Title: Replica by Lauren Oliver
Genres: YA, Science Fiction
Published by: HarperCollins (Oct. 4, 2016)
From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But 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. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose 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 human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
What I Thought
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.
First of all, you can read this book several different ways. You can read Lyra’s side and then Gemma’s, you can read Gemma’s side and then Lyra’s, or you can read their stories in alternating chapters. I started with Gemma’s story, and then I flipped and read Lyra’s afterwards. I, personally, am really glad I read the book the way I did. For the sequel I may read it in alternating chapters though! I love how creative this style made the story. Depending on which way you read it, I think it really affects the way you, as the reader, perceive the story; it’s a different experience for each person depending on the way you decide to read it. There’s so much going on in each individual story, each side has its own secrets and discoveries, and yet they tie together so seamlessly.
The characters in this novel, just like all of Lauren Oliver’s novels, were so good! I feel like already so much character growth occurs in this novel and it’s only book 1. I love how fierce Lyra is! So far, I think Gemma is my favorite character, though (that’s not to say I don’t love Lyra, or Pete, or anyone else though. Like I said, all the characters were so good). She just felt very relatable. Also, I love that despite her character being overweight, her whole story did not revolve around that! I recently saw on Twitter a discussion talking about how so many books that feature a heavy protagonist make their weight the entire focal point of the story. That really had me thinking about how true that actually is. Then, I read Replica, and it actually featured a story where her weight wasn’t the main focus! It felt very refreshing.
I found myself really like the romance forming between Gemma and Pete. I admit, while it wasn’t insta-love, it did feel like it happened a little fast. Despite that though, they really had good chemistry. Also, I love how Pete wasn’t the typical “cool guy.” I look forward to seeing their relationship grow in book 2!
There is so much action and mystery in this book as well. I never wanted to stop reading. Replica is one of those books where you plan on just reading a few pages, and then before you know it you’ve read over 100. I’d classify this book as science fiction, but it reads much more like a contemporary, and I loved that mixture!
Overall, this book was incredible. I would highly recommend it to anyone look for a great, unique story. It was such an adventurous, action-packed read, and I cannot wait for the sequel!
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