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The Firefly Code

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Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why d Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why does she act so strange sometimes? When Ilana's secret is revealed, the kids on Firefly Lane must decide: is it finally time to start questioning the only world they've ever known?


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Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why d Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why does she act so strange sometimes? When Ilana's secret is revealed, the kids on Firefly Lane must decide: is it finally time to start questioning the only world they've ever known?

30 review for The Firefly Code

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Really enjoyed this middle-grade utopian. It's been a very long time since I read The Giver but the community seemed to have a similar feel. In this one, a group of kids are growing up in a utopian community where everything is great and everyone works together and has their job and their community is safe from all of the dangers of the outside world. But then a new girl moves in. I really loved the friendships because they seemed very realistic. They were competitive, they got jealous, they had Really enjoyed this middle-grade utopian. It's been a very long time since I read The Giver but the community seemed to have a similar feel. In this one, a group of kids are growing up in a utopian community where everything is great and everyone works together and has their job and their community is safe from all of the dangers of the outside world. But then a new girl moves in. I really loved the friendships because they seemed very realistic. They were competitive, they got jealous, they had sleepovers, they played together almost every day, and they had fights. But they all come together when they need to and support each other and I really liked that. Also, I really liked the questions it brings up in regards to AI and what makes someone human and acceptance. They aren't hidden deeply within the text but asked and addressed outright by the characters, though perhaps not as deeply as I would have liked. At this age, I think it works well and I would be interested to see what younger readers would think of those questions and if they'd agree or disagree with the characters in the book. I do think the book ended very abruptly. I was not prepared for the end to come when it did. The first thing I did after turning the last page was to come here and see if this was a series. The end sets up perfectly for a sequel but there isn't one listed. Maybe it'll come later and we'll get a few more insights into the community these kids live in and what exactly the adults have done and a few more answers to some loose ends. Because my only other complaint would be that there's a lot of set-up and then a very quickly paced second half that doesn't spend as much time on those ideas above as I think it maybe should have. But otherwise I think this was a really good MG sci-fi book that can ease kids into the genre without having to jump to something like The Hunger Games, which is a little more violent than a lot of us parents want for our 4-6 graders.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Franki Sibberson

    Loved this dystopian novel. Perfect for 5th/6th grades I think.

  3. 5 out of 5

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    The plot twist was really unexpected! I knew something was going to be revealed about Ilana, but I never expected that she was (view spoiler)[a robot! (hide spoiler)] Also, it had a lot of things about genetic engineering, like releasing the latency, dampening, designing, and enhancements. There was also one similarity I found with Always Human; the enhancements are a lot like mods, except the enhancements don't always work. I also kinda found it creepy that the parents could change anything abo The plot twist was really unexpected! I knew something was going to be revealed about Ilana, but I never expected that she was (view spoiler)[a robot! (hide spoiler)] Also, it had a lot of things about genetic engineering, like releasing the latency, dampening, designing, and enhancements. There was also one similarity I found with Always Human; the enhancements are a lot like mods, except the enhancements don't always work. I also kinda found it creepy that the parents could change anything about their kids. (view spoiler)[Plus, I don't think that the outside cities are as bad as the parents and other adults say. (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    This is definitely a cute and fun read. However, I had a number of problems with how science was discussed since this is science fiction. I also found the friendships to be a bit unhealthy and the message strange for a middle grade.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nichole

    If first impressions were everything, I would tell you that I knew that this book was going to win me over just based on the cover. I know. I know. You should never judge a book by its cover. I can’t help myself. Look at it… The Firefly Code has one of those covers just feels magical and sparked a wonder in my heart. Actually, the whole truth is that I initially sought out The Firefly Code because I had the awesome opportunity to read an advanced copy of its sequel Daybreak Bond. And yes, Daybrea If first impressions were everything, I would tell you that I knew that this book was going to win me over just based on the cover. I know. I know. You should never judge a book by its cover. I can’t help myself. Look at it… The Firefly Code has one of those covers just feels magical and sparked a wonder in my heart. Actually, the whole truth is that I initially sought out The Firefly Code because I had the awesome opportunity to read an advanced copy of its sequel Daybreak Bond. And yes, Daybreak Bond also struck my curiosity with its own beautiful cover. But really, I didn’t want to be at a disadvantage with a continuing story. So, what’s a girl to do? That’s right. I started at the beginning. So, we know I love the cover. But did the book really win me over? In a word – Yes. The Firefly Code is a middle-grade, science fiction story written from the perspective of a 12 year old girl named Mori. Immediately, Mori and the rest of her friends are very like-able. They have the normal amount of banter but there is a special kind of closeness that is unmistakeable. Our protagonist, Mori, has the purest sense of eagerness about her but she is also careful and kind. I loved reading from her perspective! Mori and her close-knit group of friends live on Firefly Lane and their little world is just perfect. Utopian. And though they are kept separate from the outside world, there is very little that Mori and her friends question about their lives on Firefly Lane. Why would they? They are perfectly safe just as they are… All is fine until… Enter the new girl on Firefly Lane. Ilana. When Ilana moves in, Mori and her friends have an immediate curiosity about her. Ilana is a beautiful girl, almost too perfect but she also tends to act a bit peculiar at times. As the children spend more time with Ilana, they begin to question her strange behavior and the odd effect that she has on Firefly Lane. As secrets more revealed, more questions are raised but not just about Ilana. The Firefly Code is a fun and easy read. The story moves at a nice even pace that never bores you and the world that Megan Frazer Blakemore has created is wonderfully fascinating. You will want to know the secrets of Firefly Lane, just the same as Mori and her friends – the Firefly Five. And the end? Well, lets just say that I’ve already started Daybreak Bond… I just couldn’t wait! I’m giving this book 4 very curious stars!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    A science based middle grade mystery revolving around 5 friends living in a utopian community. Very creative and already has a sequel in the works which is great, because I'd like to know what happens next. School librarians should definitely add this book to their current collection. A science based middle grade mystery revolving around 5 friends living in a utopian community. Very creative and already has a sequel in the works which is great, because I'd like to know what happens next. School librarians should definitely add this book to their current collection.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Keaunna Magee

