The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

potionWhen Princess Evelyn of Nova accidentally takes a love potion she intended for her boyfriend, she ends up falling in love with her own reflection. The impossibility of her love sends her to the edge of madness and threatens to destroy the kingdom, so a nationwide hunt is called to search for a cure.

Step forward, Samantha Kemi, apprentice alchemist and member of a family of alchemists who were once the most respected in the kingdom. Things aren’t so good for the Kemis these days, when synthetic potions have taken over from the old natural methods and ingredients.

Samantha is determined to be the first to find a potion to cure the princess and revive the fortunes of her family. You don’t just find the ingredients for this sort of potion lying around anywhere though. The hunt will take her into magical forests and up mountains. She’ll meet mermaids and unicorns and discover that neither of them are friendly. All this, and she’ll have to try not to fall for the very, very cute boy who’s on the opposition, attempt not to get killed by the princess’s evil aunt and deal with the journalists who are all over the story.

Phew! And I haven’t even gone into the whole who’s got magic and who hasn’t bit.

Honestly, it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds. If you’re looking for deep, you’ve come to the wrong place. The Potion Diaries isn’t making any big statements about the state of the world or even the state of being a teenager. I have a few minor quibbles with the plot, but basically, The Potion Diaries is a lovely bit of summer fun, a page-turner that won’t tax your brain when you’re sitting in the sunshine. I loved the characters: Sam’s determination, her awe at all the new things she’s coming across, the way she uses the potion-mixing skills. Great family too – loved the way they interacted, loved the curmudgeonliness of her grandfather, the relationship with her little sister. And the baddie, Princess Evelyn’s aunt Emilia, turning up at all the wrong moments and wreaking havoc. You could just about hear the ‘Mwah-ha-ha’!

The sequel’s out soon too, though I should add that this one has a real proper ending, none of your ‘I’ll tell you how it works out when you shell out another £7.99’. Good for you, Amy Alward.

piranha stars green 3

Claire Watts



Claire Watts writes and edits fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. Her latest YA novel is How Do You Say GOOSEBERRY in French?


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