The House of the Scorpion

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Overview

This modern classic takes on an iron-fisted drug lord, clones bred for their organs, and what it means to be human. Winner of the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors.

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then ...

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Overview

This modern classic takes on an iron-fisted drug lord, clones bred for their organs, and what it means to be human. Winner of the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors.

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster—except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.

In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrâon, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.

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  • House Of The Scorpion
    House Of The Scorpion  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Winner of the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature
A 2003 Newbery Honor Book
A 2003 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

The Barnes & Noble Review
Newbery Honor author Nancy Farmer wows us with this riveting sci-fi thriller about a young clone struggling for acceptance in his tumultuous, sheltered world.

Matt's last name is Alacrán, which means that he belongs to a powerful family that controls the drug Farms between the U.S. and the former Mexico. But Matt's different; he's a clone in a world filled with dangers for his kind. His only protection from the brutal surroundings are El Patron, the elderly patriarch/drug lord kingpin from which he was made, his caretaker Celia, and a bodyguard who has been assigned to him. Things fall apart when Matt learns the real reason for his creation and he makes a harrowing escape to a promising -- yet frighteningly insecure -- world.

With all the makings of a modern classic, The House of the Scorpion is both shocking and intense, particularly because it looks toward an all-too-possible future. Matt is a courageous, sympathetic character, but his strong-willed fits of anger, which mirror El Patron's, leave a bittersweet taste amid his good intentions. Another impressive book from Farmer, this novel is true science fiction genius. Matt Warner

USA Today
“This is mind-expanding fiction for older teens that also works for adults—think Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Orwell's 1984 or Nevil Shute's On the Beach.”
Chicago Tribune
“Strong, rough, exciting reading.”
The Boston Globe
“A story rich in twists and tangles, heroes and heroines, villages and dupes, and often dazzlingly beautiful descriptive prose.”
starred review Booklist
* “This is a powerful, ultimately hopeful story that builds on today's sociopolitical, ethical, and scientific issues and prognosticates a compelling picture of what the future could bring. All of these serious issues are held together by a remarkable coming-of-age story.”
Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "In this eerily realistic depiction of society 100 years hence, the wealthy class harvests the organs of clones to prolong their lives. Farmer explores vital and soul-searching questions about what it means to be human." Ages 11-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus

An inspiring tale of friendship, survivial, hope, and transcendence

KLIATT
In a future world where an evil empire called Opium is tucked in between the U.S. and Aztlán (formerly Mexico), a young clone named Matt comes of age. His foot is tattooed "Property of the Alacrán Estate"; he is the clone of El Patrón, the cruel 142-year-old ruler of Opium, a drug kingdom farmed by "eejits," brain-dead clones. Matt has not has his brain deadened; he is a favorite of El Patrón, reminding him of his lost youth, though the man's nasty, conspiring family hates Matt, considering him "livestock." Matt's other champions are a cook and a bodyguard, who conspire to save him from a fate of being harvested for organs for El Patrón. A girl named María comes to love Matt, too, and when El Patrón dies and the remaining family try to kill Matt, all his friends work to help him escape from the Alacrán estate. Matt runs off to Aztlán but is captured and taken to an awful orphanage, which is more of a Nazi-style work camp. There he makes friends, helps incite a rebellion, and is thrown into a bone pit and almost dies. He escapes, finds María, and returns at last to his inheritance, the Alacrán estate, with plans to undo the evil of El Patrón. This is a long but engrossing SF adventure by the Newbery Honor-winning author of A Girl Named Disaster, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, and other books for young readers. Farmer grew up in Yuma, Arizona and evokes the landscape of this Mexican border area beautifully. Matt is an appealing hero, despised by many for being a clone but noble and brave in the face of the many hardships he encounters. He learns to value himself, ignoring the opinion of others, and comes to understand that he has the power to make change for good. This will appeal toadventure story lovers as well as SF fans. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students.
— Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT
From The Critics
Looks can be deceiving. Though he has grown up in relative isolation, young Mateo Alacràn looks like a normal boy of six. Yet on the day he meets his first outsiders, he discovers he is anything but a normal boy. He is a clone. In a futuristic world in which clones are despised by humans and used only for medical purposes, Matt is an exception. He carries within him the DNA of the powerful drug lord El Patròn, and therefore, is treated to the finest life and education. As he grows and learns, he attempts to reconcile his love for El Patròn with the evil world the man has produced, a world in which millions of humans and animals are turned to zombies and many clones are slaughtered for their organs. Guided by a few friends who love and watch over him, Matt must summon the courage to flee to safety after El Patròn's death, and the compassion to return and attempt to change the drug kingdom forever. Farmer presents a fresh look at the coming of age theme in her futuristic and controversial world of clones and zombies. Despite a rather hasty and almost simplistic ending to the novel, the plot is engaging, and the characters are well developed and sympathetic. High school students will connect with Matt as he grows from a frightened little boy to a young man who wrestles with difficult issues and decisions. 2002, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 380 pp.,
— Erin Nita Miller
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Nancy Farmer's 2002 National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor book (Atheneum, 2002) takes listeners to a futuristic, but familiar, Central American landscape where a powerful drug lord includes his own clones among his possessions. Narrator Robert Ramirez does a solid job with a large cast of characters and the many Spanish words and phrases that heighten the story's authenticity. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Matt Alacrán has spent his youth secreted away in a secluded hut, his only knowledge of the world provided by his caregiver Celia and his view out the window on the white ocean of poppies growing all around. Matt is a clone, an outcast hated and feared as a beast by human society. When he uses an iron cooking pot to smash his window and goes out into the world, Matt sets into motion a fantastic adventure in a land called Opium, a strip of land between the US and a place once called Mexico. Opium is ruled by El Patr-n, a 142-year-old drug lord, inhabited by "eejits"-docile farm workers controlled by brain implants-and overseen by an army of bodyguards. Farmer's tale is a wild, futuristic coming-of-age story with a science-fiction twist: How do you find out who you are when what you are is a clone-a photograph-of a human being. How have you come to exist, and for what purpose? Can you ever expect to be more than what you were designed to be? As demonstrated in The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (1994), Farmer has a talent for creating exciting tales in beautifully realized, unusual worlds. With undertones of vampires, Frankenstein, dragons' hoards, and killing fields, Matt's story turns out to be an inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence. A must-read for SF fans.
Booklist
* “This is a powerful, ultimately hopeful story that builds on today's sociopolitical, ethical, and scientific issues and prognosticates a compelling picture of what the future could bring. All of these serious issues are held together by a remarkable coming-of-age story.”
From the Publisher
* “Readers will be hooked from the first page.”