    To be honest, I'm not much of a reader. If I do read a book, I usually stay in my comfort zone about books that relate to me or topics I'm interested in. While I was reading the book The Firefly Code, I was surprised I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. The problems the characters face are very similar to ones we face everyday. I think the book relates to real life more than others would like to admit. Mori and her friends have an ongoing struggle to be themselves and follow their own To be honest, I'm not much of a reader. If I do read a book, I usually stay in my comfort zone about books that relate to me or topics I'm interested in. While I was reading the book The Firefly Code, I was surprised I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. The problems the characters face are very similar to ones we face everyday. I think the book relates to real life more than others would like to admit. Mori and her friends have an ongoing struggle to be themselves and follow their own dreams. In reality, the struggles Mori and her friends go through is what we go through on a daily basis. Everyday people are scared to be themselves or want to change because they don't "fit" in with the norms. Everyday people change their dreams or their path because they want to impress others or want to please others. In some aspects I wouldn't mind living in the society the book takes place in. How perfect would it be to live in a perfect life everyday? Everyone would always be happy and content, and there would never be any issues. I wouldn't have to worry about getting sick or making a mistake because my life and everyone me is "perfect". If I was unhappy about myself, I could modify my DNA to change myself too! How great! I think there is truth about the book. In some people eye's we used to live in a "perfect" world where everyone was safe and everyone was equal like in The Firefly Code. However, somewhere along the way we have lost touch with all the good in the world. In my opinion, the world and the society we live in has changed so much. There has become so much danger and hatred everywhere around us and no one knows how to act or change to make the situation better. My mom used to tell me when she younger she could walk alone at night or walk downtown by herself. To me, that would be a "perfect" world. In today's society, I don't go anywhere alone ever. Just like in the book, we either pretend everything is perfect, or we handle life the best we can and try to improve everyday.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I love how this book makes you think about friendship and it has a great story line!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Izabelle Kafka

    loooooovvvveeeeee it

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becca A.

    It was slow at first, but I enjoyed it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Rae Fong

    I know lots of kids who liked it, but for a variety of pacing and plot things it just wasn't the book for me. I know lots of kids who liked it, but for a variety of pacing and plot things it just wasn't the book for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I give it 5 stars because i liked it as it showed many struggles that normal kids would have to face, especially friend troubles, I liked how it showed how friendship is so important in one's life and the struggles you would have to face in order to achieve that. I give it 5 stars because i liked it as it showed many struggles that normal kids would have to face, especially friend troubles, I liked how it showed how friendship is so important in one's life and the struggles you would have to face in order to achieve that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miranda.S

    This book was similar to The Giver, but less action. Otherwise, this was a really great book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeana Laurie

    Let's just say this book broke my heart. To be clear, I DON'T like dystopian books at all. But this wasn't exactly dystopian in terms of plot or feel. As the author described this is actually about a utopia where something simply goes wrong. So I enjoyed that the feel itself wasn't ever overly dark. But that's not to say this was a light read. No not in the least! This story really asked a lot of big questions about ethics and morality. The characters were well defined and the connection of frie Let's just say this book broke my heart. To be clear, I DON'T like dystopian books at all. But this wasn't exactly dystopian in terms of plot or feel. As the author described this is actually about a utopia where something simply goes wrong. So I enjoyed that the feel itself wasn't ever overly dark. But that's not to say this was a light read. No not in the least! This story really asked a lot of big questions about ethics and morality. The characters were well defined and the connection of friendship the five of them share is the heart of this book. Honestly, I can't say too much without gives away something plot critical, but I knew as the remaining pages dwindled that there wasn't enough pages left to resolve all the issues that were raised. And sure enough, when I turned the last page and saw the acknowledgments staring back at me I knew this was going to be a heart cruncher. Again I don't want to give it away, but let's just say this wasn't a happy or unhappy ending. I can understand that there's a certain drama from ending it here, but honestly if I'd been writing this and just left it here I would have been nuts in 24 hours tops. With that said I still really enjoyed this book, it was another chance to meet some awesome people from the realm of books. And like I said, for a story to break my heart means it did a lot right. But sigh... Still I just wish this didn't leave such a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Or such a feelings of incompleteness. But I guess that was part of the message they were trying to convey. Still a very heart felt book, so for that I recommend it. *lays head over on desk and cries*

