Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review - House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Hosting a girl's book club is a blast! I get to read young adult fiction (one of my favorite genres) and discuss it with some very sharp middle schoolers. Often we choose our books while we hang out in Hattie's. I am usually perusing the nicely stocked Newbery section, which is where our latest book was shelved.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, received a Newbery Honor Book Award, a National Book Award and the Michael L. Printz Award For Excellence In Young Adult Literature. Some awarded books may be good literature, but in the end, don't really appeal to kids. That was most definitely NOT the case with this book. We all were completely taken in by the book, once we got past untangling the many characters. 

The futuristic story of Matt, a clone being raised for spare parts, is both shocking and believable. The story takes place in a empire called Opium between the United States and Azatlan (formerly Mexico). Matt is the clone of the 141-year-old drug lord emperor of Opium, Matteo Alacran. Clones are despised outcasts in this society and often treated worse than animals. Matt experiences periods of care and deprivation. 

The people who love him do what they can to protect and educate him, which ultimately keeps the story engaging. Here is what some of our book club girls had to say about House of the Scorpion.

SBS said, "This book was amazing! The whole idea was so clever and intriguing. I loved the plot and characters!"

AB said, "House of the Scorpion was an absolute page turner. I just couldn't put it down. This was one of my favorites!"

BH said, "Personally, I loved it! It's a really good book, and it had me turning pages faster (and faster). The whole futuristic, born in a cow, I'm a clone, and the end part (which I shall not reveal :D) all had me going! It was awesome."

I finished House of the Scorpion quickly, before most of the girls started it. After reading it, I was confident that the girls would love it, once they got started. Several of the girls needed encouragement through the early part of the book, but they were so happy they stuck with it!

Highly recommended! (not just for kids!!!)

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