book for young readers is an auspicious one. Readers will hope they haven’t heard the last from Janie and Benjamin.” 
Publishers Weekly Picks List

“Inventive, smart and fun, an absolute delight.”
—Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me