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maria Tag

    The Firefly Code was an amazing book. It will make you cry, it will you make you laugh, it will make you think. The community in the book reminded me of the one in The Giver ( I watched the movie, and I will read the book soon! :D ) as it is supposed to be a utopia where everyone plays the by the rules. Stays in the lines. Abides by the norm. But there's a lawbreaker who shatters that who little ideal into a million, tiny pieces to protect someone she loves. That lawbreaker would be the timid bu The Firefly Code was an amazing book. It will make you cry, it will you make you laugh, it will make you think. The community in the book reminded me of the one in The Giver ( I watched the movie, and I will read the book soon! :D ) as it is supposed to be a utopia where everyone plays the by the rules. Stays in the lines. Abides by the norm. But there's a lawbreaker who shatters that who little ideal into a million, tiny pieces to protect someone she loves. That lawbreaker would be the timid but curious Mori, trying to save her friend. And there's always the person needing to rescued, oblivious to it all. Alana. During the span of this book, Mori ad her friends Theo, Julia, and Benji find devastating secrets about what seemingly perfect Alana really is. And once they find out Alana's secret ( which she herself doesn't know) they know they have to do something. Anything. Even if it breaks the rules. Enrages the authorities. Anything. Anything to save their friend. I adored reading this book. It made me think, truly think- about ethics, friendship, and breaking the rules. Very well done Megan.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Great book for a book club. What is a human? When does genetic manipulation enhances ones original self, and when does it change the original being into a new/designed individual? These are the questions the Firefly 5 are face with as they transition from 6th to 7th Grade, from 11 to 12 years old when they have to choose their "latancy" which will determine who they become and what jobs they will take. All of this is done in a near future Utopian atmosphere reminiscent of "The Giver" by Lois Low Great book for a book club. What is a human? When does genetic manipulation enhances ones original self, and when does it change the original being into a new/designed individual? These are the questions the Firefly 5 are face with as they transition from 6th to 7th Grade, from 11 to 12 years old when they have to choose their "latancy" which will determine who they become and what jobs they will take. All of this is done in a near future Utopian atmosphere reminiscent of "The Giver" by Lois Lowery. This should be on every STEAM, STEM and social sciences teachers bookshelf because the tech part of the story is enmeshed in the universal themes of safety without choice, or choice without safety. Taking responsibility for your life and actions, and above all this book is about friendship. A book kids will want to read for the characters and story, but one that will leave them with questions that address current events. Not sure its the first in a series, which would be fantastic. But it could be more powerful left as a stand alone.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Deviki

    Whoa, I was very taken with this book from the beginning till the end !! This book had me thinking about my own judgment regarding the borderline between being ethical vs science advancement. When I saw this book in the open library shelf, the first thing that caught my attention was the book cover (duh) but I just glanced at it and read the back without really making any connection about the words "utopian community". I just thought this was some book about a bunch of suburban kids finding them Whoa, I was very taken with this book from the beginning till the end !! This book had me thinking about my own judgment regarding the borderline between being ethical vs science advancement. When I saw this book in the open library shelf, the first thing that caught my attention was the book cover (duh) but I just glanced at it and read the back without really making any connection about the words "utopian community". I just thought this was some book about a bunch of suburban kids finding themselves and looking at things from an "outsiders" POV. Oh boy !! I was so taken aback when I kept reading and slowly started to really grasp that this was not some "wannabe utopian" type of community, this was the FUTURISTIC and FLAWLESS type utopian community !! Like dayummm...... I find myself thinking how awesome is it to live in a community that is so dedicated to making such positive progress with science advancement and order. I thought it was pretty cool that you get to discover your "skill and talent" at the age of 13. I mean how neat is that, meaning no kids are left out...no kid is gonna feel like he/she is not good enough because this Old Harmonie community is progressing and nudging kids into the right direction, nobody is left stranded. (kind of a relieve to think you won't be having self doubt halfway though your chosen collage or career option I didn't even mind the natural vs design kids (although I always cringe at the fact that humans are gluttonous creatures when it come to achieving perfection or near perfection) I thought this was superlative, a lil bit rigid but really I thought it was awesome.....until I read that latency means they gonna start doing scenes from the movie "DISTURBING BEHAVIOR (1998)" anyone remember this movie ??? Here let me refresh your memory Yeah, ok sure it's not as gruesome like that movie but you get the picture. Parents get to alter you physically and mentally anytime they want and you won't even realize it was happening to you. I find it to be very creepy, if latency is applied ethically they can really help you in the right direction and the outcome could be fantastic but when you start blurring the lines between being ethical vs science advancement, that is when you feel like you can play "god". You feel like you can do whatever you want to an individual because that's what you think is right and without the person's consent too....now that is disturbing as fuck. I liked Mori, I think she is an awesome protagonist. I find her to be pleasantly curious and isn't overzealous. I enjoyed reading about her personality and her thought process. I always felt like Mori was very mature for her age, I mean, I have to keep reminding myself that Mori, Theo, Julia and Benji they're only 13 years old kids. Although sometimes, their conversation would seem like they're a bunch of 30 year old adults. But again, you have to remember these are no ordinary kids.....they are "enhanced" from birth. Out of 4 of them, the one that comes close to sounding like a kid would be Julia. She didn't come across as someone who was overly intelligent like the others but more like a jock. I find that she still held on to her kid behavior but others act like they are older. Their conversation and thought process is more matured. I found Benji to be most underdeveloped character out of the 4. So far we haven't seen anything drastic from his side yet. I mean, sure he is a super genius and into skateboarding but other than that, nothing worth noting (yet). Theo, is the second most developed character in this book. We see the process of latency and dampening from his end. I think his purpose in this book is to show conflict on being a perfect Old Harmonie citizen and discovery exactly where his own freewill comes into play. Not to mention his mother is powerful person and we get a bit of background story from here and there. I like him and I hope Mori and him make it :P I find his personality and behavior very refreshing. If I talk about Ilana, then it would give away the story. But Ilana did make me think about how quite unprepared Old Harmonie is when it comes to tackling "that" new "improved project". I think it seem really unfair on Ilana but I also don't know what to make of her situation. She is such a nice and caring person but really which is which in her case ? Although, as her friend I won't abandon her but if ethically how is she even suppose to "move on" ? I find the whole utopian community, the ideology and even the suspense of a possible dystopian world outside of Old Harmonie very intriguing. Another thing I appreciated in this book is how racially diverse this book is. I'm not quite sure what Benji's heritage is but based on his description, I think he might be biracial of some kind. I predicted the twist correctly and I also have some theory as to why Ilana and Mori connected very quickly while the others noticed she was weird right away. I think, I kind of know why, but we will have to wait and see :) Although for some reason, I half expected the kids to drop "dead" the moment they crossed over or that Mori going half blind because her technology doesn't work outside the fence LOL This book might be a bit too advance for children's category. I think it could comfortably fall under the YA category. If I must point out something I didn't like, it would be the how the story ended suddenly, I really didn't know this was a serial book so that ending kinda unnerved me :P I'm very curious as to what they will discover outside of their utopian world, i also want to know if the outside work had caught up with some technology or etc and also how each of them individually going to discover things on their own. I want to continue this series for sure !

