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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  262 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
“Mike Wood is Massachusetts' answer to Carl Hiaasen. Alchemy is a great and funny tale of wayward manatees, love, fatherhood and pirate treasures, not necessarily in that order.” – AJ Jacobs, bestselling author of The Know-It All


When a migrating manatee makes a prolonged stop off th
Kindle Edition, 346 pages
Published (first published January 12th 2010)
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Rafa Lombardino
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a nice little surprise! I got in touch with author Mike Wood through the Kindle page on Facebook by chance and soon saw that he had self-published his first novel. I'm all for supporting independent writers and, upon reading his book's description, I decided to give it a try. It looked fun, it was about the 1980s, I grew up in the 1980s, so it just jumped to the top of my "What to read next" queue.

I have to say I really can't remember reading a fiction book with a story so compelli
Kristi, A Book Fanatic
The premise got me -- anybody who grew up in the 80's will love this book...
This was a wonderful coming-of-age tale about a fatherless boy who is figuring out his place in life. The author did a great job making the reader root for Al during this story. This book would be great to develop into a movie!! I would recommend this book to anyone that was ever a child or has a heart :)
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, dtb, read-2011
In his bio on Amazon, Wood indicates he had many rejections from agents and publishers, "claiming the book was great, but too hard to market." After reading "Alchemy," I understand why. It isn't a mystery, although there is a mystery to be solved. It has a protagonist who is the perfect age for a Young Adult novel and I daresay many in this demographic would relate to much of the story - possibly (hopefully) even learn from it. However, some parents might feel that parts of the book aren't suita ...more
Cathy Speight
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
The author of this book states in his end 'Credits' that he 'doesn’t honestly like writing'. And yet, he persisted for 346 very long, tedious pages it seems. He also pays tribute to his editor's keen eye for detail. Really? Hmm...

‘I had just went…’

‘Why don’t you where your shoes?’

‘Must of called in sick’

‘By dinner time, I had made up my mind to just peddle over there…’

‘I might get a peak at the upstairs’


…to quote just a few from the appallingly long list. There were missing quotation mark
John Condron
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a "very good," but not "great" YA novel. I loved the first 38-and-a-half chapters, which is pretty good for a 40 chapter book from a first time author. The characters were engaging and likeable, the story was fast-paced and plausible, and the FIRST ending was very satisfying.

Though I hate cliches, I have to say "I couldn't put it down." I was emotionally engaged with the characters to the point where I had to stop reading several times because I couldn't see through my tears, or because
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This debut novel by author Mike Wood was a fun summer read and a very cool trip down the 1980s memory lane for me. The story is set in the summer of 1984 in Cape Cod, MA, and is told in the 1st person narrative by 15 year old Al Newman. During this coming of age summer, Al struggles with the unanswered disappearance of his father, and he is determined to find out what happened to him. Along comes a pretty teenage girl, Cammie, who along with her marine biologist father have tracked a wayward man ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. The author did an AMAZING job of capturing how it feels to be an early teenage really took me back 35 years. The characters are well developed and multidimensional. The book moves along at an excellent pace, and even when the story completely changes gears, the transition is smooth. There is an emotional depth to this story that is quite amazing, especially for a first-time author. Lastly, this book has an excellent message, and yet it avoids getting "preachy ...more
YA. Very enjoyable light easy holiday read. Review to follow.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Good book by someone everybody knows!
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet, quirky story. Very well written.
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Ask Me About Alch...: Questions? 1 12 Aug 12, 2011 06:36AM  
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Mike Wood is a middle school teacher by day, husband/father by night, and author by accident. His first novel, Alchemy, was mostly written while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon (which is a cool injury when it happens on a football field, but not so cool when it occurs while dancing at an outdoor concert!) That injury, and a somewhat serendipitous meeting with best-selling author AJ Jacobs, ...more
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