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Lucy, Laurence Gonzales

2010/11/02

This is not your typical novel about a teenage girl who is an outsider. True, Lucy grew up in another culture and has trouble fitting into the modern American high school. She struggles to make friends, embarrasses herself in front of the popular crowd, doesn’t understand the latest slang, and is behind on technology. But there is also something uniquely foreign about Lucy. She is part ape.

Dr. Jenny Lowe is a scientist who has spent many years in Africa studying primates in an increasingly dangerous region; when the violence finally reaches her camp, she flees to the camp of a rival scientist, only to find that the terrorists have already destroyed it and killed everyone there — except for a young teenage girl who Jenny believes is the daughter of the lead scientist. Jenny and the girl, who is named Lucy, find their way to safety, and with the help of the American embassy and some diplomats, arrive in Chicago not long after. There Lucy must learn to live in a culture and society completely foreign to her. Jenny stands in as her adoptive mother, and although together they have decided that Lucy’s parentage must be kept secret, it is not long before the truth begins to reveal itself.

With the current rate of advance in genetics and technology, it makes you wonder how long until aspects of this particular novel become truth. Although it seems far-fetched now, the struggle that Lucy has between her humanity and her ape self brings light to the question, what is it to be human? How much should we meddle with the DNA of our own selves? The actions and reactions of the characters in this book have a reality about them — from the careless comments of the teenagers to the mob mentality of the American society. Although this is usually shelved in adult fiction, it would have appeal to teen fans of sci-fi and futuristic fiction.

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