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As son of the Compassionate Director of the Dominion of the Americas, Will, along with his twin brother Berk, has been groomed for leadership in a society that values genetic fitness, but he encounters information which causes him to question that society as well as his own identity.
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Sonia Levitin is the author of many acclaimed novels that combine history and religion. She lives in Los Angeles, California.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7 Up–Sixteen-year-old twins Will and Berk believe that they are the sons of Hayli, the Compassionate Director of the Dominion of the Americas. As the founder of The Goodness, a movement to save humanity following nuclear disaster, plague, and environmental collapse, Hayli rules a world in which babies are born in sterile labs, food is manufactured to optimal nutritional standards, and the fortunate live under atmosphere-controlling domes and exchange their ration of pleasure stamps to experience everything from travel to sex in carefully controlled situations. However, not all is perfect, as Hayli favors methods used by dictators from Hitler to Hussein. Outside the dome there is a growing resistance movement made up of those who still want to be able to walk in the woods and make love and give birth to their own children. Will inadvertently discovers all this on his first mission as a new government intern; he also learns that he and Berk, raised to be the dictator's perfect offspring and successors, are not what or who they believe they are. Comparisons to Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion (S & S, 2002) are unavoidable here, but Levitin's world requires much more suspension of disbelief. Unlike her science fiction in The Cure (Harcourt, 1999), which is fast-moving, taut, and realistic in both its far future and its medieval European settings, The Goodness Gene is painstakingly slow. Fortunately, just when a sequel or two seem inevitable, the pace picks up and the conclusion is decisive, predictable, but still surprisingly moving and thought provoking.–Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
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