06 February 2012

Review: The Never Weres by Fiona Smyth

In the year 3088 humans have been affected by a virus that has destroyed their fertility. The last generation is now in the teen years, but still the world is debating the ethics of cloning humans, although the technology could save humanity.

Xian, Mia, and Jesse are best friends. Xian loves to explore the old subway system for artifacts from times past, Jesse likes to experiment with cloning animals (which is legal), and Mia volunteers at the senior center. After Xian starts to find evidence of long-abandoned labs hidden deep below the city, the teens combine their talents to learn the nature of the experiments conducted there. What have they discovered?

Fiona Smyth's The Never Weres is a dystopian graphic novel that takes as its major theme the issue of human cloning. Although there is plenty of action, the novel was not a success for me. First, the mystery of the secret laboratories is foreshadowed in such a way that I figured it out long before the teens. And second, I thought the ending was too quick and tidy. Nonetheless, Xian, Mia, and Jesse are smart and likeable with distinct personalities.

The scan (from page 11) is a good example of the black and white artwork, which is detailed and expressive. The target audience is middle grade readers, but some of the deeper implications of cloning, infertility, and elder care would appeal to more mature readers.

Others--such as Kirkus Reviews--had better luck with The Never Weres than I did, so if the topic or artwork interests you, give the novel a try.

I read this graphic novel to help celebrate Lenore's Dystopian February (see Presenting Lenore). This review will also be linked to Kid Konnection, hosted by Julie at Booking Mama.

The Never Weres at Powell's
The Never Weres at Book Depository
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Published by Annick Press, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781554512843
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: C-
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Lenore Appelhans 2/6/12, 7:11 AM  

Hmmm... that is quite a long ways into the future. At least the Mayans weren't right! lol

caite 2/6/12, 7:22 AM  

That is a long time in the future..humans no, but I would love to clone Sammy!

Swapna 2/6/12, 9:27 AM  

As you know, I was initially really interested in this graphic novel, but after reading your review, I think I'll pass. It's no fun when the mystery is too easy to figure out. Thanks for the review!

Swapna 2/6/12, 9:27 AM  

As you know, I was initially really interested in this graphic novel, but after reading your review, I think I'll pass. It's no fun when the mystery is too easy to figure out. Thanks for the review!

Daryl 2/6/12, 10:03 AM  

I am thinking its a bit odd of a topic for middle graders ..

Julie P. 2/6/12, 11:51 AM  

This one definitely wouldn't appeal to my middle grader.

Zibilee 2/6/12, 12:10 PM  

This might be a good book for my son, as I recently saw a book on his nightstand about genetics and DNA that was in graphic novel format. I asked him about it and he said it was really good. This one is one to keep an eye out for, I think!

Andi 2/6/12, 1:31 PM  

Sounds like one the stepkiddos might enjoy. THanks for passing along the word even if it didn't work for you.

bermudaonion 2/6/12, 2:45 PM  

I do like the artwork, but I'm not so sure about the story.

Jenners 2/6/12, 8:35 PM  

Too bad it didn't work for you. I was kind of interested until you started the review part.

Serena 2/7/12, 5:53 AM  

This sounds like an interesting concept that didn't quite pan out, keeping you in suspense. Thanks for the review.

Dorte H 2/7/12, 4:38 PM  

A pity you didn´t enjoy it more.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads 2/11/12, 11:16 AM  

My daughter would definitely like the artwork which is appealing, but I don't know that she would like the story.

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