GEM X by Nicky Singer


Age Range: 14 & up
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Advances in genetic engineering are the basis of this disturbing but slow-paced dystopian novel. In an alternate society, the genetically enhanced live in the rich and comfortable Polis section of the Tropolis. “Naturals,” those who lack genetic enhancement and are also known as “Dreggies,” live in the Estates, where sometimes there is no running water for days at a time. Nothing disturbs privileged 16-year-old Maxo Strang until he notices a crack in his perfect face. Many teens in Maxo’s generation, GemX, are experiencing these cracks, and they answer a call to come to the local hospital for an antidote. Maxo and his friends don’t know that the Tropolis’s leadership is planning to wipe out his entire defective generation and disguise it as an attack by radical Dreggies. When Maxo rescues a Dreggie girl, Gala, from the hospital explosion, he finds himself in the middle of a desperate family who won’t give up the search for their missing patriarch. Some details of this book bear comparison to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, but unlike those books, this one lacks excitement and one central character that readers can connect with and want to see triumph over oppression. There are many details known to the reader but not to the characters. The time and space taken by these details would have been better used to develop one or two important characters and move the story. (Science fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2108-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2008


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