Review Blog

Jan 10 2018

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681195278
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Genetic engineering. Utopias. Friendship. Megan Frazer Blakemore's science fiction novel The Firefly Code explores friendship and life in the beautifully crafted utopian world of Old Harmonie. Everything from a regulated diet to strict guidelines for living is adhered to by the residents. Parents can genetically design their children and when they have their thirteenth birthday they learn their genetic makeup and choose their latency a special gift.
Twelve year old Mori and her friends, Julia, Theo and Benji live in cookie cutter houses on Firefly Lane. They love riding their bikes, swimming and hanging out together. Mori's curious about the history of her environment, and she loves to explore deep in the woods right near the fence separating the outside world from hers. When new girl Ilana moves into the vacant house, she seems to be too perfect, and the friends are curious about her textbook life and family, her past and her sometimes strange behaviour.
Mori and Ilana form a special bond; Mori's inquisitiveness is piqued by Ilana's actions causing her to carefully observe her behaviours. The two girls build a secret retreat they call 'Oaksedge' in the woods, a special retreat where Mori nurtures her special trees. When the friends decide to explore the abandoned house left by the founders of Old Harmonie, friendships are tested and questions are raised. Mori takes Dr Varden's notebook explaining the origins of the society based on genetic engineering of bees and their behaviour. With an unexpected fire, the disappearance of Ilana and Mori's determination to uncover more about her great-grandma's role in starting this special place, this is an exciting story.
Blakemore's novel told from Mori's perspective is an engaging read, exploring everyday life, friendships and realistically discussing the role of genetic engineering and the impact of life in a utopian society. The Firefly Code is a suitable science fiction narrative for the middle grades as a class novel.
Rhyllis Bignell

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