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The idea that there's a "utopia" (or, more accurately, several) that is, in reality, more Big Brother and dystopia is not new (think The Giver or City of Ember). So there's a lot in this book that feels familiar, yet the children here feel a little realer than in those books - they could almost be kids playing on your block, swimming in your neighborhood pool. And for some reason, the ways in which they question Old Harmonie and what's going on also feel more real, more natural than elsewhere, p The idea that there's a "utopia" (or, more accurately, several) that is, in reality, more Big Brother and dystopia is not new (think The Giver or City of Ember). So there's a lot in this book that feels familiar, yet the children here feel a little realer than in those books - they could almost be kids playing on your block, swimming in your neighborhood pool. And for some reason, the ways in which they question Old Harmonie and what's going on also feel more real, more natural than elsewhere, probably because the town is presented as being rather natural and familiar. The problem is the pacing and some of the Big Discoveries (what's in Number 9, for example, could have been more than it actually is); the ending is so abrupt, again like in The Giver but here there's less ambiguity and more "get ready for Book Two". ARC provided by publisher.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book is a five-star book. It holds great themes such as listen to your heart and support your friends. I couldn't put it down. The plot is a little slow at first but it is worth reading because it picks up pretty quickly and from there on you can't help but hold your breath. I would recommend this book to people who liked "The Giver" or anyone who likes science fiction. This book is a five-star book. It holds great themes such as listen to your heart and support your friends. I couldn't put it down. The plot is a little slow at first but it is worth reading because it picks up pretty quickly and from there on you can't help but hold your breath. I would recommend this book to people who liked "The Giver" or anyone who likes science fiction.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anita McDivitt Barrios

    This book was very interesting for a middle grade read in that it wasn't driven by an external plot. There was no quest, no exterior objective the main character, 12-year-old Mori, has to achieve. You could even say there was no "typical" action for MG sci-fi -- no moon buggy races, no invading aliens, no 'splosions (the stick by which my son and husband judge every book and movie they've ever read / seen), no flying spaceships, although there is a house fire the kids watch from afar. In fact, th This book was very interesting for a middle grade read in that it wasn't driven by an external plot. There was no quest, no exterior objective the main character, 12-year-old Mori, has to achieve. You could even say there was no "typical" action for MG sci-fi -- no moon buggy races, no invading aliens, no 'splosions (the stick by which my son and husband judge every book and movie they've ever read / seen), no flying spaceships, although there is a house fire the kids watch from afar. In fact, the most "exciting" thing that happens is, of course, at the very end and sets the stage for the second book. Instead, this book focuses on a philosophical journey undertaken by children, not adults (because the adults represent some very fixed ideas about the world and these issues), considering the following questions: If your parents could design you, pick and choose genes for attributes they wanted in you, would you want to be designed? Or be a "natural" kid, with all the limitations that implies? And if your parents also had the ability to alter your brain through surgery, say release a hidden talent or dampen a negative or self-destructive trait, would you want them to? Would doing so change who you are? And finally, what makes a friend? Flesh and blood? Or is it possible to call an artificial intelligence, around which flesh and blood are grown, a friend, too? Mori is 12, on the cusp of having her brain-altering surgery to "release her latency," a technique pioneered by her Baba (grandmother) in the super technologically advanced settlement of New Harmonie. The bulk of the book takes place on Firefly Lane, in a cul-de-sac, as the kids ride bikes and visit each other's houses / pools, or in Mori's case, the woods just outside the town but inside the fence that keeps them safe from the hordes and diseases outside their town. One day a new girl appears, Ilana. She whisks into the empty house in the cul-de-sac with some amazingly trendy parents, high-ranking in the Krita Corp., which runs the settlement, and Mori, on a whim, takes Ilana to her place in the woods. It's the one place Julia, Mori's best friend, doesn't get. Mori is a naturalist at heart, and loves drawing the plants and naming the trees and just spending time surrounded by foliage and greenery. She's also a true "natural," not a designed kid, and was born with a retinal impairment. Her parents have used up almost all of her 30% allotment for enhancements fixing her eye, with a combination of a surgically implanted new lens and special prescription, adaptive glasses that enable her to see. Mori and Ilana click, the way friends do at that age, sparking Julia's jealousy. Julia is the exact opposite of Mori -- she's a designed child, exceptionally physically fit and capable of amazing feats of running, jumping, etc. She's hyper-competitive about everything, more so this year than ever before, and of course Julia doesn't like Ilana from the start. Ilana, Mori is convinced after they bond over the moss in Oakedge, Mori's forest oasis Ilana helps her name, is all-natural, like herself. Mori's been taught that nature is gorgeous, and Ilana is too, so of course, Ilana must be a "natural." Mori is determined to integrate Ilana into their circle of friends -- including Theo, another "designed" kid, and Benji, a genius and a "natural." (Although you learn later to not trust what the kids have been told by their parents, at all.) Then Theo has his latency surgery, and he comes back...changed. He has bad headaches. He's downright nasty, for no reason, to Mori, with whom he's always been very protective and gentle. He has to go back, for more brain surgeries, to "fix" him, because they (Krita Corp.'s doctors) got it wrong, the first time. Eventually, he evens out, but...Mori pauses to think about what's been done to him. At the same time, Mori's putting together some not-so-subtle hints that Ilana may not be what they all think she is. They go into her Baba's house at #9, which has been abandoned all these years, and find a closet packed with humanoid android parts and an old computer they boot up, with files about a scuttled project named, "Alana." And then there's a near-drowning in Julia's pool, in which Ilana just "shuts down" and then, once rescued, suddenly "reboots." And there's the fact that Ilana's never quite meshed with any of the other kids, except Mori. When they go back to the house for more answers, Ilana hurts Mori, grabs her arm way too tight and leaves a painful bruise, to prevent her from going inside. The house burns down, destroying all evidence inside and any chance the kids could get solid answers to their questions. Still, Mori isn't sure Ilana is natural at all, or if she's even human. But does that mean, Ilana isn't a friend? And when Ilana's in trouble, when Krita Corp. decides to "scuttle" the experiment that is her, can Mori convince all the kids to come to her rescue? I won't spoil the ending. You'll have to read to find out what they do, which I will say is the basis for Book 2. A thoroughly enjoyable, if uncharacteristically quiet, science-fiction middle grade read. Visit my blog for more great middle grade book recommendations, free teaching materials and fiction writing tips: http://amb.mystrikingly.com/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Burtness

