I first met Maile Meloy in the pages of her first novel for young readers, The Apothecary. Aimed at middle-schoolers, it’s a wonderfully entertaining story set in the 1950s and full of magic, spies, nuclear disaster, science and suspense. It’s also beautifully illustrated by Ian Schoenherr.
Though new to young readers, Maile is far from a new writer. Her work includes short stories and novels:Liars and Saints, A Family Daughter, and Half in Love. She also wrote Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, which the New York Times named one of the 10 Best Books of 2009. Her family is creative, too. For example, her brother, Colin, is the lead singer of the folk rock group the Decemberists.
If you’re looking for a book to interest a young reader, look no further. The Apothecary is a perfect gift. But, if you’re like me, you may want to sit down and read it first before you pass it on.