"Are you a victim too?" -The Alchemyst, p.338
Josh and Sophie Newman wouldn't label themselves as victims. Sure, their archaeologist parents are in Utah, and they're in San Francisco for the summer. Sure, they have to spend that summer with an over-protective aunt. But they have summer jobs, and they have each other. Things could be a whole lot worse.
[spoiler] And then Josh's summer job boss turns out to be Nicholas Flamel (who, by the way, was alive in the 15th century), and the two teens get wrapped up fighting against Dr. John Dee (16th century is still really old, people) to protect the world from being overtaken by Dark Elders (basically every kind of myth/legend you'd like to think of). [/spoiler]
So much for "things could be a whole lot worse."
The Alchemyst is a quick read: while it's nearly 400 pages long, the print is large. It should take the average reader around a week to finish. (It took me five days, but I'm a part-time worker in the middle of a lull in a grad school class: I have more time on my hands than the average reader).
The Alchemyst is also an incredibly entertaining read: [spoiler] in the course of the book readers will encounter a teenage girl smacking a 500-year-old immortal over the head with a broomstick, a 2,000+-year-old warrior who still has to answer to Grandma, and the quips that inevitably accompany a teenage boy [/spoiler].
Lastly, though, The Alchemyst is a book that keeps on going. Michael Scott has finished the series, and there are five more beautiful, entertaining books to read after you've finished this one. And then there's the research. (What?!)
"Indeed, all of the characters in The Alchemyst, with the exception of the twins, are based on real historical characters or mythological beings." -The Alchemyst, p.371
In other words, after you've read this book...hit the library, or the Internet, or the family bookshelf, or whatever source of almost infinite knowledge you can think of. Google Nicholas Flamel, Dr. John Dee, and some of the other name drops you see in The Alchemyst. [spoiler] Forget working at a bookshop, or at "The Coffee Cup:" this is a summer job[/spoiler].
NOTE: If you'd like to immerse yourself in Michael Scott's world, visit http://flamels-immortal-portal.com/: while it hasn't been updated recently due to the book series being concluded, it's a great place to explore.
SOURCES: Obviously I own nothing that has been quoted or linked to. The Alchemyst and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel belong to Michael Scott. Flamel's Immortal Portal belongs to Michael Scott and the site administrators. The lovely, humorous GIF (from which the title is drawn), have their ultimate source in Dreamworks' The Road to El Dorado, but if you want to link to the exact GIF you can find it here.