* "An inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence."

* “This is a powerful, ultimately hopeful story that builds on today's sociopolitical, ethical, and scientific issues and prognosticates a compelling picture of what the future could bring. All of these serious issues are held together by a remarkable coming-of-age story.”

“Mind-expanding fiction.”

“Strong, rough, exciting reading.”

“A story rich in twists and tangles, heroes and heroines, villages and dupes, and often dazzlingly beautiful descriptive prose.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689852237
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,476
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Farmer

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor books: The Ear, the Eye and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which, in 2002, also won the National Book Award and the Printz Honor. Other books include The Lord of Opium, The Sea of Trolls, The Land of the Silver Apples, The Islands of the Blessed, Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, and three picture books for young children. She grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border and now lives with her family in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Biography

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in a quirky hotel on the outskirts of Mexico, Farmer's unconventional upbringing around such types as rodeo wranglers and circus travelers all but guaranteed the unique and colorful life that was to follow.

After receiving her B.A. degree from Oregon's Reed College 1963, Farmer enlisted in the Peace Corps in India where she served from 1963 to 1965. From 1969 to 1971, she found herself immersed in the study of chemistry at Merritt College in Oakland, California and later at the University of California at Berkeley from 1969 to 1971. However, her wanderlust eventually took her to Africa, where she labored as a lab technician in Zimbabwe from 1975 to 1978. There, she met Harold, her husband-to-be, who was an English teacher at the University; after a weeklong courtship, they were engaged. Happily married ever since, they have a son, Daniel.

On how she decided to become a writer, Farmer explained in an interview with the Educational Paperback Association, "When Daniel was four, while I was reading a novel, the feeling came over me that I could create the same kind of thing. I sat down almost in a trance and produced a short story. It wasn't good, but it was fun. I was forty years old." She continues, "Since that time I have been absolutely possessed with the desire to write. I can't explain it, only that everything up to then was a preparation for my real vocation."

Her first book, Do You Know Me?, an adventure for young people set in Zimbabwe, was soon to follow this epiphany. The book was well-received by kids and critics alike, and Publishers Weekly praised Farmer for providing "a most interesting window on a culture seldom seen in children's books."

Her follow-up, The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, was named an Newbery Award Honor Book in 1995, and also honored as a Notable Book and a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association, and an Honor Book by the Golden Kite Awards, awarded by the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators. Most recently, The House of the Scorpion won the 2002 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Good To Know

A former chemistry teacher, one of Farmer's first jobs was as an insect pathology technician. Said farmer in an interview with the Educational Paperback Association, "I had never taken entomology. All I knew was that bugs had more legs than cows, but my boss wanted someone who wouldn't talk back to him."

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    1. Hometown:
      Menlo Park, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Phoenix, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.A., Reed College, 1963

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: In the Beginning

In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny that Eduardo could see them only under a microscope. He studied them anxiously in the darkened room.

Water bubbled through tubes that snaked around the warm, humid walls. Air was sucked into growth chambers. A dull, red light shone on the faces of the workers as they watched their own arrays of little glass dishes. Each one contained a drop of life.

Eduardo moved his dishes, one after the other, under the lens of the microscope. The cells were perfect — or so it seemed. Each was furnished with all it needed to grow. So much knowledge was hidden in that tiny world! Even Eduardo, who understood the process very well, was awed. The cell already understood what color hair it was to have, how tall it would become, and even whether it preferred spinach to broccoli. It might even have a hazy desire for music or crossword puzzles. All that was hidden in the droplet.

Finally the round outlines quivered and lines appeared, dividing the cells in two. Eduardo sighed. It was going to be all right. He watched the samples grow, and then he carefully moved them to the incubator.

But it wasn't all right. Something about the food, the heat, the light was wrong, and the man didn't know what it was. Very quickly over half of them died. There were only fifteen now, and Eduardo felt a cold lump in his stomach. If he failed, he would be sent to the Farms, and then what would become of Anna and the children, and his father, who was so old?

"It's okay," said Lisa, so close by that Eduardo jumped. She was one of the senior technicians. She had worked for so many years in the dark, her face was chalk white and her blue veins were visible through her skin.

"How can it be okay?" Eduardo said.

"The cells were frozen over a hundred years ago. They can't be as healthy as samples taken yesterday."

"That long," the man marveled.

"But some of them should grow," Lisa said sternly.

So Eduardo began to worry again. And for a month everything went well. The day came when he implanted the tiny embryos in the brood cows. The cows were lined up, patiently waiting. They were fed by tubes, and their bodies were exercised by giant metal arms that grasped their legs and flexed them as though the cows were walking through an endless field. Now and then an animal moved its jaws in an attempt to chew cud.

Did they dream of dandelions? Eduardo wondered. Did they feel a phantom wind blowing tall grass against their legs? Their brains were filled with quiet joy from implants in their skulls. Were they aware of the children growing in their wombs?

Perhaps the cows hated what had been done to them, because they certainly rejected the embryos. One after another the infants, at this point no larger than minnows, died.

Until there was only one.

Eduardo slept badly at night. He cried out in his sleep, and Anna asked what was the matter. He couldn't tell her. He couldn't say that if this last embryo died, he would be stripped of his job. He would be sent to the Farms. And she, Anna, and their children and his father would be cast out to walk the hot, dusty roads.

But that one embryo grew until it was clearly a being with arms and legs and a sweet, dreaming face. Eduardo watched it through scanners. "You hold my life in your hands," he told the infant. As though it could hear, the infant flexed its tiny body in the womb until it was turned toward the man. And Eduardo felt an unreasoning stir of affection.

When the day came, Eduardo received the newborn into his hands as though it were his own child. His eyes blurred as he laid it in a crib and reached for the needle that would blunt its intelligence.

"Don't fix that one," said Lisa, hastily catching his arm. "It's a Matteo Alacrán. They're always left intact."

Have I done you a favor? thought Eduardo as he watched the baby turn its head toward the bustling nurses in their starched, white uniforms. Will you thank me for it later?

