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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 7 Up-Malley paints a picture even grimmer than that in James DeVita's The Silenced (HarperCollins, 2007). In Anna's world of 2140, almost everyone on the planet has access to Longevity-a drug that arrests the aging process. Energy, food, and other resources are scarce, so around the world, humanity has made the same choice-no new humans can be allowed. In the U.K., any children born to Legals are Surplus. Catchers capture them and send them to horrid places like Grange Hall, where they are taught that their very existence is a sin and to make up for the resources that they steal from Legals they must pay with a lifetime of abject servitude. Surplus Anna is close to leaving Grange Hall and, she hopes, becoming a Valuable Asset when a new teenage Surplus arrives. Peter is different from anyone Anna has ever known. He gradually convinces her that he knows her parents and that they are kind and loving, contrary to everything that she has been taught. As their escape unfolds, readers also learn the backstory of the cruel House Matron of Grange Hall. The two stories collide in a startling climax. Malley combines issues of the environment, immoral incarceration, slavery, and torture into an enthralling tale. This novel will appeal to any teens who have ever felt their age held against them without evidence of any wrongdoing on their part.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Set in the year 2140 in England, this chilling dystopian tale explores issues of overpopulation, global warming and the ethics of immortality. A drug called Longevity has made life without death a reality for the masses-but driven humanity to the brink of a Malthusian catastrophe. Orwellian-like Authorities have all but outlawed procreation in an effort to stabilize the population. Those born illegally are inevitably captured, sent to processing facilities and taught to be Valuable Assets to society, i.e., slaves to the immortals. Surplus Anna has spent most of her 14 years inside Grange Hall, where she has learned to hate not only herself but also the parents who selfishly broke the Declaration in giving life to her. But the arrival of a rebellious Surplus named Peter, who has lived on the Outside, brings Anna disturbing revelations about the world and her particular place in it. In her first YA book, Malley (British author Gemma Townley writing under a pseudonym) successfully imparts a strong message about the need for continual change ("Nature is not about preserving old things, but about creating new ones. New life. New ideas"). Although the backstory and world-building elements seem slightly underdeveloped, readers with a taste for speculative fiction will enjoy this relevant read. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.