The Apothecary by Maile Meloy tells the story of Janie, 14, whose family moves to London several years after World War II, to escape the persecution of the anti-Communist trials. There she meets Benjamin, son of the local apothecary. When Benjamin’s father disappears suddenly, he entrusts them with the Pharmacopeia, a huge book of secret knowledge. The kids quickly learn that the apothecary was dabbling in much more than simple remedies.
Janie works with Benjamin to find his father, joined by another companion named Pip, and helped along the way by everyone from mysterious old gardeners to Russian spies. Her adversary is one of the teachers in her new school, Mr. Danby, who is obviously more than what he appears to be. It turns out that Janie’s mission is also bigger than she thought, and in the end involves helping to save the world. In the meantime, there are many exciting adventures, including people transforming into pillars of salt and flying birds!
Janie confronts her adversary and stops a bomb, but is given a potion to make her forget all her experiences (Girls Underground often forget themselves for a period of time). It is only when this wears off that she begins to recollect her journey, and tell her story.