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Double Helix Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Werlin, Nancy

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ISBN: 014240327X     ISBN-13: 9780142403273
Publisher: Puffin
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: May 2005

Annotation: Rich and suspenseful with a hair-raising conclusion, this is Nancy Werlin's most dynamic novel yet--one that explores the ethics and amazements of genetic engineering.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Genetic engineering; Fiction.
Bioethics; Fiction.
Huntington's chorea; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2005009964
Lexile Measure: 690
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.25" H x 5.00" W x 0.75" (0.38 lbs) 250 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 77858
Reading Level: 5.0   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 9.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q36223
Reading Level: 6.7   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 14.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Nancy Werlin was born and raised in Peabody, Massachusetts, USA and now lives near Boston. She received her bachelor's degree in English from Yale.

Since then, she has worked as a technical writer and editor for several computer software and Internet companies, while also writing fiction. She is a National Book Award finalist.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall)
Eli Samuels is not yet ready to undergo genetic testing to determine if he's inherited Huntington's disease from his mother. Aware that his family has a mysterious connection with the scientist who operates Wyatt Transgenics, Eli lands a job in the company's research laboratory and discovers a secret sub-basement in this tense medical thriller. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #3)
High school senior Eli Samuels ponders the words he's never been able to say aloud to his girlfriend, Vivian: "My mother is insane. It's a genetic problem called Huntington's disease. It is untreatable and incurable. There's a fifty-fifty chance I'll develop it, too." The specter of HD haunts Eli's life, though he's not yet ready to take the medical test that will determine whether he has inherited this condition. Aware that his family has a mysterious, unspoken connection with Nobel-winning scientist Quincy Wyatt, Eli impulsively seeks a job at Wyatt Transgenics ("You know what 'transgenics' means? It's when an organism is altered by having a gene from another species transferred into it") and is surprised when the distinguished biologist not only offers him a position working in a research laboratory but takes a personal interest in his welfare. Kids who can get past the dreary biology-textbook title and cover illustration will discover a tense medical thriller in which a secret sub-basement at Wyatt Transgenics holds the answers to several mysteries in Eli's past--as well as the key to his future. Though this well-written, mature novel comes to an abrupt and somewhat unconvincing conclusion, it raises fascinating ethical questions about the role that genetic engineering--with its astonishing benefits and perhaps horrifying consequences--will have in tomorrow's brave new world. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2004 February #3)
In this mesmerizing novel, Werlin (The Killer's Cousin) adapts the medical mystery genre to explore the bewildering, complex issues surrounding experimental gene therapy. Narrator Eli Samuels, about to graduate from high school, has fired off an e-mail to Quincy Wyatt, a world-famous scientist and head of a genetics research corporation-stunningly, Wyatt summons Eli and offers him a job. Eli is thrilled, but the news horrifies his father, who, without explanation, asks Eli to turn it down (Eli takes it anyway). Eli's father's silence on the subject of Wyatt has many precedents within Eli's home. Eli's mother is rapidly deteriorating from Huntington's disease, a hereditary illness. Eli has not told his girlfriend, Viv, about his mother nor even introduced Viv to his father. Eli has talents he hides, but somehow Wyatt knows of them and even takes pride in them. Meanwhile Eli knows that his father conceals other information-and that Wyatt has somehow been pivotal to his family. The characterizations feel somewhat incomplete, but the plot moves at a tantalizing clip, with secrets revealed in tiny increments, and hints and clues neatly planted. Werlin distills the scientific element to a manageable level, enough for readers to follow Eli as he ponders Wyatt's work and his mother's illness. As the author tackles bioethical issues, the story's climax appeals to reason and love for humanity without resorting to easy answers. Brisk, intelligent and suspenseful all the way. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2004 March)
Gr 8 Up-Eighteen-year-old Eli Samuels, whose once-vibrant mother is losing her long battle with the ravages of Huntington's disease, is hired at the Wyatt Transgenics Lab. Eli's father is dead set against the job because of a secret he harbors concerning the lab's owner, Dr. Quincy Wyatt, and Eli's mother. Shortly after starting work, the teen meets Kayla Matheson, a beautiful girl who eerily reminds him of a photo of his mother when she was young. Slowly, Eli uncovers one layer after another of the shocking truth about Dr. Wyatt's genetic-engineering experiments and their connection to his parents, Kayla, and himself. With the support of his longtime girlfriend and soul mate, he confronts Dr. Wyatt in a taut climax to the story. Werlin clearly and dramatically raises fundamental bioethical issues for teens to ponder. She also creates a riveting story with sharply etched characters and complex relationships that will stick with readers long after the book is closed. An essential purchase for YA collections.-Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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