    Dystopian literature has been one of my favorite genres, and is absolutely my current favorite. Admittedly, I still haven't quite finished the book due to being overly busy these last couple of weeks, but I plan to because I am enjoying it a lot so far. This book combines elements of science fiction with the dystopian genre to create an incredible (and fairly realistic) world that takes place in the not too distant future. In this world scientists have discovered the ability to unlock what they Dystopian literature has been one of my favorite genres, and is absolutely my current favorite. Admittedly, I still haven't quite finished the book due to being overly busy these last couple of weeks, but I plan to because I am enjoying it a lot so far. This book combines elements of science fiction with the dystopian genre to create an incredible (and fairly realistic) world that takes place in the not too distant future. In this world scientists have discovered the ability to unlock what they call "latencies" in the human brain; special traits that each individual possesses an aptitude for and that a surgical procedure helps to advance, so that the person becomes incredibly talented in their area of "latency". The main character and protagonist is a girl named Mori who is fairly relatable because, much like most readers, she is incredibly curious about the world around her, yet has no idea what she wants to do with her life or what she wants her "latency" to be. In this book the society has scientifically advanced to the point where they can improve individuals and "upgrade" them, but they only allow a 30% change to be made to each person so that evolution and natural human development may continue. This is interesting because from a scientific standpoint, both the argument of "nature vs nurture" and simply natural evolution vs scientific advancement are brought into play. The conflict being: if we can advance society and humans through the means of science, does that mean that we should? In addition to this, this society brings into play how differences in people may be viewed. For example, though it is never explicitly stated, Mori has a slight bias against people who aren't "natural" meaning that their genetics and DNA were altered in a lab for ideal traits or a more ideal outcome. Mori leans heavily in favor of allowing nature to do what it is intended to do and allowing humans and all life to evolve and grow, stating things such as, "nature tends to be smarter than people" (page 16). As our society progresses these questions and biases of science vs nature are growing more and more relatable, which makes this book all the better because it helps readers to think through and develop thoughts, questions, and opinions of their own about matters in the book, which in turn help to inspire all of those about the world we live in. Overall this book has been an intriguing and thought provoking reading experience. I found myself constantly predicting what I thought was going to happen next and putting myself in the main character's place with a "what would I do in this situation" approach to reading it. Frequently I found myself making text-to-self or text-to-world connections without trying to, and a book that has the ability to get the reader to relate to it on a personal level is an incredible thing. I would highly recommend reading this book, particularly if you enjoy science fiction because though the main genre is dystopian, there are so many heavy influences from science fiction in this story which makes it all the more intriguing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    This book is a true dystopian novel in the same vein as The Giver. It's set in the future in a utopian town called Old Harmonie. The characters live in a planned community on a street named Firefly Lane. Everything is cookie cutter and hints at perfection like The Stepford Wives which is an adult book. This book is an introductory look at the dystopian science-fiction genre. It doesn't have all the teen drama that YA dystopian books have. The gist is this. Everyone appreciates living in a perfe This book is a true dystopian novel in the same vein as The Giver. It's set in the future in a utopian town called Old Harmonie. The characters live in a planned community on a street named Firefly Lane. Everything is cookie cutter and hints at perfection like The Stepford Wives which is an adult book. This book is an introductory look at the dystopian science-fiction genre. It doesn't have all the teen drama that YA dystopian books have. The gist is this. Everyone appreciates living in a perfect utopia. There's no disease. Everyone eats healthy. All houses are the same. Everyone is environmentally conscience. Helicopter parenting is the norm. Kid’s brains can be tweaked at any time to make them closer to an ideal. In short, everything that society is aspiring to today, happens in the future. At age 13, kids learn their "latency.” They take a skills test to determine their talents and then get a surgical procedure to further enhance that part of their brains. This solves the problem of talents that never get discovered due to lack of exposure. For physical imperfections, they can be enhanced up to, but no more than, 30%. Whoa! That’s a lot to process. Main character, Mori, senses a loss in all this structure and perfection. She dreads having to choose her latency. She secretly hopes there is an undiscovered artistic talent, but so far nothing points to that possibility. She is instinctively drawn to nature and loves spending time alone in the woods. Then a new, mysterious girl, Ilana, moves to town and has the same interest in nature. Mori is thrilled with Ilana, but her other friends aren’t so sure about her. The truth is revealed when they sneak into the abandoned house of Old Harmonie’s founding scientist. Mori is torn over how to react to this information, but eventually realizes that friends help each other at all costs…and that’s the Firefly code. The topics in this book are a direct hit at what's going on in the world today. Helicopter parenting is rampant. Parent's push their kids to be perfect. People sanitize everything. They live in suburban homes with 5 floorpans and know which floorpan it is as soon as they walk into a neighbor's house. There's a race to be the first to clone a human. I get the sense this author is mocking all of that. I also detected a hint of a discussion about the haves vs. the have-nots. This would be a great book for a nontraditional middle school teacher to use to lead into a unit on debate. Many topics to debate here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anabelle Greffard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really enjoyed reading The Firefly Code written by Megan Frazer Blakemore because of how easy it was to get lost in the story. Mori and her friends live in Old Harmonie on Firefly Lane. In this ‘utopia’, parents can choose whether they want their child to be born with natural genes or they can design or clone their genes. When they turn 13, they get to find out what genes they are made out of and if they are natural or designed. They also chose a latency. This latency is a trait they want to p I really enjoyed reading The Firefly Code written by Megan Frazer Blakemore because of how easy it was to get lost in the story. Mori and her friends live in Old Harmonie on Firefly Lane. In this ‘utopia’, parents can choose whether they want their child to be born with natural genes or they can design or clone their genes. When they turn 13, they get to find out what genes they are made out of and if they are natural or designed. They also chose a latency. This latency is a trait they want to perfect in themselves. It can be something with memory, or art/music, or math, but it already has to be there. The story starts when Mori’s friend Theo turns thirteen and chooses his latency. Soon after his birthday, someone new moves in on the street. Ilana quickly joins the group and the call themselves the firefly five. Slowly they realize there is something off about Ilana. Everyone in this town is raised and thought to be very similar. They have different interest and personalities; however, they are all expected to be very alike. The characters struggle to be themselves and to find what is important to them. I think this makes the book very relatable because anyone at that age is going through the same thing. They want to be themselves but are afraid of what might happen as well as what their friends will think of them. Throughout the book, the five friends find a sense of community and acceptance. They know and understand they are all different and they don’t let it get in the way. I think this book is more hopeful instead of a warning for humanity because these five pre-teens realize that differences should be celebrated and just because someone is a bit different they shouldn’t be shut out. They find out how important a sense of community can be and they come together to support each other. I personally would never want to live in this society because I don’t think it is humane to ‘build’ a child for what you want and to be able to decrease or increase a personality trait. In the story, Julia’s parents this she is too competitive and Mori’s parents think she is too brave, so instead of being proud of how their daughters are and playing into their traits, they instead surgically ‘dampened’ them to make the trait less present. I overall really enjoyed this book, even if I didn’t fully agree with the values and morals of the utopian, I loved the message the story told. Being different should be celebrated and friendship is SO important. The kids could easily have left Ilana to fend for herself but they didn’t. They left everything to help her and worked together to make it happen.

