Clone Codes by McKissack YA Novel Review

Title: The Clone Codes

Authors: Patricia C McKissack,
Fredrick McKissack &
John McKissack

Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 9780439929837


Review May Contain Spoilers

This is another book that offered an interesting concept, but failed to deliver.  I first noticed this one because of the arresting cover.  I love how the textures and colors play off each other, and how the girl’s face shimmers a metallic purple, giving her veiled, mysterious look.  The promised political intrigue and the conflict between humans, cyborgs, and clones grabbed my attention, too, so I decided to check it out of the library.  Clocking in at under 170 pages, it didn’t seem like it would be a big investment in time, so it came home with me for a short stay.

One of the biggest problems for me turned out to be the short length and the ambiguous ending.  Things were really starting to get rolling when presto, chango, I came to the last page, where I felt more than a bit cheated.  I really hope that there is a sequel in the works, because the conclusion was not very satisfying.

Leanna is your typical 13 year old girl in the year 2170.  She attends a virtual school and enjoys hanging with her best friend Sandra.  When her mother is arrested and accused of being a traitor, Leanna’s life is changed forever.  On the run from brutal bounty hunters, she learns about the mysterious organization The Liberty Bell Movement, a group that wants to give clones and cyborgs equal rights with humans.   With the government labeling the members of the Liberty Bell Movement terrorists, Leanna is scared and confused.  She doesn’t know who to trust, or why people are trying to hurt her.  Can she uncover the secret before it’s too late?

The book is very fast paced, and Leanna’s emotional distress is telegraphed throughout the narrative.  She is a girl of her time, and her thoughts, opinions, and biases have  been shaped by the people around her.  She believes that clones and cyborgs are less than human, more machine than living being.  She thinks of them dismissively, and can’t even imagine having one for a friend.  During the course of the novel, she is forced to reevaluate the way she thinks about them, and herself.

Drawing on parallels from the United States era of slavery and the Civil War, the authors pave the way for Leanna to reshape her world view.  As she uncovers secrets about the Liberty Bell Movement, she also learns unsettling truths about herself.  Leanna’s inner voice effectively communicates her thoughts, fears, and dreams.  Just as I was starting to become really engaged in the story, however, it abruptly comes to a screeching, and very disappointing, halt.  It seemed as though all of the tension and suspense was built up for nothing.

Grade: C

This book was rented from my local library.  Support your library!

One thought on “Clone Codes by McKissack YA Novel Review

  • November 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I just got done reading the book. It was SSSSSOOOOOOOO amazing. I loved it. I can not wait for the next book.

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