Matt has always been nothing but a clone - an exact replica, grown from a strip of old El Patron's skin. Now, age fourteen, Matt suddenly finds himself thrust into the position of ruling over his own country, Opium, on the one-time border between the US and Mexico, stretching from the ruins of San Diego to the ruins of Matamoros. But while Opium thrives, the rest of the world has been devastated by ecological disaster...and hidden somewhere in Opium is the cure. And that isn't all that's hidden within the depths of Opium. Matt is haunted by the ubiquitous army of eejits, zombie-like workers harnessed to the old El Patron's sinister system of drug growing...people stripped of the very qualities which once made them human. Matt wants to use his newfound power to help stop the suffering, but he can't even find a way to smuggle his childhood love Maria across the border and into Opium. Instead, his every move hits a roadblock - both from the traitors that surround him and from a voice within himself. For who is Matt really but the clone of an evil, murderous dictator?
*****Basically, I want to read this because I really liked The House of the Scorpion, to which this is the sequel. I like Nancy Farmer; she writes some really fun and thought-provoking science fiction for young people, which of course translates to really fun and thought-provoking sf for anybody.
She was ahead of the curve on the whole dystopia-for-teens thing which is so big now in the wake of The Hunger Games; the first book she wrote in this setting came out ten years ago, and her book The Eye, the Ear and the Arm (about a post-apocalyptic Africa) was a Newbery honor book in 1995.