  24. 4 out of 5

    TheCosyDragon

    This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule. Old Harmonie is a utopian community where almost all diseases have been cured, and children at the age of 13 are granted access to their special talent. But is everything as good as the children have been taught? I didn’t always understand Mori’s motivations. I actually wondered at the beginning if her own parents or Ilana had somehow coerced her This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule. Old Harmonie is a utopian community where almost all diseases have been cured, and children at the age of 13 are granted access to their special talent. But is everything as good as the children have been taught? I didn’t always understand Mori’s motivations. I actually wondered at the beginning if her own parents or Ilana had somehow coerced her into taking Ilana into her secret place. Or can it be excused by the power of ‘beautiful people’ to get what they want? I find it so funny how Mori can think that Ilana must be a ‘natural’ because she looks perfect. Dude! Everyone knows that natural genetics for humans doesn’t always turn out well. If someone is a ‘natural’, it’s likely that they don’t look perfect – they will resemble their parents more than Ilana does hers. Also, she should also totally blame her parents for her eyeball problems. Looking for a YA version of this novel? Read Breaking and Burning by Danielle Rollings. Or perhaps Because you’ll never meet me. Playing around with genetics is so dangerous. We don’t even always get it right with mice – and it’s scary to think that scientists in poorly regulated countries such as China are already performing human cloning and no doubt some serious genetic engineering. It’s the ethics that always makes things complicated. How far is too far? This novel has real potential for introducing younger readers to important genetic concepts. I’d set it at maybe age 10 up, just because the ideas behind changing people’s very genetic makeup is a hard one to grasp. They may also struggle with the idea that adults don’t always tell the truth, and that adults don’t always know everything. Being able to read the words and being able to understand the concepts are two different things. Oh dear. This novel has made me want to read Sapient or The Ego Cluster again (PS: I did just reread Sapient – so good!). If only I had a printed copy of The Ego Cluster! I’ve just gotten a fancy copy of my PhD bound, so maybe I could do the same for it… Better ask the author (and see if he has written any more fantastic novels yet). I’m giving this 4 stars. It gets off to a really slow start, but certainly ‘heats up’ towards the end. And it has a sequel coming. Sigh. Why always with sequels? At least it mostly concluded properly.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Carew