Copyright © 2002 by Nancy Farmer

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Table of Contents

Youth: 0 to 6
1. In the Beginning 2
2. The Little House in the Poppy Fields 5
3. Property of the Alacran Estate 15
4. Maria 25
5. Prison 36
Middle Age: 7 to 11
6. El Patron 52
7. Teacher 65
8. The Eejit in the Dry Field 75
9. The Secret Passage 84
10. A Cat with Nine Lives 92
11. The Giving and Taking of Gifts 102
12. The Thing on the Bed 112
13. The Lotus Pond 122
14. Celia's Story 136
Old Age: 12 to 14
15. A Starved Bird 146
16. Brother Wolf 156
17. The Eejit Pens 166
18. The Dragon Hoard 178
19. Coming-of-Age 186
20. Esperanza 194
21. Blood Wedding 203
22. Betrayal 215
Age 14
23. Death 230
24. A Final Good-bye 240
25. The Farm Patrol 248
La Vida Nueva
26. The Lost Boys 260
27. A Five-legged Horse 269
28. The Plankton Factory 277
29. Washing a Dusty Mind 288
30. When the Whales Lost Their Legs 295
31. Ton-Ton 306
32. Found Out 317
33. The Boneyard 324
34. The Shrimp Harvester 334
35. El Dia de los Muertos 345
36. The Castle on the Hill 353
37. Homecoming 363
38. The House of Eternity 373
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First Chapter

Chapter 3: Property of the Alacrán Estate

Celia left in the morning, and Matt spent the entire day waiting for the children. He had given up hope when, just before sunset, he heard voices approaching through the poppy fields.

He planted himself in front of the window and waited.

"There he is! See, María, I told you I wasn't lying," cried Emilia. Her hand rested on the shoulder of a much smaller girl. "He won't talk to us, but you're about his age. Maybe he won't be afraid of you." Emilia pushed the girl ahead of her and fell back to wait with Steven.

María wasn't at all shy about coming up to the window. "Hey, boy!" she yelled, rapping the glass with her fist. "What's your name? Do you want to play?"

With one blow, she stole Matt's carefully prepared speech. He stared at her, unable to think of another opening.

"Well, is it yes or no?" María turned toward the others. "Make him unlock the door."

"That's up to him," said Steven.

Matt wanted to say he didn't have the key, but he was unable to get the words out.

"At least he isn't hiding today," remarked Emilia.

"If you can't unlock the door, open the window," María said.

Matt tried, knowing it wouldn't work. Celia had nailed the window shut. He threw up his hands.

"He understands what we say," said Steven.

"Hey, boy! If you don't do something quick, we're going away," María shouted.

Matt thought desperately. He needed something to interest them. He held up his finger, as Celia did when she wanted him to wait. He nodded his head to show that he agreed with María's demand and was about to do something.

"What does that mean?" said Emilia.

"Beats me. Maybe he's a mute and can't talk," Steven guessed.

Matt raced to his bedroom. He ripped the picture of the man with the bullfrog sandwich from the wall. It made Celia laugh. Maybe it would make these children laugh. He ran back and pressed the newspaper against the window. The three children came close to study it.

"What's it say?" asked María.

"'Ribbit on Rye,'" read Steven. "Do you get it? It's a bullfrog going ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, and it's between two slices of rye bread. That's pretty funny."

Emilia giggled, but María looked uncertain. "People don't eat bullfrogs," she said. "I mean, not when they're alive."

"It's a joke, dum-dum."

"I'm not a dum-dum! It's mean and nasty to eat bullfrogs! I don't think it's funny at all."

"Save me from eejits," said Steven, rolling his eyes.

"I'm not an eejit, either!"

"Oh, lighten up, María," Emilia said.

"You brought me out here to see a boy, and it was miles and miles across the fields, and I'm tired and the boy won't talk. I hate you!"

Matt stared at the scene with consternation. That wasn't the result he wanted at all. María was crying, Emilia looked angry, and Steven had turned his back on both of them. Matt rapped on the window. When María looked up, he waved the picture and then wadded it into a ball. He threw it with all his force across the room.

"See, he agrees with me," cried María through her tears.

"This is getting weirder by the minute," said Steven. "I knew we shouldn't have brought the eejit."

"I thought the boy would talk to a kid his own size," Emilia said. "Come on, María. We have to get back before dark."

"I'm not walking anywhere!" The little girl flopped down on the ground.

"Well, I won't carry you, fatso."

"Just leave her," said Steven. He started walking off, and after a moment Emilia followed him.

Matt was appalled. If the big kids went away, María would be all alone. It was going to be dark soon, and Celia wouldn't return for hours. María would be alone with nothing but the empty poppy fields and the...

The chupacabras, who came out after dark and sucked your juices and left you to dry like an old cantaloupe skin!

Suddenly Matt knew what he had to do. María had walked a few steps away from the window before sitting down again. She was shouting insults at the vanished Steven and Emilia. Matt grabbed the big iron cooking pot Celia used to make menudo and swung it before he could worry much about her reaction. She would be furious! But he was saving María's life. He smashed out the glass in the window. It fell in a tinkling, jangling mass to the ground. María jumped to her feet. Steven and Emilia rose up instantly from the poppy field, where they'd been hiding.

"Holy frijoles!" said Steven. All three stood openmouthed, staring at the empty hole where the window had been.

"My name is Matt. I live here. Do you want to play?" said Matt because he couldn't think of another thing to say.

"He can talk," said Emilia after the first shock had died away.

"Is that how you usually open a window, kid?" Steven said. "Stay back, María. There's glass all over." He stepped carefully to the opening and knocked out the remaining shards with a stick. Then he leaned inside to look around. Matt had to hold on to himself to keep from bolting to the other room. "This is creepy! The window's nailed shut. What are you, some kind of prisoner?"

"I live here," Matt said.

"You told us that already."

"Do you want to play?"

"Maybe he's like a parrot and only knows a few words," suggested Emilia.

"I want to play," said María. Matt looked at her with approval. The girl was struggling in Emilia's arms, obviously trying to get to him. Steven shook his head and moved away. He looked like he was really going to leave this time.

Matt came to a decision. It was frightening, but he'd never had an opportunity like this before and he might never have

it again. He shoved a chair to the opening, scrambled up, and jumped.

"No!" shouted Steven, running forward to catch him. He was too late.

A terrible pain lanced through Matt's feet. He fell forward, and his hands and knees landed on the shards of glass.

"He wasn't wearing shoes! Oh, man! Oh, man! What're we going to do!" Steven pulled Matt up and swung him onto a clear patch of ground.

Matt stared with amazement at the blood dripping from his feet and hands. His knees sprouted rivulets of red.

"Pull out the glass!" cried Emilia in a high, scared voice. "María, stay away!"

"I want to see!" yelled the little girl. Matt heard a slap and María's shriek of outrage. His head was swimming. He wanted to throw up, but before he could, everything went black.


