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The Clone Codes

Review

The Clone Codes

In 2170, 13-year-olds like Leanna Deberry attend All-Virtual School, preparing for university, striving to make the swifting team, and “fringing” with friends when they’ve finally caught up on schoolwork. They attend Virtual P.E. class to virtually exercise. In history class, they get to join the adventures of any person they wish to learn about and all the craziness that might include. And at home, their families own clones.

Everyone owns clones, and everyone knows the rules for how to deal with them. These rules are known as the Clone Codes --- nine laws created by the government’s Clone Humane Society for the protection and processing of clones. What everyone also knows is that clones are not human. They aren’t even 3/5 of a human like the cyborgs (those individuals with the misfortune of losing most of their physical bodies in tragic accidents).

They are 0/5 human.
0%.
Nothing.
100% not human.

They are not born, they are manufactured. When their parts get old, they “malfunction” and become obsolete. Like the commglasses Leanna wears and the GPS on the sky trams, they are tools used to make life easier for the humans. Unfortunately, in spite of all that clones have to offer, Leanna’s life hasn’t been all that easy. At the age of three, her whole family was in a farcar crash, and her dad died alongside her twin sister, Lindsay. Only Leanna and her mom survived, and if it weren’t for her mom’s clinic associate and long-time family friend Dr. Anatol Ayala (a.k.a. Doc Doc), she might have died that day too. Her mom is a big-shot child psychologist who writes online articles, appears on TV shows as an authority on mental health in children, and runs the best one-stop-for-all children’s medical facility in the Midwest.

So when her mom screams and comes slamming through the front door to activate their home security system, Leanna panics. Locks? Window shields? Backup power? Were they under attack? But before mom can explain what’s happening, a bounty hunter has tapped into the intercom and is accusing mom of treason and conspiring with aliens to destroy the global economy. As biobots work to break into the house, mom loads secret files onto Leanna’s commglasses and opens the bedroom window’s protective shield.

“Go, now,” Leanna’s mom says. “Do just as we’ve practiced. Run!”

THE CLONE CODES rips pages straight out of Leanna’s virtual journal to take readers on a futuristic ride through a world so far in the future that it just might be the past. The McKissack tag team of writers (Patricia, husband Fredrick and son John) brings the future to life with commglasses, biobots, virtual school, viboguns, sky trams, memory sticks, futuristic sports (like swifting), clones, cyborgs and spherical time (spheri-awesome!) while connecting us back to slavery, conspiracy and our nation’s founding fathers. History clashes against the future in this adventure of self-discovery and struggle for freedom as Leanna begins to uncover the biggest secret of them all.

“Welcome, Leanna. Come in,” mom says, “It is time for you to know the truth.”

Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens on February 1, 2010

The Clone Codes
by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick L. McKissack, and John McKissack