The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Redd Becker Book Review

The House of the Scorpion In The House of the Scorpion Nancy Farmer explores the idea of cloning in order to harvest organs to guarantee another’s survival. Farmer has a literary style of writing and uses sophisticated language to tell her stories, but this story flows easily.

This is a futuristic world where a country ruled by a powerful drug lord separates the USA from Mexico. Farmer provides plenty of detailed descriptions that make her alternate world appear plausible.

In this story Farmer unfolds for us the route Matteo, the young protagonist, takes on his journey to self discovery. He begins his life locked in near isolation as a monster without rights. Later we discover he lives as a pawn created to ensure his master’s future health.  Farmer integrates social issues in all her stories. She incorporates ideas on individual rights, slavery, loving those we fear and the effects of extreme power, in a humane in this gripping story.

Awards for The House of the Scorpion

Farmer’s book has won much recognition as a National Book Award Winner, Newberry Honor Book and American Library Association’s Honor Book for Young Adult Literature. All with well reason. I’ve enjoyed reading The House of the Scorpion twice. It was a compelling read both times.

The House of the Scorpion Discussion Questions

Schmoop has some pretty good questions to prompt discussions in class or in your book group. Or try Simon and Schuster’s Pulse Guide for Reading Groups for The House of the Scorpion.

My Rating five-stars

The House of Scorpion by Nancy FarmerThe House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alacran, #1) by Nancy Farmer
Series: Matteo Alacran #1
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on January 1st 1970
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 380
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four-stars

Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free?