That's all I can say for this book.
I am a parent who has been going through a number of books so that when my sons are of age, I can have a reading list of suitable books for them whose content I am comfortable with. (Books written for adolescents have way too much anguish and sex in them for my [Orthodox Jewish] taste.)
This is one of those books that passes that test. (And I have to say that I was reluctant to give Nancy Farmer a second chance after her AWFUL, babbling book
A Girl Named Disaster
1. The prose is good and at the level of a reasonably intelligent adolescent;
2. The plot is gripping and the book was/ is hard to put down (I finished the whole book in two settings);
3. The character is something that would make sense to an adolescent boy;
4. There are several great topics for discussion, among them:
a. Dystopian societies
b. The Ethics of cloning/ genetic engineering/ stem cell harvesting (said topic can be pared down to an adolescents level and expanded as necessary)
c. Drug use and abuse
d. Questions about what is suffering. (p. 197: "What is suffering but knowledge of suffering?")
5. The book is also, in addition to being on par with the finest dystopian novels (
1984 (Signet Classics)
The Giver (Giver Quartet)
) and authors (George Orwell) was also two such novels in one. (The character went from one dystopian society to another.)
For the reason that the topics can work for a prescient adolescent, they could be also expanded and put to use for adults.
Verdict: Highly recommended.