Amy, Number Seven

Marilyn Kaye, Author
Marilyn Kaye, Author Skylark Books $4.5 (208p) ISBN 978-0-553-49238-5
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-11259-8
Prebound-Sewn - 202 pages - 978-0-606-15933-3
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The Amy at the center of this debut novel in Kaye's Replica series has a problem most 12-year-old girls would kill for: she suddenly excels at everything she does. She performs flawlessly at gymnastics practice, answers a complicated math problem in a split second and demonstrates tricky maneuvers on ice skates with ease. In an intentionally cryptic prologue and in subsequent, brief interludes between chapters, the author introduces ""the director,"" who is investigating the possibility that a ""project"" that was ""terminated"" 12 years earlier has in fact survived. Meanwhile, Amy's mother (a biologist) has been vague about the girl's father for years (he allegedly died in a car accident before she was born), but Amy is determined to uncover her family history for an autobiography assignment. At the conclusion, after rescuing Amy from a mysterious pursuer, her mother comes clean: her daughter is one of 13 clones--all named Amy--created as part of a government experiment to create a ""master race."" Veteran series author Kaye's (Camp Sunnyside Friends; Sisters) characters and dialogue are credible, but readers may find the clues linking Amy to the director's quest obvious and often redundant (e.g., a mysterious man with a camera appears to be stalking Amy; a friendship with a new neighbor who conveniently knew Amy's mother in college drops key facts in passing; anonymous notes warn Amy to keep her talents to herself, as ""you may be in danger""). The pursuit continues in Pursuing Amy, scheduled for simultaneous release, and Another Amy, planned for December. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
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