The Apothecary by Maile Meloy. Fourteen year old Janie Scott is happy with her life in post World War II Hollywood. That is, until her television writing parents are blacklisted and the family must move to London. Once there, Janie befriends Benjamin, the son of the local apothecary. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin use the apothecary's treasured book, the Pharmacopoeia, to find him. The Pharmacopoeia contains recipes for potions Janie and Benjamin can use against their enemies. They are helped along the way by Pip, a former pickpocket, they meet in juvenile detention. Their journey turns dangerous as they discover Benjamin's father is a member of a group of scientists trying to stop the Russians from testing an atomic bomb.
Recommended for children 9-14.
Finn - I like this book because the author paints a clear picture of what's happening. Kids would like it because it has a lot of exciting parts and parts that are really nerve racking. My favorite part of the book is when Janie, Benjamin and Pip turn into birds for the first time. They are trying to escape juvenile detention, but a Russian spy is on the roof and they have no choice but to drink the potion and turn into birds. Spoiler alert: The ending is a bit disappointing when Janie and Pip get brainwashed by Benjamin in order to protect them. But I'm still excited to read the second book in the series.