He woke to the sensation of being carried. He was sick to his stomach, but worse than that his body was trembling in a frightening way. He screamed as loud as he could.

"Great!" panted Steven, who supported Matt's shoulders. Emilia had his legs. Her shirt and pants were soaked with blood, his blood. Matt screamed again.

"Be quiet!" Steven shouted. "We're running as fast as we can!"

The poppies, now blue in the long shadows of the hills, stretched away in all directions. Steven and Emilia were jogging along a dirt path. Matt's breath caught with sobs. He could hardly get air.

"Stop!" cried Emilia. "We have to let María catch up." The two children squatted down and let Matt's weight rest on the ground. Presently, Matt heard the patter of smaller feet.

"I want to rest too," demanded María. "It's miles and miles. I'm going to tell Dada you slapped me."

"Be my guest," said Emilia.

"Everyone be quiet," Steven ordered. "You've stopped bleeding, kid, so I guess you're not in too much danger. What's your name again?"

"Matt," María answered for him.

"We aren't far from the house, Matt, and you're in luck. The doctor's spending the night. Do you hurt a lot?"

"I don't know," said Matt.

"Yes, you do. You screamed," María said.

"I don't know what a lot is," Matt explained. "I haven't hurt like this before."

"Well, you've lost blood -- but not too much," Steven added as Matt began to tremble again.

"It sure looks like a lot," said María.

"Shut up, eejit."

The older children rose, carrying Matt between them. María followed, complaining loudly about the distance and at being called an eejit.

A kind of heavy sleepiness fell over Matt as he was swayed along. The pain had died down, and Steven said he hadn't lost too much blood. He was too dazed to worry about what Celia would say when she saw the broken window.

They reached the edge of the poppy fields as the last streaks of sunlight slid behind the hills. The dirt path gave way to a wide lawn. It was a shimmering green, growing deeper with the blue light of evening. Matt had never seen so much green in his life.

It's a meadow, he thought, drowsily. And it smells like rain.

They started up a flight of wide, marble steps that shone softly in the darkening air. On either side were orange trees, and all at once lamps went on among the leaves. Lights outlined the white walls of a vast house above, with pillars and statues and doorways going who knew where. In the center of an arch was the carved outline of a scorpion.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!" came a flurry of women's voices as they swept down the stairs to lift Matt from Steven's and Emilia's arms.


"Who is he?" asked the maids. They were wearing black dresses with white aprons and starched, white caps. One of them, a severe-looking female with deep creases down either side of her mouth, carried Matt as the others went ahead to open doors.

"I found him in a house in the poppy fields," replied Steven.

"That's Celia's place," a maid said. "She's too stuck-up to live with the rest of us."

"If she's hiding a child, I'm not surprised. Who's your father, kid?" said the woman who was carrying Matt. Her apron smelled like sunlight, the way Celia's did when it came straight from the clothesline. Matt stared at a pin fastened to the woman's collar, a silver scorpion with its tail curved up. Beneath the scorpion was a name tag that said ROSA. Matt didn't feel well enough to talk, and what did it matter who his father was, anyhow? He didn't know the answer, either.

"He doesn't talk much," said Emilia.

"Where's the doctor?" Steven said.

"We'll have to wait. He's treating your grandfather. At least we can clean the kid up," said Rosa.

The maids opened a door to reveal the most beautiful room Matt had ever seen. It had carved wooden beams on the ceiling and wallpaper decorated with hundreds of birds. To Matt's reeling eyes, they seemed to be moving. He saw a couch upholstered with flowers that shaded from lavender to rose like the feathers on a dove's wings. It was to this couch that Rosa was carrying him.

"I'm too dirty," Matt murmured. He had been yelled at before for climbing on Celia's bed with muddy feet.

"You can say that again," snapped Rosa. The other women opened a crisp, white sheet and laid it over the wonderful couch before Matt was laid down. He thought he could get into just as much trouble for getting blood on that sheet.

Rosa fetched a pair of tweezers and began pulling out fragments of glass from his hands and feet. "Ay!" she murmured as she dropped the bits into a cup. "You're brave not to cry."

But Matt didn't feel brave at all. He didn't feel anything. His body seemed far away, and he watched Rosa as though she were an image on a TV screen.

"He sure screamed earlier," observed María. She was dancing around, trying to see everything that happened.

"Don't act so superior. You yell your head off if you get an itty-bitty splinter in your finger," Emilia said.

"Do not!"

"Do so!"

"I hate you!"

"Ask me if I care," said Emilia. Both she and Steven watched in fascination as blood began to well out of Matt's cuts again. "I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up," announced Emilia. "This is very good experience for me."

The other maids had brought a bucket of water and towels, but they didn't attempt to clean Matt up until Rosa gave them permission.

"Be careful. The right foot is badly cut," said Rosa.

The air hummed in Matt's ears. He felt the warm water and suddenly the pain returned. It stabbed from his foot all the way to the top of his head. He opened his mouth to scream, but nothing came out. His throat had closed with shock.

"Oh, God! There must be glass left inside," cried Rosa. She grabbed Matt's shoulders and ordered him not to be afraid. She seemed almost angry.

The fogginess that had surrounded Matt had vanished. His feet, his hands, his knees throbbed with more pain than he had known existed.

"I told you he was crying earlier," said María.

"Be quiet!" said Emilia.

"Look! There's writing on his foot," the little girl cried. She tried to get close, but Emilia thrust her back.

"I'm the one who's going to be a doctor. Rats! I can't read it. There's too much blood." She snatched a washcloth and wiped Matt's foot.

The pain wasn't as bad this time, but he couldn't help moaning.

"You're hurting him, you bully!" shrieked María.

"Wait! I can just make it out...'Property of' -- the writing is so tiny! -- 'Property of the Alacrán Estate.'"

"'Property of the Alacrán Estate'? That's us. It doesn't make any sense," said Steven.

"What's going on?" came a voice Matt hadn't heard before. A large, fierce-looking man burst into the room. Steven immediately straightened up. Emilia and even María looked alarmed.

"We found a kid in the poppy fields, Father," said Steven. "He hurt himself, and I thought the doctor...the doctor -- "

"You idiot! You need a vet for this little beast!" the man roared. "How dare you defile this house?"

"He was bleeding -- " began Steven.

"Yes! All over the sheet! We'll have to burn it. Take the creature outside now."

Rosa hesitated, obviously bewildered.

The man leaned forward and whispered into her ear.

A look of horror crossed Rosa's face. She instantly scooped up Matt and ran. Steven dashed ahead to open the doors. His face had turned white. "How dare he talk to me like that," he hissed.

