The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

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Simon and Schuster, 2015. ISBN 9781471143564
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Samantha Kemi has a bright future as a great natural alchemist, as generations of Kemi's have done so before her. If only she could further her skills instead of staying behind to help out with her families slowly dwindling potion shop. An opportunity arises when she is summoned by the royal family to take her place in the Wilde hunt, a national wide hunt held to help find a cure for the princess who has been poisoned by her own love potion. Also in the hunt are her family's rivals, the father and son team of Zol and Zain Aster, who own the synthetic potion company ZoroAster Megapharma Company. Samantha must travel through wild terrain with the family's ingredient finder, Kirsty. Together they must race together to beat the other competitors to gather all the ingredients, mix the potion and save the princess before it's too late.
The potion diaries is a magical modern fairy tale adventure story. Amy Alward has also written under the name Amy McCulloch. She has beautifully crafted easy relatable characters that are bewitching and enchanting. The story is fast paced and simple to follow the two main story lines.
The potion diaries will be a hit for senior primary students and above who loved the Harry Potter series or even Divergent. I loved reading this book and could not put it down, it left me reading 'just one more chapter'. I can't wait to read book 2 coming out in July 2016.
Jody Holmes