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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
The Antidote by Susan McCormick blends elements of urban fantasy, YA science fiction, and the paranormal to create an engrossing tale filled with lessons for young readers. Alexander Asclepius Revelstoke is a twelve-year-old kid in Seattle with a unique gift: the uncanny ability to detect abnormalities in people’s health. His parents, who are medical professionals, take him on a visit to his grandfather, Asclepius, after discovering his gift. Then they understand that Alex is from the line of Revelstokes who are gifted to diagnose diseases and to sense problems affecting the human body. It is a gift that is passed on through the family and it can skip generations. However, the Revelstokes have a powerful enemy known as the ILL, an evil that aggravates illnesses and maladies and leaves destruction in its wake. ILL has an insidious plan to unleash a worldwide plague and only Alex has the power to stop the evil. The question is: Does he understand the reach of ILL’s powers and can he stop “it” before it is too late?
This is an original and intricately plotted story with characters that readers will adore and themes that will resonate powerfully with contemporary readers who have experienced Covid-19. This is a brilliantly written story that pits the forces of good against evil and features a young protagonist that will win the hearts of readers and empaths in particular. The writing is suspenseful and the originality in concept and plot sets it apart from many books in the genre. The strength of this narrative is in the skillful handling of conflict. Alexander is a young man with a unique gift and as he learns to understand his gift, he is faced with an antagonist that is far more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Immediately, the stakes are raised high and as the enemy grows in power, Alex must master his skills and learn how to confront ILL. The Antidote is a creative, immersive, and emotionally rich story that will keep readers turning the pages.