"He didn't mean it," said Emilia, who was dragging María along behind.

"Oh, yes he did. He hates me," Steven said.

Rosa hurried down the steps and dumped Matt roughly onto the lawn. Without a word, she turned and fled back to the house.

Copyright © 2002 by Nancy Farmer

Read More Show Less

Introduction

A Simon Pulse Guide for Reading Groups

The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

ABOUT THE BOOK

Matt is a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord of the land of Opium, which is located between the United States and Mexico. For six years, he has lived in a tiny cottage in the poppy fields with Celia, a kind and deeply religious servant woman who is charged with his care and safety. He knows little about his existence until he is discovered by a group of children playing in the fields and wonders why he isn't like them. Though Matt has been spared the fate of most clones, who have their intelligence destroyed at birth, the evil inhabitants of El Patrón's empire consider him a "beast" and an "eejit." When El Patrón dies at the age of 146, fourteen-year-old Matt escapes Opium with the help of Celia and Tam Lin, his devoted bodyguard who wants to right his own wrongs. After a near misadventure in his escape, Matt makes his way back home and begins to rid the country of its evils.

Prereading activity

Ask students to write down their definition of science fiction. Then have them discuss the meaning of cloning. Have them debate whether a novel about cloning is by their definition considered science fiction.

Discussion questions

  • Matteo Alacrán is the clone of El Patrón, the lord of the country called Opium, and lives in isolation until children playing in the poppy fields discover him. Why is he so eager to talk to the children, after he is warned against it? Why is Mariá especially attracted toMatt?
  • Describe Matt's relationship with Celia. Why is she the servant chosen to care for Matt? Celia snaps at Matt when he calls her mama. Then she says to him, "I love you more than anything in the world. Never forget that. But you were only loaned to me, mi vida." Why doesn't she explain the term loaned to Matt? Celia really believes that she is protecting Matt by keeping him locked in her cottage and ignorant about his identity. Debate whether this type of protection is indeed dangerous for him. How does Celia continue to protect Matt throughout his life on the Alacrán Estate?
  • After the children discover Matt, he is taken from Celia and imprisoned in a stall for six months with only straw for a bed. How might prison be considered a metaphor for his entire life? Who is the warden of his prison? Discuss the role of Mariá, Celia, and Tam Lin in helping him escape his prison.
  • Rosá describes El Patrón as a bandit. How has El Patrón stolen the lives of all those living on his estate? Which characters are his partners in evil? Debate whether they support him for the sake of their own survival. Explain what Tam Lin is trying to tell Matt when he says, "If you are kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man. If you're like El Patrón...just think about it." Considering that Matt is the clone of El Patrón, debate whether environment influences evil more than genetics.
  • El Patrón celebrates his 143rd birthday with a large party. Though Matt was "harvested," and doesn't really have a birthday, the celebration is for him as well, since he is El Patrón's clone. How does Matt imitate El Patrón's power when he demands a birthday kiss from Mariá? Discuss how El Patrón encourages Matt's uncharacteristic behavior. Why is Mariá so humiliated by Matt's demand? How does Matt feel the crowd's disapproval?
  • El Viejo, El Patrón's grandson and the father of Mr. Alacrán, is a senile old man because he refused the fetal brain implants based on religious and moral grounds. Debate his position. Why does El Patrón consider Mr. Alacrán rude when he mentions El Viejo's religious beliefs? Celia is also a deeply religious person. How is this demonstrated throughout the novel?
  • At what point does Matt realize that Tom is dangerous? He remembers what Tam Lin had told him, "If you didn't know Tom well, you'd think he is an angel bringing you the keys to the pearly gates." How does Tom mislead Mariá? Discuss why Tom takes Matt and Mariá to see the screaming clones. How is this a turning point for Matt and Mariá's friendship? Why does Celia feel that Matt deserves the truth once he has seen the clones?
  • What gives Celia the courage to stand up to El Patrón and refuse to let Matt be used for a heart transplant? What does El Patrón mean when he says to Celia, "We make a fine pair of scorpions, don't we?" Explain why she is insulted by this comment.
  • How does Tam Lin know that Matt's future lies in finding the Convent of Santa Clara? Describe Matt's journey to the convent. What does he discover along the way? Discuss Esperanza's role in helping Matt gain his ultimate freedom — to live as a human.

Activities

  • Discuss the structure of the novel. How does it resemble acts and scenes in a play? Why does the author include the Cast of Characters at the beginning of the novel? Divide the class into five groups, and assign each group a section to write as a one-act play. Take dialogue directly from the book, and use a narrator to relate the story between speakers. Matt finds order in the music of Mozart. Locate music by Mozart to use at the beginning and end of each act.
  • Have students design a family crest for El Patrón's empire. Discuss why this crest may repulse Matt. Create an alternative crest for the Alacrán family after Matt transforms the empire.
  • Read about Cinco de Mayo and draw a parallel between the history of this Mexican holiday and Matt's victory for rights and justice at the end of the novel. Plan a Cinco de Mayo celebration that Matt might have after he breaks down the empire of Opium. Include appropriate food and music.
  • Mariá refers to Saint Francis throughout the novel. As a class, create a picture book about Saint Francis that Mariá might give to Matt. Write an appropriate dedication to Matt. How might the story of Saint Francis offer hope to Matt?
  • Dolly, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, was born on July 5, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. She died by lethal injection in 2003 at age six. Have students use books or the internet to locate more information about Dolly and then write a brief paper about the significance of her birth to science.
  • Students may wish to read about how scientists are using cloning for medical research today. Have them read opposing viewpoints regarding the issues of human cloning at www.humancloning.org and www.cloninginformation.org. Encourage them to debate the issues in class. How is this becoming a political issue?
  • Ask students who have read The Giver by Lois Lowry to stage a conversation between Matt and Jonas. Have them discuss the community they left, their decision to leave and their method of escape, the ethical and moral issues related to human cloning in Matt's community, and the releasing process in Jonas's community. Have Matt explain to Jonas why he returns to Opium, and what he plans to do to transform the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Farmer is one of the most compelling voices in young adult literature. She received Newbery Honor awards for her books The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which also won the National Book Award and received a Printz Honor. Ms. Farmer grew up in Yuma, Arizona, where her parents ran a hotel near an abandoned prison. She spent her early adult life as a scientist, first with the Peace Corps teaching chemistry and biology in southern India; then seventeen more working in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where she met her husband. Ms. Farmer turned to writing after the birth of her son and has drawn upon her rich background. While she does not call herself a science fiction writer, Ms. Farmer explains, "Science fiction allows you to approach a lot of social issues you can't get to directly. If you wrote a book about how cloning is horrible, it would read like a sermon and no one would pay attention to it." Her latest novel, The Sea of Trolls, was published in fall 2004 and has received an impressive five starred reviews.

