The House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer‘s multi-medaled book about human clones, The House of the Scorpion, is 9280161celebrating its tenth anniversary and there isn’t a better time to read this teen dystopian about the perils of power. Matt is the human clone of El Patrón, the drug lord whose wealth and power dictates everyone’s fate in Opium, a country between the US and what used to be Mexico. The book follows Matt’s growth from petri-dish to age 14, where Matt learns bit by bit who he is and what it means to be human even when he is treated inhumanely. He escapes life as a clone only to find out about human oppression in an orphanage work-camp. Through everything, Matt demonstrates empathy and awareness of difficult moral choices, remembering the few who treated him kindly and taught him well. By the end of the book, Matt makes the biggest choice of his life, and the reader is right there, cheering him on, knowing that goodness is better than power.

A sequel is coming out in September.

Discussion possibilities include what it means to be human, ethical choices and good versus evil.



About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
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