A youth being raised in a shack in the middle of a vast opium field learns he is the clone of El Patron, the hard-hearted ruler of the country called Opium, a sliver-sized dictatorship between a crumbling U.S. and a socialist Mexico. When he comes of age, and realizes what El Patron has kept him around for, he strikes out for adventure in Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion.
I was actually about halfway through this interesting sci-fi story when I realized it was written for the young adult market; hard to believe from the description I gave, but it really is appropriate for that age range, as well as adult readers.
I liked Farmer's writing style and appreciated that the plot veered away from European- or American-centric storytelling. Even though Nancy Farmer seems to write primarily for the young adult market, I will look for more of her writing.
I started listening to this one on audio book on loan from the Indiana University East library, but when I had to return it I quickly went to Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and checked out the text version to finish it up. A solid read.