Series: Replica #1
Written by: Lauren Oliver
Published: October 4, 2016 by HarperCollins
Synopsis: Two girls, two stories, one epic novel
From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica is a “flip book" that contains two narratives in one, and it is the first in a duology. Turn the book one way and read Lyra's story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma's story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey. Even the innovative book jacket mirrors and extends the reading experience.
Lyra's story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family's past and discovers her father's mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.
While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.
I have been putting off reading this book for a very long time and I don’t entirely know why because it is definitely an interesting and engaging read. Lauren Oliver’s books tend to be hit or miss for me and this one was a hit.
One of the things I liked most about this book was the concept. And I mean that in multiple ways. For one things, this is a very uniquely written book. Multiple perspectives in YA books is nothing new, but it’s not very often that you read one person’s story and then the other. And that’s how this book was set up. I’ve heard you can read it one of two ways. You can read one perspective then the other, or you can alternate. I experienced it the first way because I listened to the audiobook and that’s how they had it. But honestly I think that’s what I would recommend. You are able to connect with one person, then they interact and you are able to seamlessly switch. And the audiobook was really good and helped the whole thing work together.
But the other cool thing about the concept here was the world that Oliver has created. I don’t want to give too much away because I enjoyed not knowing much about it before going into the book. What I will say is it was like a near-future, science fiction, dystopian kind of vibe. Oliver did a great job with unfolding things in a slow and steady way so that it pulled you into the book and into the world. Even with switching perspectives there was still a lot to learn and explore which I liked.
As far as the characters, multiple perspectives is hard for me sometimes because I typically connect with the one I meet first and then am not very interested in the next person. But here because you got more time in the head of each person it worked. Lyra was definitely a good character. She’s curious and inquisitive which works well with her storyline. She definitely doesn’t have an easy life which always makes it easy to root for her. Gemma too was easy to root for. She’s more relatable and kind of feels like the audience stand-in at first. But she’s also really complex. Both characters have amazing development and there are really cool surprises when it comes to their characters which I am curious to explore in the second book in the series.
The only thing I didn’t totally love about this book was the plot development. If you take each perspective as their own story I think the plot was fine. It was interesting and kept me wondering from beginning to end with surprises and some thrills along the way. But as a cohesive story it wasn’t perfect. There was some overlap and storylines that felt like they weren’t connected to the larger story. I liked the way it unfolded and I definitely think it was interesting but it could have been tighter for me as a plot driven reader.
This was definitely an cool and unique story. The concept is very interesting, the world is engaging, the characters are likable, and the plot is full of surprises if a little muddled.
I give Replica by Lauren Oliver 8.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read Replica? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!