Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The House of the Scorpion

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Gripping, gritty sci-fi tale of a clone's identity struggle.

The House of the Scorpion Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Intriguing World Building

My first glance through The House of the Scorpion had me wary of the contents, but when I settled in I was quite surprised by the content. I think that this book had an interesting way of introducing young adults to deeper political considerations. I marked this 14 and up because the violence and cruelty could be upsetting to a younger audience. For readers coming from a non-religious or non-Catholic environment, I would alert them in advance not to be dissuaded by the abundance of seemingly Catholic references because this appears to be used more to present Mexican culture. (Noting this as I am recommending this to my son, and we are Orthodox Jews.)
age 12+


I think this book is as boring as boring books get. What possessed someone to put out such a drab lifeless "tale" beats me. what i do know is the the "exciting" "thought provoking" moments happen far from each other and in between you are left with garbage you dont care about in between each scene

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (14 ):

This is a gripping, gritty science fiction coming-of-age story that won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and was named both a Newbery and Printz Honor Book. Matteo's struggle to build an identity for himself beyond that of a detested clone is both harrowing and poignant. Narrated across the protagonist's childhood, the plot maintains a high level of suspense without straining credulity. Author Nancy Farmer creates a rich cast of well-rounded characters, where even the most despicable figures reveal their vulnerable, human sides.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate