Rated Reads

The Declaration

by Gemma Malley

Rated: Mild

In a hundred or so years, stem cells will not only have cured disease, but will allow people to live forever. Sounds great, except for one problem: overpopulation. The solution? No births — or almost none.

In the society of Gemma Malley’s young-adult novel, anyone who takes Longevity drugs must sign a declaration promising not to have children. While “Opting Out” is legally a possibility, in practice, it’s really not.

Illegal children become Surpluses who repay their “debt” to society for having been born by living in Dickensian orphanages, where they train to be Useful servants for the ageless but still aged Legals. Anna is one of these children — she looks forward to being able to work to redeem her parents’ “sins.”

But one day, a boy named Peter enters her world and turns it upside down by telling her that she is not Surplus – her parents want her, and he is there to help her escape.

Malley’s vision of a perfect world of health brings with it all the drawbacks inherent in going against the natural order. For human nature always stays the same — and it is just as disturbing as ever in the year 2140. The Declaration is a thought-provoking book for teens and adults alike.

Rated: Mild, for some violent acts. There is no objectionable language or sex. But the violence that occurs a couple of times makes it not eligible for a “none” rating.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Declaration
  • by Gemma Malley
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: