Imagine a world in which it’s normal to design your children. Not everyone is designed, of course, but everyone you know is. If your parents don’t like some aspect of your personality, they can dampen it. And, at thirteen, you get to decide what natural aptitude you’d like to magnify, turning you into a genius at that skill. Then, imagine that someone new moves into your neighborhood, and you gradually discover that just tinkering with people’s natural tendencies isn’t all your parents have been up to.
This is the world of The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore.
This isn’t exactly a dystopian novel, but it’s close. The main character, Mori, and her friends live in a designed neighborhood controlled by a company called Krita that seems like a precursor to Big Brother. Their parents work for Krita, and the company monitors their whereabouts through wristbands that track them and monitor their bodies. But at the same time, Mori and her friends seem very normal, with arguments, romances, jokes, and all the normal preteen drama that accompanies childhood. It will be interesting to see how Blakemore develops this story—since the book ended in such a way as to suggest further books will be needed to finish the story. It could certainly get darker than it is. For this first novel, things seem very normal, but I feel like we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg, and that things are going to get much more sinister before Blakemore is finished writing. .
Put this book in the hands of kids who like science fiction, strong female characters, or who are interested in books like Hunger Games but need something much gentler.