Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Published in 2007. 301 pages.

My book-loving 14-year-old daughter had to read two dystopian novels over the summer for her freshman language arts class. Of the dozen titles on the list (which included Uglies, The Giver, and The Hunger Games), there were only three that she hadn't already read: Brave New World, 1984, and The Declaration. I recommended that she pick one of the two classics (both of which I read in high school or college) and then also read the young adult novel. That's what she did.

When I picked up The Declaration from the library for her, I read the first few pages and I was sucked right into the story. It took me a while to get back to the book, but I'm sure glad I did!

Surplus Anna committed an unforgivable crime.
She was born.
The year is 2140, and longevity drugs provide a fountain of youth for those who sign the Declaration and agree to not have children. Children, like Anna, born outside the Declaration are a worthless burden who must pay back society for their very existence. But when Anna meets Peter, who tells her that nobody should be considered a surplus, she starts to wonder what is true, what is right - and what she should do about it.

I love this passage:
Surplus meant unnecessary. Not required.

You couldn't be a Surplus if you were needed by someone else. You couldn't be a Surplus if you were loved.

This is my first book for YA-D2 and also on my Fall into Reading list. I'm eager to read the sequels to The Declaration: The Resistance and The Legacy.

From the peanut gallery: Because my daughter was required to keep a response journal during her reading to examine common themes, characters, plot elements, and quotes and then write a three- to five-page essay comparing the two novels, I think she was "burned out" on both books by the time school started at the end of August. Last night when I asked her what she thought of The Declaration, she told me that it is "not the most exciting book, but easier to read than Brave New World." In looking over her response journal, though, I see some good insights into what it means to be human, the power of love, and the value of family.


1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite YA dystopian books of all time. I am a little disappointed that your 14 year old didn't love it as much as I did.

    I would love to get my hands on that response journal though. I have been working on one myself chapter by chapter of 1984, but it has been a very slow process.