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I am trying to recall a book that I read as a child -- late 80s, early 90s.

The main character (teen or pre-teen boy) sent away to a mail-order company, and got back a kit for creating a clone. Not sure, but either he had to send a DNA sample along with his order, or the kit required a DNA sample in order to use. The protagonist and the clone had an intermittent (I think) telepathic link between them. For most of the book, the main character's family didn't know about the clone; but in the end the parents of the main character decided to adopt the clone.

IIRC, the word clone was never actually used to describe the clone; probably because it was less in common usage then. Also, there was some kind of final confrontation at the school building, which the protagonist and the clone were able to resolve because of their telepathic link.

I seem to recall the names of the main character and the clone were Wulf and Steve -- not sure which was which.

  • I also remember a Young Adult clone story I read probably around 1993 in the US, probably published by Scholastic. I remember the clone reporting "funny feeling" and the main character and his best friend realized the clone had to use the bathroom for the first time. Does that ring a bell? It might not be a match, since I remember a lot of difficulty with the clone's communication skills while learning English, which might rule out telepathy. – Jetpack May 1 '18 at 16:43
  • @Jetpack IIRC the telepathy was discovered a little later, so it might be possible. Nothing else rings a bell, but that could be because I've forgotten. – Zev Spitz May 1 '18 at 16:54
4

Me Two by Mary C Ryan, published 1991.

After having this in the back of my mind for a month, I finally thought of a title, and I think this is the book you and I read.

It's about a 13-year-old boy named Wilf Farkus who orders OceanPups for a school science project (where OceanPups are probably a lot like Sea-Monkeys). The lab that sells OceanPups made a mistake, so Wilf inadvertently cloned himself. The clone went to school for Wilf and did very well. It seems that the geneticists at the lab found out about the accidental clone, and tried to do evil things to cover up. In the end, Wilf's parents decided to let the clone live with them, claiming he was Wilf's cousin Steve.

There was a Disney Channel movie adaptation called The Other Me in 2000. The Wikipedia page for that movie mentions a telepathic link, so I think it's likely the book had that, too.

2

I'm not 100% sure because I don't see anything about telepathy, but could this be "Mail-Order Clone" by Connie Willis?

According to LibraryThing, it was originally published in 1982.

The main character indeed orders a clone, and is required to send in some DNA. They don't adopt the clone from what I see, although he does live with them and goes to school and stuff.

“They can't make clones,” Marjean says, “not for twelve ninety-five.” “Sure they can. You send in a piece of your hair or a fingernail, something that's got cells in it. And they put it in a test tube and there you are. One genuine clone." I showed her the story that give me the idea in the first place, seens as how she is so crazy for them stories. “Mail-Order Family,” it was called, all about this poor orphan girl who didn't have no family till she got a clone and then how they was just like twins and they both married brothers and everything, but it didn't do no good.

(you can read an excerpt here)


Found by googling for "mail-order" "clone".

2

The Duplicate by William Sleator in 1988?

A boy named David finds a device that can duplicate organisms, and he uses it to duplicate himself.

I don't think it's as strong of a match as Me Two, but this could be helpful for future searchers.

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