By Nancy FarmerIn a future world that feels very “old world”, the USA and Azatlán (formerly known as Mexico) have struck a deal to curb illegal immigration. Along the length of the border, a new country named Opium has been established. The thousands of miles of drug fields are owned by a handful of very powerful, corrupt families, and are heavily guarded by security, making crossing the border nearly impossible.Matteo Alacrán (“scorpion” in Spanish) is a young boy living in Opium, in a small isolated shack among the poppy fields. His caretaker, Celia, is the only family he has ever known. For some reason unbeknownst to him, he is strictly forbidden from ever leaving the shack. Matt’s life changes dramatically when his hiding place is discovered by the rich kids playing on the property, and he is brought inside to the mansion. Matt is informed that he is in fact a genetic clone of the most powerful drug lord in the country and patriarch of the Alacrán family, 142-year-old El Patrón.The problem is, clones are actually despised by humans; seen as nothing more than filthy, unintelligent animals. Upon his introduction into the mansion, Matt is treated with disgust and contempt by everyone around him, with the exception of a couple of special friends and El Patrón himself. Being the clone of a highly respected and feared man, Matt enjoys a certain amount of luxury and protection unheard of for clones. But why exactly is Matt so important to El Patrón, and what will become of him when El Patrón is no longer around? This award-winning book was published over ten years ago but it is one of my favourites, and still holds its own in the world of teen dystopian fiction. Don’t miss out on this one or its sequel, The Lord of Opium.