Cover image for Taylor Five
Taylor Five
Halam, Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
197 pages ; 22 cm
Fourteen-year-old Taylor is still dealing with the fact that she is a clone produced by the same company that funds the Orangutan Reserve which is her home on the island of Borneo, when the Reserve is attacked and she flees with her younger brother and Uncle, the Reserve's mascot.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.2 8.0 77491.

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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A gripping, deeply moving adventure raises startling questions about what it means to be human. Taylor Walker seems like any ordinary 14-year-old. Ordinary--if you overlook the fact that she lives on the island of Borneo, on a primate reserve run by her parents, and knows how to survive in the jungle. Obviously, Tay isn't just like everyone else. But she is like one other person. She's exactly like one other person. Tay is a clone, one of only five in the world, and her clone mother is Pam Taylor, a brilliant scientist. When rebels attack the reserve, Tay escapes with her younger brother and Uncle, an exceptionally intelligent orangutan. As they flee through the jungle, Tay must look within to find her strength: Pam's DNA, tempered by Taylor's extraordinary life. And she looks to Uncle for guidance--for Tay knows that the uncanny bond between Uncle and herself is the key to their survival. From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8-10. Taylor, a 14-year-old living on the island of Borneo with her scientist parents, was a special sort of test-tube baby. Special, indeed. She's one of the first successful human clones, a fact that fills her with resentment. Her angst quickly recedes into the background, though, when rebels attack her family's compound, and she must flee through the jungle with her wounded younger brother and a partly tame orangutan. Her battle for survival is gripping, but as in Halam's Dr. Franklin's Island (2002), the ordeal is just part of the story. Once rescued, Taylor faces a welter of new challenges: numbing grief, an awkward relationship with her guardian (her genetic mother ), and uncertainty about the fate of her faithful ape companion. The teen-as-biotech-experiment premise will remind many readers of Peter Dickinson's Eva (1988) , although this novel isn't as cohesive. Though the harrowing losses Taylor suffers may prove too much for some readers, the taut suspense and Taylor's gritty intensity will compel many YAs, especially those who gravitate to dense, philosophically minded sf. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This mostly taut but ultimately disappointing sci-fi thriller opens with a complex, riveting set-up. Taylor Walker, 14, lives with her parents, wardens of an orangutan refuge in Kandah State, an independent nation "squashed" between Malaysia and Indonesia. A year and a half ago, Taylor learned that she is actually a clone-as are four other children born at the same time, to parents who worked for the same company as the Walkers. As the novel opens, news of the company's success in cloning has been announced to the media, although Taylor's identity has been kept secret. Taylor's genetic "mother" is someone she's known for years, a famous scientist. Before Taylor can come to grips with this development, regional fighting intrudes upon the refuge and the story takes a very dark turn. Soon Tay is on the run with only the super-intelligent orangutan Uncle for company, and-anguished about the fates of those in the refuge, as well as hungry, exhausted and desperate to reach safety-she begins to speculate about the source of his mysterious intellect. As in her Dr. Franklin's Island, Halam (a pseudonym for Gwyneth Jones) conjures the atmosphere so tensely that readers will be white-knuckled. Unfortunately, she also leads the audience down one too many garden paths, planting suspicions which she then uproots much too easily. Readers may wish for a more focused approach to the many provocative issues and premises here. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-This fast-moving novel explores timely questions from the point of view of 14-year-old clone Taylor Walker. Tay is named after scientist Pam Taylor, her clone mother, someone she used to admire but from whom she has grown increasingly estranged since finding out the truth about her birth. She lives with her adoptive parents and their biological son, Donny, on the island of Borneo, where they operate a private reserve and study orangutans. After rebel forces attack the refuge, Tay and Donny escape with Uncle, an orangutan that she believes is superintelligent. While Uncle can't save Donny, who dies from a gunshot-wound-induced fever, he does lead Tay close enough to civilization so that Pam can rescue her. The two eventually reconcile as Tay, one of five now-teenaged clones, learns more about the discoveries made long ago by Pam and her parents, and the fact that these breakthroughs were able to finance the important conservation work that had occupied them in recent years. Scientific background and issues about the ethics of cloning are easily incorporated into an action-packed survival story.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



one Mum and Dad couldn't come to the airport to meet Donny, but that was okay: he would understand. Lucia Fernandez the graduate student came with Tay instead. They were in luck on Airport Road and got through the police checkpoints with no delay, which meant they had ages to wait before the plane from Singapore arrived. Lucia found someone to talk to. Tay walked around, looking at the familiar souvenir shops, sniffing the spicy-food scents from the cafeteria bar--a thin girl with golden-brown hair, wearing a blue cotton dress, a Yankees baseball cap and desert boots. She felt nervous. This was the first time she'd been in a public place since the story broke. No one was supposed to know who she was, but she almost expected a horde of journalists to leap out, waving cameras and microphones. Thankfully, no one paid any attention. Here in the sleepy quiet of a tiny tropical airport, no one knew or cared that Taylor Walker was one of the five teenagers whose existence had just been announced, who were the most astonishing people on the planet. Donny and Tay had lived in Kandah State, a small independent country on the north coast of the giant island of Borneo, since Donny was five and Tay was seven. Their parents were the wardens of an orangutan refuge, out in the wilds of one of the last great rain forests. Ben and Mary Walker both worked for an international company called Lifeforce, which financed the refuge. To some people it would have seemed a hard and lonely life for the two English children, but they loved it. The forest was such a fantastic place to live. It had been a cruel blow when their parents had decided Donny had to go to school in Singapore, but it was fine now. They just looked forward through each term to having a brilliant time together in the holidays. Would things be different this summer? Tay visited the cheap stalls, with the stacks of ugly imitation Dyak carvings that never seemed to get sold; and the instant tailoring shop, where the Chinese tailor women whizzed the cloth through their sewing machines at incredible speed. Donny won't be different, she kept telling herself. He won't care. But she had butterflies in her stomach. There was a sarong that she would really have liked to buy for Mum, in Mrs. Su's Genuine Dyak Crafts Centre. It was heavy and handwoven, with swirls and thorny curves in gold thread, on shades of dark red silk. Tay's mum hardly ever got a chance to wear anything but jungle kit, but she loved beautiful clothes. Mrs. Su, the Chinese lady who owned the shop, came over as Tay stroked the shimmering folds, with a smile that showed all the gold in her teeth. She took the sarong and deftly unfolded it. "Ve'y nice? Eh?" "It's lovely ," sighed Tay. "You old customer, young lady. I make you a special price. Not New York price, not airport price. Nah real price." Tay knew that even the "real price" of the best handwoven gold-thread work was way beyond her means. "I can't afford it, Mrs. Su. I've only got six hundred dollars left in my bank account, and I owe most of it to my dad." Six hundred Kandah dollars meant about fifty English pounds. "Ha," said Mrs. Su, and shook her head. "Okay, you tell your daddy, huh? Mrs. Su got the best silk work, special price. You here to meet your brother, home from school, eh?" Tay grinned. "Yes." Most of the foreigners who lived in Kandah were oilies, oil rig people, or chippies, which meant they worked for the logging companies; and they didn't stay long. The Walkers had been at the refuge for seven years. Mrs. Su knew Donny and Tay well. Whenever they came to the airport they came into her shop, to talk to her: and she gave them strange, hard Chinese candies. The old lady folded up the sarong. "Why you never go to school, Tay, you so grown up now? Don't want an education?" "I'm getting an education," said Tay. "I work at home, that's all." "Huh. A smart girl like you: ought to be in school. Got to learn to compete, make your way, be tough. Some things you can't learn from books." That will never be me, thought Tay. I will never be like other girls, going to school, hanging out, being normal. I'll always be different, always hoping people don't find out the truth-- "What wrong?" said the old lady, peering at Tay. Mrs. Su didn't miss much. "You don't take offense at old Mrs. Su? You got a pain?" "No, Mrs. Su," said Tay. "I'm just worried about something." Mrs. Su sighed and nodded as she put the sarong back on the display shelf. "Ah, understand. Your mother and father worried, everyone worried, even children now. Hard times for me too. No one buying. Hard times for everyone." Tay went out of the shop, but not before Mrs. Su had insisted she take a handful of brightly wrapped sweets from the jar by the cash register. The afternoon plane from Singapore had arrived, and the passengers were streaming into the arrivals hall. For a moment Tay felt a weird jolt of fear. Something had gone wrong, because she couldn't see Donny. . . . But no, she was being stupid. There he was, talking to some people he must have met on the plane. He saw her, and his whole face lit up. "Hey! There's my sister!" He came bouncing out of the crowd and leapt up to her, grinning from ear to ear, a twelve-year-old boy with blue eyes and black hair and the personality of a crazy puppy. They hugged and backed off so that they could look at each other. "I'm taller than you!" he crowed. "I knew I'd be taller than you, these holidays." "Nearly," said Tay, measuring, and finding her nose still about half a centimeter higher. "Nearly as tall, and twice as daft." They gripped hands, did the special Tay and Donny twist of their locked fists, broke the grip and knocked knuckles. It was a ritual they had invented years ago, which always had to be used at important moments. Excerpted from Taylor Five by Ann Halam All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.