The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

0-689-85222-3

A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers

0-689-85223-1

Simon Pulse

  • National Book Award Winner
  • Newbery Honor Book
  • Michael L. Printz Honor Book
  • ALA Notable Book
  • BBYA Top Ten

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services,

SC Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville.

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor Books: The Ear the Eye and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which, in 2002, also won the National Book Award. Other books include Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, and three picture books for young children. She grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border, and now lives with her family in Menlo Park, California.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

A Simon Pulse Guide for Reading Groups

The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

ABOUT THE BOOK

Matt is a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord of the land of Opium, which is located between the United States and Mexico. For six years, he has lived in a tiny cottage in the poppy fields with Celia, a kind and deeply religious servant woman who is charged with his care and safety. He knows little about his existence until he is discovered by a group of children playing in the fields and wonders why he isn't like them. Though Matt has been spared the fate of most clones, who have their intelligence destroyed at birth, the evil inhabitants of El Patrón's empire consider him a "beast" and an "eejit." When El Patrón dies at the age of 146, fourteen-year-old Matt escapes Opium with the help of Celia and Tam Lin, his devoted bodyguard who wants to right his own wrongs. After a near misadventure in his escape, Matt makes his way back home and begins to rid the country of its evils.

Prereading activity

Ask students to write down their definition of science fiction. Then have them discuss the meaning of cloning. Have them debate whether a novel about cloning is by their definition considered science fiction.

Discussion questions

  • Matteo Alacrán is the clone of El Patrón, the lord of the country called Opium, and lives in isolation until children playing in the poppy fields discover him. Why is he so eager to talk to the children, after he is warned against it? Why is Mariá especially attracted to Matt?
  • Describe Matt's relationship with Celia. Why is she the servant chosen to care for Matt? Celia snaps at Matt when he calls her mama. Then she says to him, "I love you more than anything in the world. Never forget that. But you were only loaned to me, mi vida." Why doesn't she explain the term loaned to Matt? Celia really believes that she is protecting Matt by keeping him locked in her cottage and ignorant about his identity. Debate whether this type of protection is indeed dangerous for him. How does Celia continue to protect Matt throughout his life on the Alacrán Estate?
  • After the children discover Matt, he is taken from Celia and imprisoned in a stall for six months with only straw for a bed. How might prison be considered a metaphor for his entire life? Who is the warden of his prison? Discuss the role of Mariá, Celia, and Tam Lin in helping him escape his prison.
  • Rosá describes El Patrón as a bandit. How has El Patrón stolen the lives of all those living on his estate? Which characters are his partners in evil? Debate whether they support him for the sake of their own survival. Explain what Tam Lin is trying to tell Matt when he says, "If you are kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man. If you're like El Patrón...just think about it." Considering that Matt is the clone of El Patrón, debate whether environment influences evil more than genetics.
  • El Patrón celebrates his 143rd birthday with a large party. Though Matt was "harvested," and doesn't really have a birthday, the celebration is for him as well, since he is El Patrón's clone. How does Matt imitate El Patrón's power when he demands a birthday kiss from Mariá? Discuss how El Patrón encourages Matt's uncharacteristic behavior. Why is Mariá so humiliated by Matt's demand? How does Matt feel the crowd's disapproval?
  • El Viejo, El Patrón's grandson and the father of Mr. Alacrán, is a senile old man because he refused the fetal brain implants based on religious and moral grounds. Debate his position. Why does El Patrón consider Mr. Alacrán rude when he mentions El Viejo's religious beliefs? Celia is also a deeply religious person. How is this demonstrated throughout the novel?
  • At what point does Matt realize that Tom is dangerous? He remembers what Tam Lin had told him, "If you didn't know Tom well, you'd think he is an angel bringing you the keys to the pearly gates." How does Tom mislead Mariá? Discuss why Tom takes Matt and Mariá to see the screaming clones. How is this a turning point for Matt and Mariá's friendship? Why does Celia feel that Matt deserves the truth once he has seen the clones?
  • What gives Celia the courage to stand up to El Patrón and refuse to let Matt be used for a heart transplant? What does El Patrón mean when he says to Celia, "We make a fine pair of scorpions, don't we?" Explain why she is insulted by this comment.
  • How does Tam Lin know that Matt's future lies in finding the Convent of Santa Clara? Describe Matt's journey to the convent. What does he discover along the way? Discuss Esperanza's role in helping Matt gain his ultimate freedom — to live as a human.

Activities

  • Discuss the structure of the novel. How does it resemble acts and scenes in a play? Why does the author include the Cast of Characters at the beginning of the novel? Divide the class into five groups, and assign each group a section to write as a one-act play. Take dialogue directly from the book, and use a narrator to relate the story between speakers. Matt finds order in the music of Mozart. Locate music by Mozart to use at the beginning and end of each act.
  • Have students design a family crest for El Patrón's empire. Discuss why this crest may repulse Matt. Create an alternative crest for the Alacrán family after Matt transforms the empire.
  • Read about Cinco de Mayo and draw a parallel between the history of this Mexican holiday and Matt's victory for rights and justice at the end of the novel. Plan a Cinco de Mayo celebration that Matt might have after he breaks down the empire of Opium. Include appropriate food and music.
  • Mariá refers to Saint Francis throughout the novel. As a class, create a picture book about Saint Francis that Mariá might give to Matt. Write an appropriate dedication to Matt. How might the story of Saint Francis offer hope to Matt?
  • Dolly, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, was born on July 5, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. She died by lethal injection in 2003 at age six. Have students use books or the internet to locate more information about Dolly and then write a brief paper about the significance of her birth to science.
  • Students may wish to read about how scientists are using cloning for medical research today. Have them read opposing viewpoints regarding the issues of human cloning at www.humancloning.org and www.cloninginformation.org. Encourage them to debate the issues in class. How is this becoming a political issue?
  • Ask students who have read The Giver by Lois Lowry to stage a conversation between Matt and Jonas. Have them discuss the community they left, their decision to leave and their method of escape, the ethical and moral issues related to human cloning in Matt's community, and the releasing process in Jonas's community. Have Matt explain to Jonas why he returns to Opium, and what he plans to do to transform the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Farmer is one of the most compelling voices in young adult literature. She received Newbery Honor awards for her books The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which also won the National Book Award and received a Printz Honor. Ms. Farmer grew up in Yuma, Arizona, where her parents ran a hotel near an abandoned prison. She spent her early adult life as a scientist, first with the Peace Corps teaching chemistry and biology in southern India; then seventeen more working in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where she met her husband. Ms. Farmer turned to writing after the birth of her son and has drawn upon her rich background. While she does not call herself a science fiction writer, Ms. Farmer explains, "Science fiction allows you to approach a lot of social issues you can't get to directly. If you wrote a book about how cloning is horrible, it would read like a sermon and no one would pay attention to it." Her latest novel, The Sea of Trolls, was published in fall 2004 and has received an impressive five starred reviews.

