Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Alchemy by Mike Wood
Amazon.com Book Description:
When a migrating manatee makes a prolonged stop off the coast of Cape Cod, his unexpected arrival (and the beautiful daughter of the marine biologist who is following him) sets into motion a charming chain of events that will result in 15-year old Al learning the truth about his missing father, the joy and pain of first love, and ultimately even the fate of Hugh Manatee!
The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.
My Book Review:
This debut novel by author Mike Wood was a fun summer read and a very cool trip down the 1980s memory lane for me. The story is set in the summer of 1984 in Cape Cod, MA, and is told in the 1st person narrative by 15 year old Al Newman. During this coming of age summer, Al struggles with the unanswered disappearance of his father, and he is determined to find out what happened to him. Along comes a pretty teenage girl, Cammie, who along with her marine biologist father have tracked a wayward manatee, Hugh, from Florida to Cape Cod. When Al meets Cammie, they become friends which quickly turns into Al's 1st crush and kiss, and together they set out on an adventure to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Al's father. During this summer, Al learns to deal with the fickleness of teenage friendships and young love, the ups and downs of family life and life's lessons in general. The author weaves an enjoyable story mixed with many nostalgic memories of the 1980s that will keep the reader smiling throughout the book.
RATING: 3 STARS ***