Philosophical about life and death in a light, approachable way, this book is a mature debut from a 21-year-old novelist. Mark Haddon's "Curious Incident..." meets Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go". This 13-year-old narrator's best friend is resurrected through cloning technology. This is an adult fiction, with strong crossover appeal for teenagers and publicity campaigns on both fronts. "You see, I'd never really believe he was dead..." Phil still calls for his best friend every day on his way to school, despite Mark's recent death after a long illness. Then one morning, Mark is back, cloned by Laz-R-Us, much to his parents' relief and little sister Lauren's disappointment: "That's not my brother. He's too nice". Phil realises too that Mark isn't the best friend he knew, but it's up to him to teach this new version of Mark the basics of school life: how not to backchat playground bully Chaz Spencer, how not to wear a school tie, and how not to take advice from Kirsty the annoyingly perceptive class do-gooder. And, before long, Mark is his best friend again hanging out behind the art block, playing on his GameBoy, advising him on how to ask out Sadie Goodman.
But, these ordinary days are interrupted by a dramatic event that turns Mark's naivety into something else entirely. Just when Mark II Mark-the-clone seems settled as a thorough replacement of the original Mark, we realise that no one's heard the last of that original Mark, or the secret circumstances behind his death...Told with teenage energy by two friends, this is a witty, insightful novel that takes the deftest of approaches to mortality and grief.show more