The Blackthorn Key

By: Kevin Sands

London, 1665: Master Blackthorn isn't worried when other alchemists are murdered. But his apprentice, Christopher is—especially when he realizes that Blackthorn is keeping secrets. Historical note.

ISBN: 9781481446518

JLG Release: Dec 2015


Series: Blackthorn Key
Sensitive Areas: Violence, Murder, Gore, Child abuse
Topics: Apprentices , The supernatural , Pharmacists , Friendship , Secret societies , London, England , Seventeenth-century British history

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2015, Middle-Grade
2015 Parents’ Choice Book Awards: Fiction, Gold
ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Middle Readers
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2015, Fiction for Older Readers
2016 Edgar Awards Nominee, Best Juvenile
2015 Cybils Awards Winner, Middle Grade Fiction
2016 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award, Middle Reader
2016 John Spray Mystery Award
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Historical Fiction
2017 Silver Birch Fiction Award Nominee

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
An auspicious debut middle grade novel. Set in the 1600s, the story revolves around Christopher Rowe, the apprentice to a Master Apothecary. After losing his master, Christopher begins to unravel a series of complex codes that his master had, unbeknownst to Chris, been preparing him to solve all along. The more that the
[STARRED REVIEW]
An auspicious debut middle grade novel. Set in the 1600s, the story revolves around Christopher Rowe, the apprentice to a Master Apothecary. After losing his master, Christopher begins to unravel a series of complex codes that his master had, unbeknownst to Chris, been preparing him to solve all along. The more that the protagonist uncovers, the more he finds himself in danger, along with his loyal-to-a-fault best friend. The story is well paced, managing not only to keep readers hooked, but also second guessing everything they think they know. Sands integrates a series of fun and interesting riddles and codes with chemistry concepts—no easy feat. The ending is dynamic and rewarding, with just the right blend of the fantastical and realistic. One of the true triumphs is the author’s ability to create a character who feels accurate for the time period, while also displaying a modern sensibility that will keep readers engaged. The action does get intense, but would still be appropriate for upper elementary school students. VERDICT This is an excellent story for readers who enjoy puzzles, action, and fantasy; keep an eye out for future installments.—Chad Lane, Easton Elementary, Wye Mills, MD

Book Details

ISBN

9781481446518

First Release

December 2015

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

384

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.6; Points: 10;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 3.5; Points: 17;

Lexile

Level 630L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Aladdin

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence, Murder, Gore, Child abuse

Topics

Apprentices, The supernatural, Pharmacists, Friendship, Secret societies, London, England, Seventeenth-century British history,

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