Alchemy by Margaret Mahy (0-689-85053-0)
I have adored Mahy’s work since discovering her in my young adult lit class in library school. I think my favorite of all of her books is The Changeover.
This is a book that is like reading classic Mahy all over again. She takes a normal situation and adds mysticism and magic to turn the world upside down. Yet, somehow even with the magic and mayhem occurring, one wonders if this worls she has created isn’t the actual world we live in.
In this book, we follow Roland, a teenage boy after he has shoplifted some inexpensive items. As punishment, he is forced to be kind and get to know Jess, a strange girl in his class who insists on being a loner.
I don’t want to say much more, because part of the joy of a Mahy book is slowly working your way into the world she is creating.
I would recommend this book to kids who enjoy fantasy, even though Mahy’s fantasies tend to be more personal and not filled with dragons and knights.