Replica (Replica #1)
by Lauren Oliver
What is it about:
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.
What did I think of it:
I love Oliver's Delirium trilogy, and very much enjoyed some of her other books, so when I saw this book in my local bookstore I had to give it a try.
And this is a really cool read.
There's two stories that run parallel to each other: Lyra's story and Gemma's story. I decided to start with a couple of chapters from Gemma's story and then to switch to Lyra's story. This is how I read the whole book: switching between both stories every few chapters.
I will confess that although Lyra's story has the more interesting world building in the earlier chapters, and she's been through a lot more than Gemma has, I connected more with Gemma. Lyra grew on me, but it was Gemma who I could understand. Lyra is raised in such terrible circumstances you can totally understand why she wants to escape. Gemma's personality and her insecurities made that I was both surprised and impressed when she goes off to investigate.
Both stories are full of action and suspense, and even when the girls meet both stories tell a different part about the developing events. I really liked how Oliver set these stories up and made them work.
The ending was bittersweet and even though I'd be happy if this was all I would get, I was happily surprised to see there's going to be a second book. I will most certainly get my trotters on it.
Why should you read it:
It's a really cool YA read.