GEMMA MALLEY studied philosophy at Reading University before working as a journalist. A successful author of women's fiction, "The Declaration "is her first book for young readers. She lives in London with her family.
Gr 9 Up-The year is 2140, and scientists have discovered cures for illnesses and even old age, and citizens have become practically immortal through the use of longevity drugs in Gemma Malley's debut novel (Bloomsbury, 2007). As a result, this dystopian future is overcrowded and running out of natural resources. To remedy the situation, The Declaration was passed denying those who take longevity drugs the right to have offspring. Anna is a surplus, a child born in violation of the Declaration. She and other surpluses live in the bleak Grange Hall where they try to learn useful skills and are treated as sub-humans. The girl's miserable existence becomes more tolerable when a new surplus, Peter arrives. He has a plan to escape Grange Hall and wants to take Anna with him, claiming that her parents are members of an underground movement seeking to overthrow the oppressive government. A murder and a double suicide resolve the situation. The novel spends too much time focusing on the deplorable conditions at Grange Hall. The story becomes very repetitive with various beatings and fights among the surpluses. The futuristic setting features so little technological development that, with the exception of the longevity drugs, it could have been set more than 100 years earlier. Narrator Charlotte Parry captures a variety of British accents well and brings the grim novel to life.-Ryan Henry, Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro, KY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.