Thursday, January 31

Unique – Alison Allen-Gray

Dominic Gordon’s father’s never liked him – Dom’s grades aren’t good enough, he’s not interested in or any good at science, and Dom’s love of art means nothing to the wealthy CEO. Dom’s mother used to be a world famous opera singer, but she stopped singing and started drinking around the time Dom was born. The only bright spot in Dom’s life, apart from creating art, is spending time with his grandfather, and Pops is growing increasingly confused. Maybe that’s why Dom was able to find the photo album.
At first Dom thinks the photos of a young baby growing into a young man are of him – he doesn’t remember his parents ever being as happy as they look in the pictures, nor does he remember the events, but the boy looks just like him. And then the boy is older than him, going to college, and Dom realises that the pictures are of an older brother, an identical older brother, than nobody ever told him about. And everything Dom thought he knew about himself and his family falls apart.
At first I thought it was going to be a less trashy version of Virginia Andrews’s My Sweet Audrina, which is about a girl who believes she’s the younger sister of a beloved girl who was mysteriously murdered years earlier, and which is filled with the VA trademarks of weird sex, manipulative adults and claustrophobic exertion of control.
Instead Unique is a fascinating look at where advances in science may take us – Dom is the illegal clone of his parents’ first son, scientific genius Nick Gordon. The novel explores questions about how much of what and who we are is genetic and how much environmental, about the role of the media in informing us and in reinforcing our prejudices and faulty beliefs, about the ability of the law to keep up with and control scientific advances, and the ability of a populace to work themselves into hysteria. And it does so while still being informative, readable and retaining a sense of both place and person.
What I liked most was the beautiful articulation by one of Allen-Gray’s characters, a priest being interviewed about the moral status of a clone – the potential for evil, he says, is not in the child, a creature of god, but in the intention of those seeking to reproduce something gone rather than a unique being, worthy in their own right. I liked not only the ideology underlying the statement but also the author’s use of an archetype commonly seen as the embodiment of irrational superstition as the sole voice of sanity in the wilderness. This is a great blending of philosophy and young adult writing. – Alex

23 comments:

Lewis and danny said...

hello alison, im just commenting on your book, "unique".

i have recently read your book in my english class at school, i found it a very exciting book because there were problems following on all the time, and the book was very very easy to follow.

i liked the idea how it had the blurb on the front of the book aswell...please make a second unique book.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i thought this book was very interesting and i liked all the twists especially all of dominics escape attempts. i thought the ending was a bit weak after all the effort put into the storyline and plot.
yours, joe

Anonymous said...

hi i just read your book unique i think it is a goood book and i like the idea of it cloning is a big subject in the world.

http://gangbl1ss.freehostia.com

Anonymous said...

Hi,
We both read the book Unique and we agree that unique is a interesting and exciting book. we liked the twists that alison allen gray used in the book and we liked the arrange of characters she used and the roles of them in the book and we like the use of cloning in a juvenile fiction book. overall we think this is a good book and should be used for schools in the future

Anonymous said...

Unique is a good book but it doesn't have a very good ending, the ending lets down the whole story. I think that the idea of the story was a very good idea


RobbieHuntington =]

Anonymous said...

I read this story in my English Class!

I think that the author Alison Allen gray has put such a good point accross about cloning! The story really makes you interested in the way some of the characters feel. I think the points she has put accros are the fact that cloning can ruin people's lives and deeply upset people.

I think that the ending could have been better though but other then that i think the story was really good and i enjoyed reading it!

My overall views on this book are really good and it has a very good storyline

XxX

Anonymous said...

I think unique is a real eye opener, to the effects of cloning.It shows that people's lives can be ruined by cloning. The thing i like most about unique, is that it shows just how badly it can effect people and how the cloning process works.

Anonymous said...

I read this book at school and I think it is a brilliant book. The author created mystery at the beggining and then repeats what she wrote in the prologue, saying that there were dead paople at the bottom of the mountain and that they were dead because of him. But we didnt know why. until we read the rest of the book

Anonymous said...

Unque is a really good book and I enjoyed reading it.There was only one bad point to Unique and that is the ending.But over all I find Unique exciting and made me want to read more.I was very intresting and has a point in telling people about Cloning.It tells you the dangers and what happens if there is a clone in the real world.I would recommend this book to anyone.Unique is one of the best books ive read.

Anonymous said...

I read this book in school, I think this is a very good book.
I think this book is a mystery at the begining because you do not know what is going to happen, and that makes you want to read on (and I think many books dont do that). I also think that alison did a very good job of creating the characters of this book, i think that the characters fit into the book very very well. I also think aswell that the prologue was very good because it only told you a little bit but that was enough to keep you reading on into the book. And finaly I think that this book sounds real and it makes you believe it in some ways.

nathan from vermuyden school
it is a great book

Anonymous said...

We really enjoyed reading unique, there was only one bad point about the book which was that we didnt really understand the ending and we think it needs a sequel, but overall we really enjoyed the story line.

from bekki and carlene

Anonymous said...