    The Firefly Code was the first sci-fi book I have read in a while. It was a unique story and I have never read something like it before. The scientific advances displayed in this book was at age 13 teenagers have the ability to choose their latency. Along with this they have the ability to genetically change themselves, but only to an extent. Once they reach a certain percentage they have to stop. The characters decisions and actions are affected by the scientific advances because they are all a The Firefly Code was the first sci-fi book I have read in a while. It was a unique story and I have never read something like it before. The scientific advances displayed in this book was at age 13 teenagers have the ability to choose their latency. Along with this they have the ability to genetically change themselves, but only to an extent. Once they reach a certain percentage they have to stop. The characters decisions and actions are affected by the scientific advances because they are all about to start or are starting their latency, so they must find out what they want. When a new girl Ilana moves into Old Harmonie, the group is all curious to who she is. While I was reading, I think there were similarities and differences in our current society. The one similarity I could relate to is finding your place, and trying to fit in. Mori is curious about Ilana but, doesn’t want to leave her old pals behind. Finding that balance along with learning more about who you are is challenging. Teens all struggle with this so I this book is relatable for all teens at some point in their life. The differences discussed in the book, were teens going in at 13 for the latency and learning about their coding. I think this book is a warning because some point down the road we could have the technology to genetically change, and modify, even possibly clone ourselves. Personally, that freaks me out because genetically changing who we are to be better, is unnatural. Especially making that decision at 13, I think that is too young. There are some good that comes from this but, it can also be a warning for people to realize that this might be our future. There is good to change to prevent the bad. I personally would not like to live in this society. While I was reading it felt like the town was on lock down, unaware of their outside towns, and lifestyles. This kind of lifestyle is all the kids knew and when Ilana came in, the kids started to get a glimpse of a different lifestyle. I wouldn’t like to not know what happens outside of my hometown. For example, Ilana’s parents went to a different town to buy fruit, they all thought that was strange and unheard of. Overall, I would give this book 3.5/5 stars. This book is an appropriate level for higher elementary readers and middle school ages. I would not recommend younger kids read the book because it could be challenging language and a confusing topic overall for them to understand.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    Mori and her friends are all gearing up for turning 13 and choosing their latency. They're typical kids of Old Harmonie, where most kids are genetically designed or at least tweaked, scientific advances have helped create a utopia, and their latencies will help make them even better contributors to the society when they become adults. When a new girl the same age moves into the Firefly cul-de-sac, she upsets the friendship balance a little bit. Mori has to figure out how to balance her friendshi Mori and her friends are all gearing up for turning 13 and choosing their latency. They're typical kids of Old Harmonie, where most kids are genetically designed or at least tweaked, scientific advances have helped create a utopia, and their latencies will help make them even better contributors to the society when they become adults. When a new girl the same age moves into the Firefly cul-de-sac, she upsets the friendship balance a little bit. Mori has to figure out how to balance her friendship with Julia who she's known her whole life but is very different, and the new Ilana who appreciates going into the woods and working with plants like Julia never has. Ilana also awakes some mysteries for the Firefly kids who have grown up together. Where did she come from, and why does she seem a little bit odd? Why does she encourage them to go into the abandoned number 9 house of one of the founders, Dr. Varden (who for some reason left Old Harmonie but forbid anyone disturbing her house), and then later discourage it? I found Blakemore's The Water Castle just a mediocre read so I wasn't jumping to pick this up. Dystopias are still popular with the students at my school though, and middle grade dystopias are few so I thought I'd check this out. I enjoyed it a lot more than The Water Castle. It's a relatively light dystopia for middle graders. I easily figured out one of the main mysteries way before the main characters by picking up on clues that seemed obvious to me from my experience with scifi stories, but I'm not sure if middle grade readers with less exposure to scifi will catch on as easily. I doubt it. I actually recently had a student ask me specifically for more of this type of story (it's similar to Haddix's Under Their Skin in the big reveal (view spoiler)[they both involve "normal" kids who turn out to be androids (hide spoiler)] ) so I'm glad to have this for her and others who like this type of thing as well as the dystopia fans. I wish I already had book 2 because there's a huge cliffhanger and more mysteries I did not figure out yet that need to be solved. A good pick for kids who like scifi, clean dystopias (there's no violence), or mysteries. Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content. Nothing worse than some skinned knees and bruises violence-wise.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary Woods

    Growing up, I always tried to keep an open mind when picking up a new book. As I've grown older and transitioned into a more mature reader, I stick to the genres I know I like such as mystery and romance novels, however, I have never played around too much within the science-fiction category. After reading The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore, I found myself becoming more enthused and inspired to try out genres that I have not given much attention too. This book truly surprised me in the b Growing up, I always tried to keep an open mind when picking up a new book. As I've grown older and transitioned into a more mature reader, I stick to the genres I know I like such as mystery and romance novels, however, I have never played around too much within the science-fiction category. After reading The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore, I found myself becoming more enthused and inspired to try out genres that I have not given much attention too. This book truly surprised me in the best way! I found the book to be very relatable in the sense that Mori and her friends are struggling with being themselves and finding out who they are. They also want so badly to follow their dreams but the pressures to fit in and conform with their peers becomes too much of a challenge for them. This is something that many adolescents and even adults experience and struggle with which makes the book more realistic and relatable. I personally don't feel as though I could live within the perfect society that the book portrays. I feel as though it would be to much pressure to fit in and be perfect all the time. I've always felt that you need a little negativity in your life in order to appreciate the good things more. If everything was perfect all the time, I feel as if I would lose sight of what happiness really is. In The Firefly Code, everything is perfect in the sense that it's a safe, equal, and welcoming environment. Along with that, I think there is some truth within the book. Many people still believe that we live in a perfect society where we can do, say, and act how we please. Unfortunately, with our growing society, this is not always the case. Nowadays we either believe everything is perfect, we try to be perfect in our own way, or we feel negative about all aspects of life. I've realized that the book touches on only one of our realities truths. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will recommend it to future students. I see a lot of great life lessons within the book and a lot of room for personal reflection and interpretation. I really enjoyed exploring a genre that I have not experienced a lot of.

