The Declaration
The Declaration is a novel written by Gemma Malley about a girl, Anna, who lives in a Surplus Hall. It is set in the future where a drug, Longevity, allows people to live forever but people are not allowed to have children unless they ‘Opt Out’. Anna is one of the more unfortunate babies who was born illegally and sent to Surplus Halls to be trained as a slave. She is led to believe that she is a burden on society but when a boy called Peter arrives and offers her another life she begins to to change her beliefs. There are many intriguing characters in the book each with their own life story, that keep it fresh and exciting. The main character around which the story revolves around is Anna. Anna was an illegal offspring who was sent to a Surplus Hall at a very early age. Ever since then, she has been led to believe that she shouldn't exist. She always pushes herself to do the hardest jobs which shows that she is extremely hard-working. She is also heavily committed to the rules, “Surpluses weren't supposed to spend time whispering to each other anyway. They were supposed to take orders, to listen to Legals.” She feels very proud that she is a prefect which makes her think that she is better or more obedient than others. But Anna is secretive too even though she is so obedient, Anna carefully closed her journal and secreted it back on to the ledge behind the bath. She is stubborn as well because she doesn’t want to change her beliefs about Surpluses and how she should behave. After she escapes from Grange Hall she changes many of these beliefs and her personality. Anna feels more rebellious and also a bit broken because everything she tried to be for Mrs. Pincent was fake. She feels less worthless because she knows that some people in the world still care for her. At the same time, she feels useless as all she did was to manage to lose her diary and since life outside Grange Hall is completely different to what she is used to. As a result she feels dependent on Peter, who is another important character in this story. Peter is a boy who arrives at Grange Hall a little later in the story and tries to convince Anna that there is a better life on the Outside. Peter is very defiant and rebellious because he always stands up to Mrs. Pincent and protests against that which Mrs. Pincent thinks defines Surpluses. A piece of evidence from the book is, “...Peter was put in Solitary because he told Mr. Sargent that it was old people that were Surplus, not us.” Peter is also courageous because he is always breaking the rules and isn't afraid of Mrs. Pincent. He is quite caring and protective, “Who did that to you?”, Peter asked angrily. “Tell me who did it.” Anna shrugged. “No one. I mean, it doesn’t matter.”

“It matters to me.” That shows that Peter cares quite a lot about Anna and would put his life on line just to protect her. Mrs. Pincent is the antagonist of this novel. Mrs. Pincent is the person responsible for the well-being of Surpluses as well as the person in charge of running Grange Hall. She is quite strict as she disciplines anyone who breaks the rules and does not tolerate anything that is out of place. She likes being in charge of everything and can be very harsh or cruel, “Hit her,” ordered Mrs. Pincent... “And beaten,” Mrs. Pincent continued, walking towards Anna, her face impenetrable. This shows how she expresses her anger towards Surpluses. Later on in the story we find out that she used to be actually quite nice and she wanted to have a child of her own so she could please her father. Everything was going to plan until she received news that her baby was Surplus, not Legal anymore. She made her husband take it away to be buried instead of it being sent off to a Surplus Hall. We now know why she is so harsh because she thinks that Surpluses don’t have the right to live because hers was denied that right. She can also be quite manipulative as she had used Stephen (her husband) just to have a child of her own. She didn’t actually have a soft spot for Stephen, she was using him as a pawn in order to achieve her objective. The Declaration is a thoroughly enjoyable book with many twists and turns along the way for example, when Peter finds out that Mrs. Pincent is his mother, as well as many compelling characters such as Anna who has drastic changes made to her personality which all add up to a delightful tour de force.

By Zinzan Gurney 7A