Mark II

Overview

Told with teenage energy by two friends, this insightful novel takes a deft, witty approach to mortality and grief

 

Philosophical about life and death in a light, approachable way, this book is a mature debut from a 21-year-old novelist. Phil still calls for his best friend every day on his way to school, despite Mark's recent death. Then one morning Mark is back: a clone created by Laz-R-Us™, much to his parents' relief and little sister Lauren's disappointment. Without ...

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2006 Trade paperback Illustrated. New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 164 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Book is Brand New!

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Overview

Told with teenage energy by two friends, this insightful novel takes a deft, witty approach to mortality and grief

 

Philosophical about life and death in a light, approachable way, this book is a mature debut from a 21-year-old novelist. Phil still calls for his best friend every day on his way to school, despite Mark's recent death. Then one morning Mark is back: a clone created by Laz-R-Us™, much to his parents' relief and little sister Lauren's disappointment. Without Phil to teach Mark II the basics of school life— how not to talk back to playground bully Chaz Spencer, how not to wear a school tie, and how not to take advice from Kirsty the annoyingly perceptive class do-gooder—he seems unlikely to survive, let alone convince anyone he really is Mark. Before long Mark is his best friend again, hanging out behind the art block, playing on his GameBoy, and advising him on how to ask out Sadie Goodman—until an awful accident occurs and makes everyone realize that they haven't heard the last of Mark I, or the odd circumstances behind his death.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ed Goldberg
When thirteen-year-old Mark dies, his parents have a thirteen-year-old clone created. Much of the original Mark's knowledge has been transferred to Mark II; however, he lacks the emotion, social skills, and understanding of sarcasm and innuendo that come with living life and not merely getting, literally, a "brain dump" and viewing family videos. Sometimes Mark II acts like an innocent babe, a clean slate. It is up to his best mate, Phil, to teach him school survival techniques. But to Phil and Lauren, Mark's ten-year-old sister, the clone is not and cannot replace the old Mark. Kirsty, a do-good, God-fearing classmate, posits that Mark II is a unique, new individual who should not be compared to his predecessor. When Lauren is killed in an auto accident and cloned, Mark II must deal with these same questions. Farnell takes a good idea but his execution is flawed. The book takes place in present-day England, but it could be set anywhere. Sections are narrated in first person by Mark II and Phil and in third person by Lauren and Kirsty, making for some confusing transitions. The writing is plodding and nondescriptive. Although the questions posed by the book are thought provoking, the characters are not. Their actions are unnatural. There is a lack of emotion, considering the emotion-laden topic, and the denouement adds nothing to the story. A novel about cloning could be extremely deep, humorous, or sad, but this superficial book is none of the above. Wait for better ones to come along.
School Library Journal

Gr 8–10
When his best friend dies, Phil is upset, but not nearly as upset as when, just a few months later, the deceased boy's parents introduce him to their son's clone. The clone looks just like Mark, but is so clearly not him that at first Phil can only think of him as "it." Mark's sister Lauren and a classmate from high school, Kirsty, also have trouble accepting the new Mark-only his parents insist, awkwardly, that this is simply a different version of their beloved son. If readers buy into the premise that technology is able to produce a teen-sized clone from a few cells in just a few months, and that personality and memories can be added, they will then be able to ponder some of the questions that this book raises. What makes people unique-their cells, their memories, their personalities, their experiences? Mark, Phil, Kirsty, and Lauren take turns narrating, which is confusing and rather muddies the central themes, and none of them come up with any easy answers. Phil is a thoughtful teen who, while never accepting that the clone is his old friend in any way, does come to value the clone for himself. Unfortunately, his path to that realization meanders so much that many valuable insights are lost or hurried past along the way. The telling is breezy and British, with plenty of ripe profanity, but the complex issues are glossed over. For a very different treatment of cloning, direct readers to Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion (S & S, 2002).
—Eva MitnickCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780954791391
  • Publisher: Tindal Street Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Farnell has been making up stories as far back as he can remember and started writing Mark II when he should have been studying for his school exams.

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