Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Clone Codes

The Clone Codes

Patricia McKissack, Frederick McKissack, John McKissack
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic, 2010   ISBN: 978-0439929837

When thirteen-year-old Leanna Deberry is chosen to be a student in the pilot program of the new All-Virtual School (AVS) she is delighted. Now she doesn’t just get to read about the Underground Railway, she gets to experience it first hand as if she was there. She gets to talk to Harriet Tubman, and she truly comes to appreciate what it must have been like to be a slave on the run. Her experiences in this virtual history lesson does not, however, help Leanna to better understand what is happening in her own world.

It is 2170 and humans now share their planet with clones and cyborgs (humans who have had three or more body or organ replacements). Both clones and cyborgs are treated little better than slaves. They are kept separate, and clones in particular are treated as if they are subhuman. Leanna does not have a problem with this state of affairs until the day when her whole life is turned upside-down.

It all begins when Leanna’s mother is arrested for treason. Apparently, Doctor Deberry is a member of an organization that is trying to get the government to treat clones and cyborgs humanely. She does not believe in segregation or slavery and has spent much of her adult life trying to do something about the situation. To protect her daughter, Doctor Deberry allows herself to be arrested, and Leanna has to go on the run. Just like the slaves on the Underground Railroad, Leanna is shuttled from place to place. As she travels, she learns a great deal about herself and about the organization that her mother belongs to. She learns that life is a lot more complicated, and dangerous, than she ever imagined.

This exciting first book in a new series will delight readers who enjoy sci-fi titles. Readers not only get a taste of what the future could be like, but they also see how the past and the future are inexorably tied together. Startling revelations and unexpected plot shifts will keep readers on their toes throughout the story.