Considering that this YA novel won so many awards and is read by pretty much every middle schooler ever, I cannot believe that I hadn’t really heard of it let alone read it. I was randomly looking up young adult books to read for a young adult book club and this was one I came across with many awards behind the title. It was vetoed as a book club choice, but I put it on my to-read list anyway. I can’t say that I loved it, but I am glad that I read it.
The House of the Scorpion brings up some interesting moral and ethical dilemmas like cloning, free will, and use of power. Matt, as El Patron’s clone, finds out quickly that he is not viewed like other little boys in the drug land of Opium. Matt’s coming of age story has its moments, but to me it seemed like Matt’s voice from early childhood to teenager didn’t change very much. He still seemed very childlike. This was part of why I got bored with it. I wanted a young adult book that actually spotlighted a young adult, not a child. Plus, the last third of the book just went in a completely different direction, and seemed unnecessary.
Overall, I think if I had been in middle school or even high school I would have enjoyed this book much more. As an adult, it was underwhelming. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn’t nearly as good as I expected it to be with all the awards it won. With that said, I checked out the sequel at the same time as The House of the Scorpion, so I started reading The Lord of Opium. We’ll see if this one is better. Stay tuned!