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Author: Sandler, Karen
Kayla and Mishalla, two genetically engineered non-human slaves (GENs), fall in love with higher-status boys, discover deep secrets about the creation of GENs, and in the process find out what it means to be human.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 147881
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 23.0 Quiz: 55702
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/11)
School Library Journal (10/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (10/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2011 As a GEN, or genetically engineered non-human, Kayla has always faced isolation, but she has also always questioned the assumption that she’s inferior just because she was grown in a tank rather than being directly descended from the humans who came from Earth hundreds of years before. An unexpected assignment lands her in dangerous and wondrous territory as she is exposed to potential love, active (though still early stage) rebellion, and other folks who also believe that using GENs as slaves and controlling them through a fabricated religion is unethical. The descriptions of the way GENs were initially created, using a mix of human, animal, and artificial elements are compelling, if scientifically rather sketchy. Unfortunately, Kayla is rather flat as a protagonist, with the author relying overmuch on a few key characteristics (like her clumsiness or her extreme stubbornness) in too many situations to move the plot forward. In addition, there is little to distinguish this planet from Earth—the potential for newness is lost under what reads mostly as an Indian caste system set in an artificial location. Nevertheless, Kayla is undeniably intriguing, and the flaws are less memorable than the subtle optimism that she, unlikely enough, clings to, and the same quiet hopefulness that runs throughout this novel. AS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2011 Gr 8 Up—Mishalla and Kayla have been best friends for as long as they can remember, but as they near their 15th birthdays, they know they may never see each other again. In their world, GEN's (short for Genetically Engineered Non-Humans) are given their work assignments at that age and are not allowed any contact with former friends or nurture parents. What the girls do not realize is just how dangerous their assignments are about to become as both of them get embroiled in a plot to uncover decades-old information regarding genetic manipulation, scientific scandal, and corruption at the highest levels of government. In her first novel for teens, Sandler has created a fascinating dystopian world in which a caste system, supported by manipulated historical records and a religion based solely on insuring the obedience of the GENs, was manufactured by their ancestors who escaped a dying Earth two centuries earlier. The author's speculative vision of the darker side of future possibilities in genetic engineering and mind control is both chilling and thought-provoking. This is a dark novel that will appeal to those who enjoyed M.T. Anderson's Feed (Candlewick, 2002), and it would make a good stepping-stone to Anthony Burgess's classic, A Clockwork Orange (W.W. Norton, 1963).—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.