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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*The Declaration* by Gemma Malley- young readers book review
The Declaration
by Gemma Malley
Ages 9-12 320 pages Bloomsbury USA October 2007 Hardcover    

In the year 2140, people no longer have to grow old and die. Now there's Longevity, which stops nature from running its course. Sounds great, right? Not if you really are young, not just staying that way through medical procedures. Longevity combined with the fact that the earth can only sustain a certain population means that laws restricting the birth of children have had to be put into place, and anyone who is born to parents who have accepted Longevity is a Surplus (in England, at least; different countries have different laws). The only way to be legal is if the parents decide against Longevity drugs and live a natural life.

Anna is a surplus. She's been brought up in an institution, with the belief that her very existence is morally wrong and that she must atone for it. She doesn't question this belief -until Peter comes to Grange Hall. He makes all sorts of outrageous claims. He says that Anna has a right to exist, that free people not brainwashed into thinking Longevity cures society's ills (far from it) exist, and that he knows her parents. At first, Anna is totally resistant to Peter's message, and why should she not be? She has been brainwashed. But a bit of doubt creeps into her, and when Peter urges her to run away with him and escape to some semblance of freedom, she's got a hard choice to make.

The Declaration is a very interesting, thought-provoking novel. The writing is good, too, but it's the questions the book raises that really make it memorable. Living forever has been something humans have dreamed of since the beginning of time. It's why the whole concept of an afterlife exists; skeptics want to just live forever on earth. The average person doesn't stop to think of the consequences that unchecked population growth with no one dying would have. The Declaration makes you think about that, and it's not a pretty picture. Aside raising interesting questions, this book also has good characters and a suspenseful, engaging plot that will have readers racing through the pages to find out what happens next to Anna and Peter. Combined, these factors make a book that is well worth reading, and one I highly recommend. The Declaration is an absorbing, thoughtful, and intelligent debut novel that will have readers eager to read more from Gemma Malley.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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