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(The Potion Diaries #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,609 ratings  ·  742 reviews
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordina
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published July 2nd 2015)
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Amy Alward Hello! The book is called The Potion Diaries in the UK and British Commonwealth, but Madly in the US and Canada. Otherwise it is exactly the same book…moreHello! The book is called The Potion Diaries in the UK and British Commonwealth, but Madly in the US and Canada. Otherwise it is exactly the same book :) It might be that the book will be known as 'The Potion Diaries' everywhere later on this year, but that is still to be confirmed.
Hope that helps - I know having two names for the same book can be confusing.
Amy Alward Absolutely! My publisher would describe The Potion Diaries as "clean teen" as there is no graphic content. …moreAbsolutely! My publisher would describe The Potion Diaries as "clean teen" as there is no graphic content. (less)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,609 ratings  ·  742 reviews

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joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.]

Rating: 2.25/5
Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:
Six cups of an adventure around the world similar to The Amazing Race (a quick read with good pacing)
Three vials of fantasy with a dash of modern flare (the world-building leans on contemporary technology, alchemy, magic, and fantastical beasts but is underdeveloped)
One special snowflake and one broody heir to a conglomerate (a romance of instalove)
A teaspoon
Yet another book that was super close to 5 stars, but just not quite at that level.

This was such a fun read!! It was set in modern times but with some fairytale aspects tossed in and it just made this whole world so enjoyable. Unicorns, abominables, mermaids, and potion making, doesn't get much better than that.

I actually really enjoyed Sam as the main character. At a few points she irritated me, but that's completely normal with any character that doesn't react to something the way I would. I w
Fafa's Book Corner
Sep 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam is an Ordinary Alchemist who lives with her parents, little sister and grandpa in their family's shop. She has the talent to mix potions but is not a Talented like her little sister. When the Princess of Nova ends up giving herself a love potion accidentally it's up to her and her family to save her. Her biggest competition is her hottie classmate Zain and his father's synth company. Will she get to prove her Ordinary skills are up to par or will she fail herself and her family?

Set in modern
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
The Potion Diaries was a lovely mix of fantasy, adventure that reads more as a mature middle grade, than young adult series. It follows the story of Sam, apprentice alchemist who lives in the family owned potion store. The Hunt offers Sam a chance for the Kemi Potion Shop to be financially viable once more, provided she finds the cure first. A fantasy modern day setting, it was lighthearted and fun, but the characters seemed far younger than they claimed.
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Find the original review here at This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

Now here's the thing, Madly turned out to be a really good time. I'm really not sure what I was expecting. I just remember reading something about a kingdom and a love potion and thought to myself I should request this book from the publisher. And I'm really glad I did. Madly was the perfect read at the perfect time. I needed something quick and fun and it so happened that Madly checked those things off easily.

Samantha's fam
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars. I really enjoyed this novel! It's a little more on the lighter side of fantasy, just so you know. Part adventure and part puzzle, it was fun to try and put things together right alongside Samantha. While I do feel like the characters could have done with a touch more development (and I still don't understand my attraction to Zain), overall, I thought this was a really fun read. ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Not amazing or anything, but it was light and magical, and I think that was just what I needed.
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review appears on Happy Indulgence - Check it out for more reviews!

Combining alchemy, magical creatures, adventure, royalty and a sprinkle of romance, The Potion Diaries was incredibly fun, fast paced and engaging. Samantha Kemi embarks on a quest to find the rare and mysterious parts of a love potion to save the nation’s Princess, which takes her to some dangerous and wonderful locations. She encounters an Abominable Snowman, an Aphrodite mermaid, exotic plants and even a unicorn, in her
Rachel Gunter
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of The Potion Diaries from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward is a great fantasy story about a Princess who brews a love potion but accidentally falls in love with herself - which turns out to be a lot more dangerous than you would expect. So this big Hunt is organised where the leading potion makers sign up to compete to find the cure first. Samantha Kemi is her Master potion maker Granddad's apprentice and puts herself and
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
3.5 Stars for a really cute story!
I'd seen this under the US title, "Madly," but I didn't realize it was coming out here in the UK yesterday, so when I saw it in Waterstones this morning, I grabbed it immediately. Then I sat down inside the Waterstones and proceeded to read it all. In one sitting. It's so quick and cute, I just did not want to put it down.


-super awesome world. I liked how it was basically just the modern, everyday world, just laced with magic. There's still phones and emai
Catherine Doyle
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. It was fun and unique and incredibly readable. Absolutely loved the Princess Evelyn parts.
nick (the infinite limits of love)

Fantasy seems to be all the rage lately - it's the new dystopia. So there was no doubt that I was looking forward to reading Amy Alward's Madly. What drew me into the book, however, was the cover (obviously!), but also the synopsis. It sounded like it would be different from all the other YA fantasy books I've read because it seemed to be more on the funny side. Madly ended up being exactly that and it turned out to be a very entertaining read.

The basis of the plot in Madly was pretty simpl
rachel ☾
I've read my fair share of what I want to call "dark fantasy". You know the books set in realms where everything is kind of like the medieval ages? People travel by horse, everyone is a peasant or a farmer, the royalty is corrupt, assassins run rampant - if they aren't our protagonists - and there is a need for some sort of rebellion. Its fantastic but also kind of depressing. No one seems happy within those realms. The Potion Diaries, however, was fantastically light-hearted, almost whimsical, ...more
Also reviewed on Sophie Reads YA

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This is no way impacted in my view.

