Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion is a National Book Award Winner, Printz Honoree, and Newbery Honoree.  I recently had a research librarian come in to my class to teach them how to find appropriate resources and, while I don't normally take attendance, I sent around a sheet with "what's your favorite book?" on it to the students so I can give the librarian the number of how many students were there for her statistics.  This book came from one of those recommendations. I had never heard of the book and when I looked it up, I found it was fairly highly regarded.

I think the book has a fascinating premise and the world building was amazing. In this dystopian world, the area between the US and Mexico has basically been ceded to drug lords, leaving relative peace in the other regions. The region called Opium has slaves to farm the land and clones who are raised to donate organs to drug lords.  And then we follow the story of one of the clones.  The book really falls off the rails for me at this point.  It's an interesting premise - how much does the clone act like the original - but the clone is just so annoying. And kind of stupid.  I get that it's a young adult novel, but kids aren't stupid, they're just young.

So I'm not going to be reading any more in this series, but I'm glad I pulled it off the library shelf and gave it a chance. I'm also pretty impressed with my student for recommending it; it's pretty rare that there's a young adult novel that's such a classic that I haven't heard of. 

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