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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Young Adult Fiction

The Declaration
Gemma Malley
ISBN: 978 0 7475 8774 3
Fleur Homfray

"The Declaration" is a fantastic book that grips the reader from the moment you begin to skim the front page, it pulls you into the murky depths of ethics and morality and yet it contains nothing too challenging for its audience. The realisation that this could genuinely be the future is one that cannot fail to have impact and ultimately question whether medical advances are as great as they first appear.

The text starts with a diary entry from a girl called Anna. Surplus Anna. In a world where children are not necessary and are regarded as burdens upon society Anna is struggling to fight the desire to have an identity of her own. The year is 2140 and medical advances have progressed so far that people can now live for ever merely by taking Longevity Drugs, only those that opt out have the right to reproduce- a life for a life.

Mrs Pincent runs Grange Hall, a building that’s entire purpose is to hold the children and turn them into ‘useful assets’, she regards Anna as her most obedient and promising student, she truly thinks that she has completely indoctrinated the poor girl with the beliefs taught there. Anna herself blames her parents for her situation and her existence; she describes them as selfish for going against the declaration and putting a strain on the world’s resources.

When Peter arrives everyone is shocked that he has been caught at the age of fifteen, Anna is even more surprised when he calls her by her full name and claims to know her parents. He tells her details about her life and proves to her that he’s the one she should be trusting rather than Mrs Pincent, he forces her to question everything that she has been told. From there on she goes on a discovery that enables her to find out who she is as well as seeing the truth of what is really happening; she finally finds her identity.

"The Declaration" shows how fear can influence the actions of everyone, including those that you believe to be your friends, yet at the same time it also shows that love can lead to selfless actions and in the end to success. In a way it is understandable that the measures in the text were taken as they led to a stable level of population and monitoring of the amount of energy resources used. However, at the same time it looks at the instinct of the human race to be selfish and to put himself or herself above everyone else. Why should people be able to live forever when children never have the chance to be born?

Overall this is a book that I would recommend to anyone of any age, it highlights the problems of today and warns of the dangers of the future, it delves into the question of humanity and forces you to take a look at the power of companies. For children it is a heart in mouth thought that it could’ve been them and for adults it causes them to question what they would do if they were offered the chance to live forever

© Fleur Homfray April 2009

Fleur Homfray is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth

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