Before looking at NetGalley, I hadn't heard much about this book, but both the cover and synopsis drew me in, and I had to request it ASAP. This book was really different to what I'd expected, but in a good way.

The Potion Diaries (also published as Madly in America), recounts in dual POV the stories of Princess Evelyn and the alchemist apprentice Samantha Kemi as
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such a cute book!This is exactly what I need after reading something heavy. This was fun and cute and a fast read! I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series :) ...more
Chapter by Chapter
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
All it took was reading Madly’s opening scene to become head-over-heels excited to read this novel. A story with magic, competition, and a love spell gone wrong? It sounded totally like my cup of tea. I can say that after having already finished this novel, Madly is the type of novel that many readers entering the realm of YA will absolutely adore. It’s a light-hearted, amusing read that kept me guessing until the very end.

Set in a world where magic is a common part of modern life, protagonist S
Cute carefree read :)
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen
Jaye Berry
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Madly begins with the Princess of Nova accidentally using a love potion she made on herself, falling deeply in love with her own reflection. To save the princess, the kingdom begins the age-old tradition of the Wilde Hunt: alchemists nationwide compete to make the cure and whoever wins gets fame and fortune. Samantha Kemi is from a long-line of potion makers who have fallen on hard times. She has no magic but she has an amazing talent at it and winning the hunt would save her family's business. ...more
Veronica Morfi
Solid 3 star read. It was well-written and the story was somewhat enjoyable, but I expected more. More humour (which was non existent), more emotion (I did not feel any connection to the characters and the Kemi family didn't feel like a real family) and maybe a bit more action (there were a lot of adventures that Kirsty and Sam went on to find ingredients but for some reason the action had no suspense).

So I am now back in my search for the perfect summer read.
It's really not very often that I feel the urge to use the phrase "fluffy high fantasy book", but it's definitely one that I'm pulling out for The Potion Diaries. It reminds me a bit of a book named Poison by Bridget Zinn- it has that same "fun and light" sort of vibe that isn't often seen in high fantasy.

I have a feeling that my expectations were slightly too high going into this book because of two reasons. The first is that Amy Alward is actually also known as Amy McCulloch, author of The Oat
SJH (A Dream of Books)
Described as "The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries" if ever a tagline is going to make me want to read a book, that is it! And what an unusual book, 'The Potion Diaries' by Amy Alward turned out to be. Unusual in a good way but not at all what I was expecting. It leant much more heavily towards the fantasy genre but was unlike anything else I've read before.

The book combines a modern setting with one where magic is still prevalent. This took a bit of getting used to because it's not ever
Maryam Dinzly
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
HA. I actually loved this book. I think I have a thing for magic and potions and alchemists, because I was totally engrossed in this book. I actually find the plot of the story quite funny -- the Princess accidentally poisoning herself with her love potion, and it resulting in her falling for... well, herself. This book was written in two different perspectives, of course, most of it being Samantha's point of view. But what was cuter, was reading the Princess' point of view. That was hilarious a ...more
Alessandra Crivelli


The Potion Diaries tells the story of Princess Evelyn who mistakenly poisoned herself with a love potion and fell in love with her reflection on the mirror.
And until her it wasn't a bad plot...
But then it starts the HUNGER GAMES OF BORINGNESS: the entire book is about the alchemists searching of the ingredients for the antidote. I mean THE ENTIRE BOOK!

It was so boring for me... The only character that I care about (a bit) was Zayn.
But everything i
Ferlina (bigpileofbooks)
Lesson learned:
Good-looking cover doesn't mean a good book.

Woah, my first disappointing read in 2021.

I bought this book in 2017 because this gorgeous cover caught my eyes. But sadly, the story itself isn't that gorgeous.

This book is about a competition for all of the 'pharmacies' to search for an antidote for the princess because she had been poisoned.

Well, I was expecting a bloodbath competition when I first read the blurb until I realized that this book is a MG book. So, I lowered my
May 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 11 and above
This was ok. Some of the characters were irritating.
There were parts that I did skip
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

*3.5 star rating*

Amy Alward's Madly was like a never-ending cycle of doubt. I had high hopes, I had low hopes, I had high hopes again, it went downhill once more. I honestly just based my rating off how I felt with the ending, because I did, and still do not know what to expect with this great author's writing, after all. Madly was not the best book out there, and it certainly does not look to be the worst, either.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
1.5 stars

Well, I’m sorry to have to say it, but this one wasn’t good. The premise had so much promise, and there were occasional glimmers of that in Madly, enough to keep me reading, because I hoped something hilarious and magical would happen at the end to make it all work. That, needless to say, did not occur.

Madly could have been a truly hilarious comedic fantasy that subverted tropes. With the princess in love with herself in a love potion gone wrong, I expected something like the fractured
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Amy McCulloch (also known as Amy Alward) is a Chinese-White author, born in the UK, raised in Ottawa, Canada, now based in London, UK. She has written seven novels for children and young adults, and been published in over ten different languages.

Before becoming a full-time writer, she was editorial director for Penguin Random House Children’s Books. In 2013, she was named one of The Bookseller‘s R

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The Potion Diaries (4 books)
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28 likes · 11 comments
“There's no mistaking what kind of potion I need. Caffeine - for alertness and rejuvenation.” 6 likes
“There are some things that are just as strong - no - stronger than love potions you know. Like real feelings.” 3 likes
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