The House of the Scorpion (#1)

Next: The Lord of Opium

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.

Reviews

“Farmer’s latest young-adult novel unflinchingly tackles the war on drugs and mistreatment of migrant labors [...] 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.”

USA Today

“[A] solid modern classic.”

USA News & World Report

“Farmer’s novel may be futuristic, but it hits close to home, raising questions of what it means to be human, what is the value of life, and what are the responsibilities of a society. Readers will be hooked from the first page.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“[A] remarkable coming of age story….”

Booklist, Starred Review

“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.”

Kirkus

Awards & Accolades

USA

2002 National Book Award Winner

USA

Newbery Award

USA

Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book

Germany

Buxtehuder Bulle

USA

ALA: “Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults”

USA

Sequoyah Young Adult Award

USA

IRA: “Young Adults’ Choices”

USA

Volunteer State Award, 2006

USA

Arizona Young Readers Teen Award, 2005

USA

South Carolina Junior Readers Award, 2005-2006

USA

Rhode Island Teen Book Award nominee, 2004

USA

Young Hoosier Book Award, 2006

USA

Nevada Young Readers’ Award, 2005

USA

Nevada Young Readers’ Award, 2005

USA

Pacific Northwest Library Association, 2005

USA

Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Association Award for Children’s Literature

Rights