Hello.
I Am A Year 8 Student From Vermuyden School,Goole East Yorkshire England.
For the Past few Weeks I Have been Reading The Published Book Unique.I think This Book is truly Exellent,Intresting And Fun Packed.This book Definitley Changed My Opition On Cloning. I Think Alison Allen Gray Has Produed A Great Story Line About the Dangers Of Cloning.I Definiely Reommend This Book To Children And Adults. Brodie Masterman x

Anonymous said...

We really enjoyed reading unique, there was only one bad point about the book which was that we didnt really understand the ending and we think it needs a sequel, but overall we really enjoyed the story line.

from bekki and carlene

Anonymous said...

I have read the story Unique in my english lesson!

I think that Alison Allen Gray wrote this book really well. I think she did a good job on stressing her opinion about cloning. When i read the book it made me think what it would be like to be in Dominics position. I think the book is really good at the begining because it makes you want to keep reading right until the end, to find out what happens. I think this book was one of the best books i have read but i think the ending could have been better because, it didnt really tell you much it just like ended. Over all i think that the book is very good and i enjoyed reading it.

xxx

Anonymous said...

i really enjoyed this book we was reading it for about 2 months in class we have done work from this book. i liked this book for the following reasons
reason 1 it had alot of deep detail
reason 2 it was a mixed imotion book with all sorts of different feelings. if i had rate this book between 1 and 10 i would definetly and proudly give unique a 10 i would advise you to buy this book or get your teacher to buy it for your class

xx katie xx

Anonymous said...

we think that unique is an intresting book and would definatly recomend it to other readers. The fact that it is about a subject like cloning is different because not many people actually think about cloning and when they do they think about the science side and not the side where familys get torn apart and reined. we liked this book a lot but she should have ended it better because it was a bit of a cliff hanger but overall the book is really unique and we enjoyed reading it

by Lauren and Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I read unique a couple of years back and recently a friend of mine has read it too. I absolutely loved it and found the characterization very believable. I also find it interesting the fact that the subject of cloning is commonly a Science-Fiction one yet, it has been incorporated here into real life and modern day without the flashy gadgets and lasers. Some of the people who have left comments here say they found the ending weak, however I thought that just made it more believable because you honestly don't know what will happen next.

Overall a great book and the cover design is awesome, (what got me to pick up in the first place) and I don't think I'd like to see a sequel, it may ruin the effect Miss Allen-Gray has constructed but I would love to read more books from her.

-- Riven

Alex and Lynn Ward said...

Thanks all of you for your responses. I'm glad you all enjoyed the book, and agree with those of you who thought the ending was a little weak.
I would also be interested in reading another book - not necessarily a sequel - set in the same universe as "Unique."
I'm particularly glad you're being assigned books in school that are topical and engage you - when Alex and I were in high school most of the assigned reading was if the Worthy Classic variety, enough to put less dedicated readers off books for like. Read on! - Alex
(orignially posted 12/06/08, rewritten because of an embarrassment of typos)

Anonymous said...

Serious disasters and
humourous times in a
intensivly
tiny, book. This book really

is 'Unique"

Hannah :) said...

Hi there,
I'm studying this book in english at the moment and it's ben a real eye opener for me. It made me realise the cloned person isn't an object, it's a living organism that has its own life. For example, Nick was a scientest and not very strong as Becky tells us, whereas Dominic is a artist and is stronger physically and mentally.
Some people have commented saying the ending should have been better but I disagree. Ok, i do agree, it did leave us wondering, but that's what books are meant to do! Have a lasting impact on us. We all have our own reasons or explinations for Imogen and Leanne's deaths.
If this book was to made into a film (which I think would be a great idea!) maybe the ending could be explained more there.
One thing which I would love o know is why Imogen let go and told Dominic to stay; was it beacuse she had grown to love him or was it so she'd get out of trouble. Or maybe is it both?
Thank you for writing such a good book, I will certainly be recommending it to people I know!

Hannah xx

Joe said...

Hi there,
We've just been reading your book in English at school and everyone really enjoyed it :)
We all were discussing ways to make a sequel and/or make a film of the book which we all thing would be amazing :)
I really loved reading your book and hope you do make a sequel :D

lauren said...

Hi there,

I've recently read your book 'unique,' which was an excellent read. There was so much emotion and emphasis put into the writing. It's made me think twice about telling children everything, they can feel tortured and angered by what they might discover. I guess that's how Dominic felt. He was forever in the shadow of his brother, he never lived up to the standards that his father wanted. His father may have tried to clone him but you can not clone an identity.
Please make a sequel :)

Anonymous said...

I loved the book unique. It was very interesting and full of adventure. I thought Alison described it very well, so I almost felt as if I was there. I found it sad at the part where the whole family tears apart. I couldn't put it down because I wanted to keep reading what would happen next after all the problems.

:D Sam g