Book Review: Elixir by Ted Galdi



Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal. But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.

An Addictive Storyline
5 Stars

Reviewed by I am a Book Junkie 

Elixir is an amazing story.

Elixir follows Sean, a fourteen year old who is already enrolled in college. Sean is special. He was a star on Jeopardy at 11 years old, beating out all of his competitors. His brain can perform tasks and solve problems that other brains cannot. Sean has an ability that can help him, and hurt him. When Sean develops an algorithm that threatens National Security, it seems like pain is all that he will endure.

Sean is a very well developed character. From the minute the reader is introduced to Sean, it is very easy to get a sense of who he is as a person. The reader understands that Sean is a bit tired of being recognized from Jeopardy and suddenly bombarded with questions from the show. The reader also understands that Sean wants to be known and recognized for more than just an appearance on a TV show. Sean does not like his “gift” to be publicly flaunted around – all Sean really wants is a chance at normalcy.

Sean also has a lot of different relationships throughout the novel, with his Professor Steven, his friend Kyle, his girlfriend Natasha, his aunt, and his new friend Fabrizio.

Natasha, his Aunt and the Professor were the characters that had the most development throughout the story. I could see the rebel side of Natasha, the protective yet anxious side of his Aunt, and the protective, understanding and caring side of his Professor.

Sean’s Professor was the character that I most connected with, beside Sean himself. I could feel the positive energy rolling off of him and surrounding him, and I could truly see that his intentions were in the right place, and every action he took was to help his student. I could see that the Professor truly cared for Sean and wanted his life to be a good one.

I also connected with Sean’s Aunt. After a certain scene in the novel, I could really begin to see that she was hiding her worries and apprehensions so that Sean could have a great life. I could see that his Aunt did everything in her power to make sure that Sean had a safe place to go every night and that Sean had the best chances in life. I could also see the sacrifices that she made for Sean and also how much it had hurt her to make some of these sacrifices. However, I also did see that she knew that her sacrifices were in the best interest of herself and Sean.

When I first met Natasha, I thought that she was big on rebellion. While Natasha still has the rebellious characteristic, I realized that there was more to her actions than the motive of angering her family. After a while, I am shocked to say that I even believed that was a motive to her relationship with Sean. Natasha is also a fragile human being who needed someone to confide in, and this person just so happened to be Sean.

In terms of plot, a lot of things occurred in the novel. The first part of the novel sets up the story wonderfully and gives the reader a sense of not only the characters, but the situations that they are dealing with. Each character is dealing with his or her own situation, at the same time that Sean is dealing with his own, and it is great to see how these different situations can evolve. This gives more substance to the story.

There is also a lot of action in this novel,specifically toward the last half. I loved the fact that it was high-intensity, and the pacing was perfect. The pacing is fast, however it allows the reader to grasp what is occurring in the novel with the same intensity as how Sean is interpreting it.

The writing style and structure to this novel is amazing as well. Mr. Galdi’s unique style makes it hard to put this book down. His writing was easy to understand and to follow as well – I never once found myself confused with what was occurring or with certain terms in the novel.

This being said, this book is incredibly scientific and mentions the government quite often. In terms of accuracy, I do not know if the scientific information or the information on government procedures are correct. However, I am willing to overlook this because of the ease of reading. Mr. Galdi explains both types of information very well and seamlessly blends this information into the story.

Something else I wanted to note was that the title – Elixir- does have significance. When I reached a moment in the novel where the meaning was revealed, I was speechless. I am excited to see other readers figure out the meaning behind it.

Overall, I was very surprised with this novel. I hope to be reading more of Mr. Galdi’s work in the future!

(I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. ~ I am a Book Junkie)

About the Author

Ted Galdi is the debut author of Elixir. He’s twenty-nine years old and lives in Los Angeles. He’s a graduate of Duke University. Feel free to contact him at For more information on Ted, including his TV, radio, and print interviews, please visit