About This Book:
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..
**Review Contributed by Melissa Robles, Staff Reviewer**
Two Different Stories, One Exciting Ride!
Replica by Lauren Oliver is an exciting YA Sci-Fi set in the present-day about human cloning that offers readers an unusual experience—the option to read Lyra’s and Gemma’s stories individually, or side-by-side in alternating chapters.
What I Liked:
After weighing my options, I decided to read Replica in alternating chapters, starting with Lyra and then changing to Gemma’s POV because I didn’t want to ruin any of the surprises if I read them separately. I stand by my choice, yet I do love that Replica ultimately gives the reader the option to read however you want to experience this book, so if you want to skip a POV if it’s not to your liking, you can do so without missing out much on the storyline.
Replica has an amazing cast of characters, starting with Lyra and Gemma. It’s hard to say which main character I loved more because in all honesty, both are superb in their own ways. They are strong, independent, and unique, regardless who or “what” they are. We also get three great male characters—Jake, 72, and Peter—who are brave and supportive to our main characters’ cause and the romance that blooms between two of them with Lyra and Gemma induce quite a lot of swoons!
One of my favorite aspects of Replica is how it approaches the subject of how far humanity has come or is willing to go with modern science. Scientific discoveries are amazing when they help cure illnesses, but it doesn’t excuse people to treat beings inhumanly for their own purposes (like gaining power). Lyra and Gemma’s lives are intertwined with a research facility that clones children, Lyra having grown up and “made” in it, and Gemma by being the daughter of someone responsible for its existence. The clones are awfully treated as objects without feelings by the nurses and doctors running the facility, which really makes you consider who is actually inhuman here.
Replica also does a fine job in demonstrating the differences between inner struggle over outer appearance. For example, when in Lyra’s head, Gemma is perceived as a confident girl who clearly knows what she’s doing while Lyra is extremely confuse. Meanwhile, in Gemma’s POV that illusion fades and it’s apparent how Gemma is actually nervous/scared and only acting on instinct praying that something will work, while thinking that Lyra is distant and ready to snap at any moment. Perspective is everything!
What Didn’t Do It For Me:
The only thing I felt off was that Lyra’s story is a chapter short, but maybe that’s the ARC’s fault. Since I read the story side-by-side, I expected the same number of chapters from both sides and not feel unbalanced at the end like I did. Lyra’s POV wraps up nicely in this installment, but Gemma gets a bit more, so naturally, I wanted that for Lyra too.
It’s not every day when you come across a book that gives you a choice in regard to your reading experience, and Replica does it exceptionally! Lyra and Gemma’s stories will have you at the edge of your seats the entire ride, even if you read them separately or side-by-side. Highly recommend!