  28. 5 out of 5

    LOGHAN

    I overall enjoyed the story, even if it was targeted towards a younger audience. I was interested in the world itself and thought that the story was at a pretty decent pace compared to other books of its kind. The characters did kinda blend together, and I thought the breif ´romance´ bettween theo and our main character was kind forced, but thats pretty normal in books of today. The twist isnt That surprising, but it was a interesting thing to learn about. I thought the characters were pretty real I overall enjoyed the story, even if it was targeted towards a younger audience. I was interested in the world itself and thought that the story was at a pretty decent pace compared to other books of its kind. The characters did kinda blend together, and I thought the breif ´romance´ bettween theo and our main character was kind forced, but thats pretty normal in books of today. The twist isnt That surprising, but it was a interesting thing to learn about. I thought the characters were pretty realistic, acting more like real kids than some other books ive read *cough* maze runner *cough*. They reacted similiarly to how kids would act in those situations, and the relationshis werent all ¨ Im the perfect best friend that trust everything the main character says, hes the love interest that has no flaws and loves the protagonist no matter what, and shes the unique quirky weird girl that just joined.¨ I actually thought the characters did fall into those sections, but also differed. the ¨perfect bestfriend¨ isnt perfect and actually goes against the main character sometimes. Even though their relationship isnt the most healthy, it kinda realistic. The ´Love interest´ isnt really a love interest, and he actually has flaws and doesnt fully trust the protagonist with everything. The ´unique quirky new girl´ is unique, but she also has views that make since and brig light to the story. shes not just thrown in and suddenly the characters eyes open, she shows proof and grows over time. Our protagonist does have flaws, and she does see the issues in the society. she doesnt just suddenly get different views when Ilana joins, she already was kinda skeptical of the society but didnt really build off of it. she also has real issues with finding where she belongs and what she should do when she grows up. She grows and learns, and she has flaws. Overall, I personnaly love this story and think the idea of it and teh characters are interesting. sometimes the characters blend together (the boys, specifically), but that happens in alot of books. The story is intriging and is at a ace to keep you interested without rushing you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kendall Moede

    For the science fiction book choice, I chose to ready The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore. The society they lived in was called, Old Harmony and it was a perfect utopia. When the kids turned thirteen in this community, they would be told truths of their genetic codes… Were they born cloned, natural or modified? It was a scary truth that could possibly change how you saw life moving forward. The characters also got told if they had a “latency” or physical ability they weren’t aware of. I l For the science fiction book choice, I chose to ready The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore. The society they lived in was called, Old Harmony and it was a perfect utopia. When the kids turned thirteen in this community, they would be told truths of their genetic codes… Were they born cloned, natural or modified? It was a scary truth that could possibly change how you saw life moving forward. The characters also got told if they had a “latency” or physical ability they weren’t aware of. I liked reading the story of this utopia, because it let characters like Mori and Benji decide who they want to be and what they want their future to look like. In today’s realistic society, kids at thirteen are just discovering their friend group and what interests them. At least for me, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and I didn’t think much of the future. I had to work hard to be good at sports and even harder to get good grades. It wasn’t up to a test or a huge birthday party that will change everything. This novel really showed that it is up to you to take control of your own life or just fly by the seat of your pants, whether you are thirteen or thirty. I think this novel is perfect for 5th-8th graders to read. It showed qualities of friendships that you should look for in our own friends. It also shows individualism and coloring outside of the lines. At this time in kids’ lives, they want to fit in and they want to do what everyone around them is doing. Imperfection is shown when a new girl, named Ilana, moves in. She seems so perfect and content, until later in the story they find out that she is a robot. This part really got me to thinking about how you can only truly see one side to every story until you ask questions. Ilana seemed perfect on the outside, until they figured out the truth to her. Just like in real life, you can’t judge a book by a cover… or a girl by her lack of humanity.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    This was a great read! YA dystopian has been done and done and done... but yet Blakemore manages to bring us something fresh in YA dystopian! I thought I was very done with dystopian, but then I got sucked into The Firefly Code and couldn't get out. (And didn't want to.) So, in Blakemore's dystopian world, teens receive a surgery at age 13 that heightens some of their character and mental attributes, and dampens others. It's kind of supposed to be the teen's choice, and will help their future ca This was a great read! YA dystopian has been done and done and done... but yet Blakemore manages to bring us something fresh in YA dystopian! I thought I was very done with dystopian, but then I got sucked into The Firefly Code and couldn't get out. (And didn't want to.) So, in Blakemore's dystopian world, teens receive a surgery at age 13 that heightens some of their character and mental attributes, and dampens others. It's kind of supposed to be the teen's choice, and will help their future career options. However, you find out that it's actually really heavily influenced by parents. And the results aren't always 100%. One girl is looking more deeply into this, and also looking into how life used to be, before the surgery was developed. Before her community became so isolationist. Many questions are answered, and many are left hanging. Oh, and there's great friendship moments in this book. I LOVED how sweet the friendships are among the characters! You could even give this one to a younger teen, as it's "clean" of behind-bedroom-doors romance. There are many awesome surprises in the plot of this novel, and I don't want to give them away here. You'll just have to trust me and go read it. Now, a word of warning: the ending is a cliffhanger! Like, total Cliffs-of-Dover hangover!! The good news is that the sequel comes out in September.... the bad news is that I read The Firefly Code in April. :/ So. Hard. To. Be. Patient. And I listened to the audiobook of this book. It was good! Nothing overly remarkable, but that's ok. The story itself was able to really shine through when I didn't have to think about the recording. That's nice. I'd say this one is a-ok to listen to if you'd like. Two thumbs up- I recommend! :)

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