Replica - Lauren Oliver

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...


This ARC came to me in quite the fancy packaging! Not that this matters really, but it was kinda cool and shiny and everything! I like shiny things... This is also the second ARC I received at ALA that had a butterfly on the cover (the other be Diabolica which you will see reviewed here later in October). Fun times!

This is definitely a different way of going about the dual perspective narrative. I'm still unsure if it was more useful or similar to an alternating perspective approach, though. That being said, I understand why this was the chosen way of writing the stories of the two girls and acknowledging how differently two people can experience the same basic events and interactions. It works!

Oliver's writing is urgent, compelling, and so well-paced. I was enthralled from the start. I'll admit that there was a lot I figured out early on (there are certain tropes one just cannot escape when writing within this genre), but I still wanted to keep going so I could check if I was on the right track! I started with Gemma's narrative, so there is a possibility I would not have noticed some of the clues had I started by reading Lyra's story.

The two girls are fully formed on their own, and perhaps that's the benefit of the separated narratives as opposed to the alternating narrative format, which sometimes ends up with two or more characters becoming muddled. The two protagonists in this dual narrative are quite separate in my mind, however. Lyra and Gemma have their own distinct quirks, voices, and personalities.

[I should note that there are a few moments of characterization that rely on weight and descriptions that could be seen by some as fat-shaming. I don't want to deny the existence of these moments, so I am making a note of them for those who may have more insight.]

Fans of sci-fi thrillers, Orphan Black, and stories with strong characters will definitely find a lot to love here. I Recommend this book to young adults with a hunger for adventure, thrills, and dark twists. Good times!!

(NOTE: This review is from and Advance Reading Copy - Out October 4, 2016)

Comments

  1. The description (and title) are making me think of THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. Are the two very, kinda, slightly, not at all similar??

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    Replies
    1. There is similarities for sure! I just didn't think of it right away. Good connection!

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