Do you need a new book?
When is the answer to that question ever “no”?
I picked up Replica when it came out, because it’s Lauren Oliver, and she’s one of the writers for whom I will read anything she writes. Yet due to my giant TBR and my habit of continuing to purchase books regardless of the fact that I own piles I have not yet read, I hadn’t gotten to it yet. I think I also just wanted to save it, because I expected it to be good. So save it I did, until I got my wisdom teeth out and needed something to read while recovering.
And it did not disappoint!
The summary from Goodreads:
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 learns terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
So it’s a little gimmicky–it’s two books in one, each starting from a different half of the book–of two girls whose stories converge halfway through. I read it in alternating chapters, and I recommend you read it that way, too, that way you’re getting the whole story as it progresses rather than reading half the story the whole way through to the end then starting the other half of the story from the beginning. So the author easily could have done alternating POV chapters, and I wouldn’t have had to use two bookmarks. But to each her own; that shouldn’t put you off this amazing story.
The Tension The reason this was perfect for wisdom-tooth-recovery was that it was just unputdownable. Both stories. You’re flying through it to find out what’s going, then you’re flying through the action sequences, then the twists, just so you can find out what’s going to happen. I could not read it fast enough (but then, was sad when it was over.)
The Moral Questions I suppose I really enjoy books that deal with medical ethics, despite that not being my favorite class in college. The question of cloning, and then slowly realizing what they’re there for–can someone who’s read it call me up so we can discuss, please?
The Twists I predicted some stuff (no spoilers) but there was other stuff I definitely did not see coming, and I’ve read so many books I consider myself difficult to surprise by now. But surprised I was.
The Writing Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer and I just want to be her when I grow up.
The Less Good:
The Repetitiveness There were some scenes that were told from both girls’ perspectives, and they were a little repetitive, but that’s to be expected I suppose.
The Sexual Tension It wasn’t really there for me with either of the love interests. It’s rare for me to love a book and not love the sexual tension, as I adore sexual tension, but for me the draw here was the action and the girls themselves, not the boys.
… and really, that’s it! I flew through this book in less than two days. There’s a sequel coming out this fall and I’ve already pre-ordered it. I can’t wait!
Have you read this? Let’s discuss!