The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

0-689-85222-3

A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers

0-689-85223-1

Simon Pulse

  • National Book Award Winner
  • Newbery Honor Book
  • Michael L. Printz Honor Book
  • ALA Notable Book
  • BBYA Top Ten

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services,

SC Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville. Simon & Schuster

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 627 )
Rating Distribution

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(452)

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(27)

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(13)

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(21)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 629 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    the house of the scorpion

    I am a 14 year old Peruvian who now comprehends the meaning of endurance. Matteo Alacrán, a clone, must embrace death, torture, hatred and treachery to prove he's not a brainless clone like others. This book takes you in Matteo or Matt's life starting when he's a young boy; you'll see the pain he undergoes and a bit of romance. The scenery takes place in future Mexico called Aztlán governed by El Patrón, a drug lord. I highly recommend this book to sci-fi lovers because this book is a real page turner.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The House of the Scorpion

    The book I'm about to talk about is a three time honor award winner by Nancy Farmer. That's right I'm talking about "The House of the Scorpion". This book is one of the best books I have ever read (I'm not just saying that either). Matt (the main character of the book; also the clone) has to go through horrible torture throughout the book. He goes from hidden to hated to loved and back to hated. Celia (Matt's best friend whom he calls his mom) is the only person that cares at all about Matt. That is until he meets Maria. Maria (Matt's girlfriend) is a young, beautiful girl, without a care in the world until she meets Matt and she falls in "love" with him. Then there's Tam-Lin (Matt's "body guard") who is one of Matt's best friends. Last, but not least, El Patròn (the ruler of the opium empire) he is also known as the "villain" of the book. El Patròn is the real Matteo alacràn.

    He "lent" Matt to Celia who raised him up for 7 years. Then some kids discover him and they take him to their house after he jumps on some glass and cuts up his feet. They discover that Matt is a clone and then everyone starts mistreating him except Celia and Maria. This is where the roller coaster starts all aboard. They lock Matt up in a room and they torture him for about 4 months. Then El Patròn finds him and fires the slave that was mistreating him and torturing him, and makes her into an ejite (an ejite is someone or something that has a chip implanted in their brain so they do what they're told and only when they're told to do it). Matt, from then on, is treated like a prince.

    Matt gets anything he wants when he wants it. Everyone is forced to be nice to him (they're still not nice unless El Patròn is around) and he gets his own personal body guard. Matt discovers that El Patròn only made him to sacrifice him for his organs. Then Matt runs away and makes it to the next country over. El Patròn dies because he doesn't have the organs that he needs. Matt gets caught by the boarder guard and gets put in an orphanage. They make him eat food that's usually fed to animals. They make him work all day. If he disobeys, they punish him by beating him until he bleeds; sometimes putting him in the nurse's office. He escapes and makes it to a hospital ran by Maria's mom and he gets fed right until he's healed up. He then finds Maria once again. Maria and her mom ask Matt for a favor that risks his life. He does it and makes it past the life risking part. He discovers that Tam-Lin died. Then he becomes the ruler of the opium and shuts down/destroys the opium empire, just like Maria's mom asked.

    If you want to read the full story, I suggest reading the book. There is a lot more that I haven't told you about. This is one of the best books I have ever read in my enire life. If you wait another day to read this book you will regret it for a long time. Once you read this book you will thank yourself for the rest of your life!

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2009

    The House of the Scorpion

    Have you ever dreamt of what the future may be like? You may picture it as a glorious world full of wonderful new inventions that make life easier to cope with. Or you may think of the future as being a place completely inhospitable to all life forms. In this book, the author's idea of the future is somewhere between the two. At the beginning, Matt (the main character) is born (or rather "harvested", as the book puts it). He lives in a shack in the middle of a poppy field on a farm that produces opium, a major drug made out of poppies. This farm is in a small country called Opium that is in between Mexico and the United States. He lives in this shack until he winds up at "The Big House," the mansion that is located on the plantation. He is rejected by all people there, and it is then that he realizes that he is not human. He goes on to meet a girl named Maria, a bodyguard named Tam-Lin, and a drug-lord named El Patron. While living in the Big House, he learns that he is the clone of El Patron. He lives the good life until El Patron starts to get sick, and needs a new heart. Matt is then called upon to be the donor for the new heart. Matt has to escape the Big House. He escapes the Big House and Opium, but is then enslaved by people in a city called Atzlan, and is forced to work for "the greater good of the people." Can Matt escape this new enslavement?

    There are several characters in this story. Matt is the main protagonist. He is an ever changing character, as he gets older. As a young boy living in the shack in the poppy field, he is lonely, and wants friends to play with. Once he starts living in the Big House, he gets into trouble a lot. He meets several friends, one of them a girl named Maria, who visits the Big House on certain occasions. She is Matt's best friend, but later in the story, she becomes a little more than just a friend. She is easily upset by many things, and is very gullible. Most of all, though, she wants to protect Matt from El Patron. El Patron is a drug lord who controls all of Opium, and has lived over seven lifetimes. He is also the main antagonist of the story. He creates Matt as a clone of himself. At first, Matt thinks that El Patron created him just because he was a kind old man, but later, he learns that El Patron's reason is far more sinister than he could ever imagine. El Patron has two bodyguards: Daft Donald, and Tam-Lin. Matt is given Tam-Lin as his bodyguard. Tam-Lin is a Scottish man who was picked up by El Patron in Scotland while he and Daft Donald were "breaking heads outside a soccer field." El Patron realized they were tough, so he hired them. Tam-Lin is a kind, good-natured man, but he has a secret past, one that Matt is determined to find out.

