SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA by George Jreije
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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
Shad Hadid excels at cooking up new recipes, whether they’re baked goods from his Lebanese heritage or magic charms like the stink bomb that never fails to disperse the bullies. But when a confrontation with queen of the bullies Sarah Decker attracts a shadowy ghost-like necromancer, Shad learns that his family’s magical recipes are actually works of alchemy and that he is one of the few alchemists left in the world, a legacy left him by his late parents.
Shad receives an invitation to study alchemy at Alexandria Academy, an overseas boarding school, and not a moment too soon since the necromancers who recently discovered his existence are circling closer. Unfortunately, Sarah Decker somehow got an invitation, too, along with Shad’s nightmare of a stepbrother, and even more unfortunately when he arrives at boarding school, no one else seems to have heard of alchemy, believing they’re all there to study advanced science. The presence of math whizzes and almost magical tech is enough to make Shad doubt his own sanity. But the necromancers have found their way into Alexandria Academy, and if Shad wants to protect his friends (and maybe even his bullies) he’s going to need to trust all of his outlandish skills and accept the role he was always meant to fill.
A fresh, funny voice and rich backdrop of Arabic culture elevate classic middle grade fantasy tropes in a wild, thrilling, and unique adventure. Fans of magical boarding school fantasies and intrepid groups of teens battling mystical evil won’t want to miss this stellar debut.