Book review: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

I had not read any of Maile Meloy’s work and wasn’t familiar with her writing before The Apothecary landed on my desk.

The Apothecary is another Young Adult book from Text Publishing: them of the very good taste who occasionally like to send me books.

Read a synopsis of the book on Text Publishing’s website.

I was hooked on The Apothecary from the first page. The story is well-written and pacy; it’s smart and incredibly imaginative. And it’s a rollicking good adventure through post wartime London – so much so that I felt I would have got more out of the book if I was more clued up on history. On that note, once you’ve read the book make sure you read the acknowledgements, which add a whole ‘nother dimension to the story.

The two main characters of The Apothecary are believable and likeable although I did initially find them to read less like children and more like an adult writing children but I got over that.

The inclusion of science and adventure with a female lead ensures The Apothecary has a wide audience. And while people get turned to salt and two young children essentially run around London alone, and some of the adults are ‘bad guys’ the story never felt sinister. It’s a pure adventure story with twists and turns – the sort of ‘mystery to solve’ that is packed with punch but still very innocent in the same way Encyclopia Brown or The Famous Five is.

The Apothecary is a book that I’d recommend for any reader over 8 years old – and is potentially suited to younger veracious readers too. It’s a great option for boys or girls but would be particularly suited to bright girls who would prefer to be out adventuring than brushing Barbie’s hair.

But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what Emily Gee of Page & Blackmore in Nelson thought.

Read a sample of The Apothecary.

By Emma McCleary, Web Editor at Booksellers NZ

The Apothecary
by Maile Meloy
Published by Text Publishing
ISBN 9781921758171

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