Book Review – The House of the Scorpion

by Becky on May 21, 2012

in Books

Eleven O’Clock Mom Talks About Middle Grade Novels

The House of the Scorpion
by Nancy Farmer

Nancy Farmer’s truly mindblowing book The House of the Scorpion, while technically a middle grade novel, is really a novel for everyone—young adults, adults, reluctant readers, avid readers, and everyone in between. 

In this wildly imaginative story, young Matteo Alacran is a human clone whose ‘parent,’ El Patron, creates a young replica of himself for reasons so dark you’ve got to read them to believe them.  Once Matteo discovers the secret behind his existence, he understands that only one choice remains to him: escape from the confines of his childhood home, or die.  A National Book Award winner, Newbery Honor Book, and Printz Honor Book, The House of the Scorpion grapples with such fraught subjects as the ethics of cloning, the future of the global drug trade, and the meaning of being human. It also features a young hero who is as resourceful as he is courageous, risking everything not only to save himself but also to dismantle the empire of the very individual whose DNA he shares.

First published in 2002, this very important book is both a longtime favorite and a must-read for anyone and everyone who loves a killer sci-fi tale told at breakneck speed about characters who inspire both admiration and hatred, in pretty much equal proportions.  I recommend the book for kids ages eleven and up (give or take, depending on the maturity of the reader) and for all adults.  Yes, all.  It’s that compelling!

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