Thursday, July 30, 2015

Deadly Design - Debra Dockter

Kyle and Connor are twins, but Kyle was born two years later.  Their parents are carriers of a fatal disease called spinal muscular atrophy, and their mom has had six miscarriages.  They went to a fertility doctor who designed them in the lab, and while Connor was inside his mom Kyle was frozen in the lab.  Kyle started asking questions right after his preschool graduation.  His dad explained things to him later that day.  Connor knew they were twins, but was told to keep it to himself until their parents felt it was the right time to tell Kyle.  Fast forward eleven years to Connor's last track meet and graduation a few weeks later.  Kyle is considering not going to either one.  Emma, Connor's girlfriend, is trying to convince him to go.  She tells him that Connor would want him there to support him.  After getting the guilt trip by his father Kyle goes to Connor's last track meet.  He runs into Cami, Emma's best friend, and she is surprised to see him there.  After the meet they all go to Luigi's to celebrate.  Cami and Kyle are off to the side while Kyle's parents praise Connor and Emma about how they will graduate in a few weeks and then after the summer head to Kansas State University.  Later that night Connor comes in Kyle's room and they play video games for half the night.  The next morning Kyle goes to wake Connor up and finds him dead in his bed.  The day after the funeral Kyle's parents tell him Emma wants him to read Connor's valedictorian speech at graduation.  He reluctantly agrees, but thinking he's not worthy to read his brothers words.  At graduation Kyle reads the speech that would make Connor proud of him.  Shortly after graduation the autopsy results come back saying Connor died from a heart attack.  Kyle goes and gets tested, and the tests come back clean.  As Kyle comes back from getting a job application he hears on the news that Alexis Warren collapsed and died, a day before her eighteenth birthday.  His parents knew her and her parents from the fertility clinic where Connor and Kyle were made.  Later that night Kyle does some research and he finds a blog for another kid Triagon Summers, who also died on his eighteenth birthday back in April.  The next day Kyle tells Cami what he found out, and asks her to take him to the fertility clinic where it all started.  They see his dad walk out of the clinic when they get there.  Kyle talks to Dr. Preston who says all he can do is direct Kyle to Dr. Hodges, the same thing he told Kyle's dad.  Dr. Hodges tells Kyle's dad, Kyle, and Cami that Dr. Mueller, the one who started Genesis, disappeared eighteen years ago.  Dr. Hodges explains to them how after fertilization happens the embryos with undesired traits are discarded, leaving only the best traits.  Dr. Hodges suggests they find who ever is left and do genetic screens on them.  Kyle puts out a Facebook post about a missing dog named James M. to try and make contact with one of the other Mueller babies.  He goes out for a run and encounters a bully named Teddy.  As they start to fight and Emma shows up and intervenes.  After the fight is broken up Emma tells him she needs a fresh start and she's leaving and moving to Minnesota.  Kyle says good-bye to Emma the next morning, and goes to eat at Don's Diner where Cami spots him and joins him.  They see a strange man they had noticed at Connor's track meet and the Sac and Save taking pictures.  They think nothing of it and make plans for later that night.  They set off fireworks as a distraction from everything, and Kyle contemplates about how things will never be the same again.  On the Fourth of July Kyle and his parents head down to Dallas to have tests run on him.  He meets a few other of the kids made by Dr. Mueller, and runs into James M. in the flesh.  Amber only has a few weeks till she's eighteen and James has a month. Kyle runs into Amber again and as they are talking Kyle sees a woman that was also at their hotel.  As Kyle tries to figure out who she is Amber collapses and dies. The doctors tell everyone they tried to save Amber but couldn't.  They have mapped out their DNA and found a sequence that causes catastrophic heart failure around the age of eighteen.  Their solution is to put a pacemaker into James to keep his heart going.  If it doesn't work then James will die in a few weeks.  While waiting for the taxi outside the hotel Kyle spots the same person who was at Connor's track meet taking pictures.  He chases after him and the guy gets hit by a car.  Before the guy dies he tells Kyle he was made differently, and he won't make it to seventeen.  Can Kyle figure out a way to live beyond seventeen? 

This was an intriguing book.  It shows how much we trust science to make everything perfect, including children.  Most parents will do anything for their children, but what happens when science takes over?  What is to stop the scientist from using the children as guinea pigs for their own personal goals?  Children are the future of humanity, and if we let science manipulate them then humanity may not have much of a future. 


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