    This book is a wonderfully exciting and original glimpse into the future. It never gets dull, and you won't want to put it down until you've finished it. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the future, and of course, clones. But this book isn't all about the future. There are many parts of the book that include action, drama, and even a bit of romance. I personally found this book very rewarding to read. Nancy Farmer has done a wonderful job of blending excitement, sadness, and mystery into one single piece of literature. So, just to summarize, this is a wonderful book for anyone who is interested in great literature, and who wants to find a book that will make them want to keep reading.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2007

    FANTASTIC

    The House of the Scorpion has almost NOTHING TO DO WITH SCORPIANS!!! This book was simply amazing. A very suck-into kind of book. It's full of suspensful moments. The tables turn every-so-often but it was very clear. I would reccomend it to everyone.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    One of my favorite!

    Reccommend for the hunger games crowd

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    This a great book! It has action and adventure, little romance, and it'll keep you guessing. Nancy Farmer did it again. Oh, and there might be sequel, so look oit for that!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!

    The house of the scorpion by Nancy Farmer is the best book ever. It is filled of action and emotion which makes it impossible to put down. The house of the scorpion has lots of action but is not so fast passed that you cannot keep up with it. It also has some slow moving sad parts that make a difference so it does not get boring. If you have a fast moving action book that all it has is action than it will not be that go because there is nothing to look forward to. The house of the scorpion also is a little bit of a mystery. I love mysteries so that's a big plus. For people who do not like mysteries it is not a problem because it is just a side plot and does not take up much of the book. A character I really like is Tam Lin. He is a big tough guy but he is really understanding and can be really nice. SJ

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Highly Recommended - Good Read

    House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer was definitely one of the best books I have ever read. This book will lure in even the most inactive of readers. All of the characters engross you with their stories and tug at your emotions, keeping you turning pages to find out what happens to them. For those who visualize when they read, there are many descriptive passages that pull you right in the settings. The entire novel is filled with symbolism and themes that pull at the heart strings. With an extremely unexpected ending, House of the Scorpion is sure to have something for every reader.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 19, 2011

    i have read this book 8 times.

    it is great. it is not for only young people either. for all ages.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    This Book Changed My Life

    The House of the Scorpion, was able to move me in ways I never thought a book could. It took control over my life, and I could never find myself capable to put it down. It forces the reader to think, feel, and sympathize with the book¿s protagonist. This is a book that will change a child from a non-reader to a reader. The reader follows the life of young Matt Alacran, an orphan who lives with his foster mother, Celia. Although Matt is very nice, there is something wrong with him. Something unlike normal children. Matt is a clone. A genetic copy of the 142-year-old ¿El Patron¿. Throughout the book Matt meets many people, who treat him as an animal and as a mistake. In Matt¿s life he knows only three people who show him compassion: Celia, Tam Lin, Maria. Celia is Matt¿s foster mother who only wants the best for him, but is sometimes too defensive. Matt¿s body guard, Tam Lin, appears brutal and violent on the outside, but on the inside he is compassionate and understanding. And Maria, Matt¿s first crush. Although sometimes scornful, she builds a friendship with Matt and unlike the other children, she treats Matt like a person, not an animal. The only negative in the book was that it continued to get darker and more disturbing as the story progressed. And the author described the book so in depth, you would literally walk away from the book feeling upset and discouraged. In a way, the book was so good, it almost made the reader feel bad This book proves that Nancy Farmer is truly a Sci-Fi genius. I strongly recommend this book to all readers, both boys and girls. I have never read anything that can control a reader like this novel. The House of the Scorpion, will blow you away.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    amazing book!!!

    this is an amazing book! i was enticed by how good this book was.it had great climax andut rells a great story Bout a young boy trying to find out who he is!,!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2007

    When Scorpions Attack!

    The house of the Scorpions was awesome! It was a book about full of mystery surprises and EXCITEMENT. Matt the clone of El Patron was born out of a cow. They story was located in the land of opium. Matt was treated bad because he was a clone, he had few friends but his friends were Tam Lin, Maria, Celia and of course of El patron. When it came time for Matt to be killed he ran and his in the mountains. El patron was 147 years old he lived off of different body parts from clones except for this time. He died of liver failure. We read this book over summer, at first I did not want to read this book because it was long and looked boring. But you know what they say don¿t judge a book by its cover and boy were they RIGHT! After one chapter I was hooked. This book is great full of so many challenged for each main character. In the end, we thought this book was SUPER, DUPER, UBER!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    House of scoripion

    Need a scary book, filled with blood? Well do you? If not then The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer isn't the book for you! This book will have screaming yourself to sleep!
    As Mat struggles to understand his exienstence he is threatened by a man, catching attention of people, including El' Patrons power hungry family. He is surrounded by a dangerous army of body guards and by the mindless slaves of Opium.. Escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom because Mat is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect. Around every turn in this vivid, futuristic adventure is a new, heart stopping surprise.
    I can't really say I had a favorite part because I didn't enjoy this book that much.
    I recommend this book to grades 6-8 because it's sort of childish but also to advance for younger people. I rate this book 3/10.
    -Asja Mason

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    The House of the Scorpion

    This book was pretty exciting, but I thought the characters were shallow. I dont know, there was just something off. The plot was quite intersting, and the science was easy to understand.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    If I had not read the last one hundred pages I would have given this book four stars. But since I read the last one hundred pages I'm giving it two. This story put weird images in my head. It's about a clone named Matt. Matt is a clone from El Patron. Something gross is that a piece of skin was saved from El Patron and was frozen for several years. The skin was put into a cow and Matt was born from this cow.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    I started out reading this book because I had to for summer scho

    I started out reading this book because I had to for summer school; I wouldn't have chosen this book because I have a certain taste for books. Once I started this book I couldn't stop. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It speaks of friendship in a sea of hatred and danger. I would read this book over and over again if I could. It is worth it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    The House of the Scorpion has almost NOTHING TO DO WITH SCORPIAN

    The House of the Scorpion has almost NOTHING TO DO WITH SCORPIANS!!! This book was simply amazing. A very suck-into kind of book. It's full of suspensful moments. The tables turn every-so-often but it was very clear. I would reccomend it to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    My vagina

    Just kidding

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    The house of the scorpion is a lovely story about a clone. A clo

    The house of the scorpion is a lovely story about a clone. A clone by the name of Matteo Alacran. His DNA came from a strong leader called EL Patron. Matt has a difficult time getting the fact that he is a clone. Also everyone for some reason hates clones. so Matt has to go through alot to survive and act like a human boy. i highly reccomend it to people who like suprises and twist endings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Pretty good

    Very good book... I do Reccomend :)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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