Shad Hadid and the Forbidden Alchemies by George Jreije

The second novel in the Shad Hadid series finds our hero in his second semester at Alexandria Academy studying his passion, alchemy. When his mentor, Kahem, gets sick and Shad finds a secret letter about necromancers stirring up trouble again, Shad and his best friend Sarah sneak off to Lebanon over spring break hoping to save Shad’s Mama from his evil stepfather. Jreije’s follow-up to The Alchemists of Alexandria is a magical romp through modern-day Lebanon with bustling alchemy markets and rich Lebanese delicacies, all while dangerous animal alchemists and sinister necromancers lurk around every corner. Even though he’s surrounded by his endearing friends from school and intriguing new characters, Shad shines bright as the sweets-loving, passionate heart of this fantastical Middle Eastern adventure.