Cicadas are signaling that summer is winding down. Perennials are going to seed as students get ready to resume school. Parents are stuck between the tug of war between guilt from wanting kids to be purpose-driven with school or endlessly entertained during free time. It’s a good time to start a book or even a series. This issue of of Bookisshh offers a recommendation for a followup story in the Middle Reader genre. The nice thing about this series is that it’s three books long, so readers can switch it up! Enjoy!
The Apprentices by Maile Meloy Three Pens
In one of the early Lend Me Your Ears blogs I mentioned that Maile Meloy was the Madeline L’Engle of her time, and after reading the first book in this series, I felt that way. Now I’m not so sure.. When writers craft wonderful stand-alone books, publishers dangle long term contracts pressuring writers to dilute their story in series works. Such is the case with The Apprentices.
Like The Apothecary, the magic of apothecary science, alchemy, chemistry, biology and physics and love are omnipresent in this work.
Two years have passed since Janie Scott and Benjamin Burrows saved the world from nuclear disaster. Now Benjamin and his father, The Apothecary, are in the jungles of Vietnam attending to the many sick and wounded people struggling to remain alive. Still longing to be with Janie, Benjamin experiments with a potion that allows him to communicate telepathically with Janie as she encounters text similar to the way a Ouja board works. He sees through her eyes, and guides her non-dominant hand toward letters of whatever she’s reading. Janie, who is on scholarship in a private boarding school is developing a system to transform salt water into fresh water and thus can save entire populations of people suffering from water shortage. However, Janie is in danger and Benjamin discovers this and calls upon Pip, former street-kid turned chess champion to get to Janie and rescue her. At this point, many characters and setting changes occur rapid fire which requires readers to manage plot shifts. To manage the quick changes, I recommend surpassing most school’s 20 minutes a day to ensure that this book is satisfying.
As far as historic detail is concerned The Apprentices is loosely woven. As far as understanding tragedies of war The Apprentices falls shy of delivery. As far as growing a young love story among bright purpose driven teens, Meloy continues to deliver with innocence and care. The Apprentices akin to a Middle Child, acts in response to the first child or in this case book, and potentially loses the attention to detail that the baby often inclines. This I will know to be true when I read the last book, The After-Room… For now Middle Readers who read less critically will enjoy delving into the familiar characters lives and struggle and succeed with them as they so oft do.
Coming soon for Middle Readers…
Finally, please revisit the link below to read a review on “The Apothecary” book #1, by Maile Meloy to consider this series.