Thursday, January 5, 2012

Taylor Five by Ann Halam

iconiconAfter reading two Kristan Higgins novels in a row — and don't get me wrong, I love Kristan Higgins, I just needed a break — I decided to change gears and read something a little more serious.  My choice was Taylor Five, which is a children's book on a fairly serious topic: cloning.

Taylor is a 14-year-old girl who is a clone of another woman, a scientist.  She lives with her surrogate parents and their 12-year-old son, whom she considers her brother, on a primate reserve, where her parents and a handful of other scientists are studying the primates.

Then violence erupts nearby, and rebels come to the reserve and kill all of the scientists.  Taylor and Donny have to traverse the jungle with Uncle, an intelligent orangutan who seems to understand more than he ought to about what is going on.  This is when Taylor's gifts start to show: She is smarter and physically stronger than her surrogate brother Donny, causing the reader to start wondering what else she is, besides a clone.

It's a short book, and not as controversial a topic as, say, Eva (love that book!), but it's still pretty daring.  Indirectly, the story is addressing the question of what makes us who we are — nature (in this case, our genetic makeup) or nurture (the experiences and memories we have that are unique to us)?  A fast but memorable read, and one I would recommend to adults as well as children!

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