Early Book Review: Popular Clone by M.E. Castle

by on November 19th, 2010
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Popular Clone by M.E. Castle is a book that is perfect for middle school students and younger high school students. It is scheduled for release Jan. 24, 2012. Fisher Bas is a 12-year-old with some serious bully issues. He is the son of two scientists and is not lacking in the science department himself. Fisher is smart, a bit of a dreamer and small. This has gained the attention of one teacher who seems to be a kindred spirit and three bullies who have named themselves the Vikings. In his eagerness to escape the trials of school, Fisher spawns an idea using his mother’s top secret experiment, that scientist Dr. Xander would do anything to get his hands on. He creates a clone to go to school and endure those terrors while Fisher gets to stay home and enjoy video games and snack food. His plan could have results ranging from perfect to disastrous. Unsurprisingly, Fisher’s experiment and the resulting adventure hold a little from both extremes.

Popular Clone tells the story of one middle school outcast who tries to avoid bullies and social problems by hiding, going unnoticed. I think Fisher is a character that most children, teens and adults can relate to on some level. Who does not try to avoid some form of conflict or uncomfortable moments simply by blending into the background? He has little faith in himself, except when it comes to his scientific skills and experiments. As one might expect, his plan to hide away for real, sending a clone out to deal with the world, does not go as planned. His clone, Two, does not hide in the shadows like Fisher. He steps up and becomes more accepted and popular than Fisher ever was. Outside forces plotting to steal his mother’s experiment, and some classic mortification at the actions of his parents, round the book out nicely. Lessons about being true to yourself, what really makes a person brave and rising above negative emotions are woven into the action and adventure seamlessly.

I recommend Popular Clone for middle school aged students and anyone who can relate to just wanting to avoid bullies and conflict. Anyone who has ever faced a crisis in self-esteem will see a little bit of themselves in Fisher. The story could really make a difference in the lives of young readers, showing them that being true to yourself is important and that standing up for yourself does not require resorting to negative actions.

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