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House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer

May 7, 2009

housescorpionThe book starts out with Matt, the main character, living in a small shack in the middle of a large field. A group of kids find him; he breaks out of the shack and joins them. When he cuts his foot, the kids take him to a mansion owned by an important man named El Patron. We soon find out that Matt is actually a clone of El Patron, then follow him on his adventures toward the truth.

The setting is far in the future, when chips can be implanted in people and animals to make them obey any command given, cloning happens frequently, and the border between the U.S. and Mexico is opium-growing land.

House of the Scorpion deals with several themes you don’t find in many other young adult novels: cloning, slavery, animal cruelty, and species-ism. Species-ism is like racism, but with different species of humans instead of races.

Matt is one of the best-developed characters I have ever met in fiction. Farmer had an advantage here because the story takes place in a completely alien world of her own invention. The reader knows nothing other than what Matt knows. This makes every situation intriguing.

Some young adult novels that are similar in genre to House of the Scorpion are Rash by Pete Hautman and Feed by M.T. Anderson. These are also very good books, also set in a dystopian future but with very different themes.

I rated House of the Scorpion a 10 out of 10. I would highly recommend it to any reader.


Publisher:  Atheneum Books, 380 pages

Read more about this title on Amazon.com

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