Title: The Antidote
Author: Susan McCormick
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy, Fantasy
Twelve-year-old Alex Revelstoke discovers a family secret. He can see disease. And not just disease. Injury, illness, anything wrong with the body. This comes in handy when a classmate silently chokes on a hot dog or when the school janitor suffers a heart attack unclogging a science experiment gone awry. Too bad there is another family secret, one that puts Alex and an unsuspecting world in peril.
Revelstokes have waged a centuries-long battle against ancient evil itself. ILL. A man, a being, an essence—the creator of disease. Alex has seen his darkness. He has felt his strength. He does not want to fight. But Alex is the last Revelstoke. And ILL has just begun.
You don’t have to tell twelve-year-old Alex Revelstoke he’s different. Classmates shun him and he’s bullied relentlessly. No, Alex doesn’t see dead people. Alex’s gift is the ability to see illness, disease, injuries, and more in other people. It can come in handy sometimes but most of the time it leads t0 disbelief and ridicule. He tries to act normal but soon learns he comes from a long line of Revelstokes who have the same power as him, and he’s being hunted. Alex is the last Revelstoke and an ancient evil is determined to snuff him out. In a fight for survival, will Alex embrace his heritage and defeat the dark entity, or will he crumble under the burden?
The Antidote is a middle-grade fantasy adventure sure to please any reader. Alex is an endearing yet flawed character with an inquisitive mind and realistic thoughts for a boy his age. His inner dialogue and feelings connected me to him right away. Children will relate to him, even when his world shifts to the fantasy realm. The story unfolds in the present day and through a series of historical flashbacks. It took me a little while to connect the flashbacks with Alex’s story but once I did, everything fell into place. I liked the world-building and the sphere through Alex’s eyes. What I didn’t like was the intense bullying Alex goes through. At times, it detracted from the overall enjoyment of the story. The Antidote has several themes interlaced within the story which are teaching moments for kids. Very well done, Susan McCormick. If you’re a fan of classic wrinkle tales, you’ll love The Antidote. A fantasy adventure kids will love. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Susan McCormick is a writer and doctor who lives in Seattle. She graduated from Smith College and George Washington University School of Medicine and served as a doctor for nine years in the US Army before moving to the Pacific Northwest and civilian practice. In addition to The Antidote, she writes The Fog Ladies cozy murder mystery series. She also wrote Granny Can’t Remember Me, a lighthearted picture book about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She is married with two boys, neither of whom have any special powers. She loves giant dogs and has had St. Bernards, a Mastiff, Earl, and two Newfoundlands, Edward and Albert. None of them had any special powers, either, except the ability to shake drool onto the ceiling. Visit her at https://susanmccormickbooks.com
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N