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..
Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they’re right."
Before Replica I had never read a book by Lauren Oliver. After Replica, I feel sorry that I never did! The format of this book already made it stand apart from all the others, but it’s clear that she has a writing style unlike any other I’ve read. I can’t really explain it, but it made me feel fully immersed in the world she created.
Before I go further with my review, I feel like I should explain how people can read this book and how I read it. There are multiple ways you can read this book because it is told from two perspectives, with each side having half of the book. One half is Gemma’s and the other is Lyra. It explains the same story from each of their perspectives, allowing you to view every situation from both sides while also giving you experiences they have on their own. It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s really simple I promise!
You can either read from Gemma’s perspective first until her end, or Lyra’s first until her end. Or you can choose to alternate chapters. I choose to alternate chapters and I found that to be the most enjoyable, however what makes this special is that you have many options :)
The story follows both Gemma and Lyra trying to figure out the truth. Lyra is a girl who was born in a research facility which creates replicas, something like human clones. All the replicas including Lyra are isolated from the real world and treated only like subjects, and not the living, breathing beings that they are.
Gemma is a girl who always follows the rules. She practically grew up in hospitals, and her parents tend to be a bit overbearing, but she deals with it. It’s not until a weird experience causes her to look for answers.. which leads her to the research facility that Lyra is at.
There, they meet by chance and begin to unravel the truth about their lives- together.
Everything about this book was fast-paced and filled with questions that you just NEEDED to know the answers to. I read this over three of my busiest work days, using tons of excuses to even read a couple pages of the book. It was that addictive! On top of everything, this read felt completely new. The whole concept of it was original, but Lyra and Gemma were complex characters who felt read and constantly surprised the reader.
Overall, a great new addition to YA and something unlike most! I think most people will be able to relate to at least one of the girls, and definitely will not be able to start reading once they start!
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!
Haven makes Replicas and uses them for testing. This is evident from the beginning as we read from Lyra's POV. Gemma, however, knows nothing about Haven other then the fact that her dad used to work with them before he pulled out, so she goes on an adventure to discover everything she possibly can about the institute and their research. Along the way, she gets the help of three friends (two unlikely people she never saw herself talking to before) and they run head first into danger. Haven doesn't like it when people know their secrets.
Lyra is a Replica, a clone and she's proof of how well Replica's are treated at Haven and what Haven does; full of scars from testing, so skinny that her eyes look sunken in and her spine shows through her shirt, uneducated, unloved, manipulated. They're not allowed to know stuff, they're not allowed personal possession or things that matter to them. She is strange in a way that she knows nothing about the world or life (like how to cook, buy clothes and food, showers with hot water are luxurious for her, new clothes that aren't her Haven outfit are something she's never had), and I loved seeing her character try to come to terms with the world. She's damaged, because being a lab rat dose that to people especially if they're not shown love or affection during their growing years, and that made her journey so much more... meaningful? I can't find the right word right now. Anyway, she's damaged and genuinely believes anything they tell her, which really broke my heart.
"Monsters, they call us. Demons.
Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they're right." -4%
Gemma is very self conscious about her weight because she isn't a stick-thin barbie doll who is model gorgeous. She thinks she's fat when she's not because society has told her she needs to be tiny to be pretty. I don't know about you, but I like that the author added this, because while Gemma's character developed, so did those thoughts and that is a message girls these days should definitely hear (granted, the message isn't the main point of this book, it's more of a sub-plot for Gemma to accept herself). To add to that, Gemma has always felt like she doesn't belong, like she's different, so she's shy, insecure, a tad depressed, and she struggles to enjoy life especially since her mom loves popping sleeping pills and drinking wine while her dad loves to avoid her. This also makes her incredibly naive, especially since she doesn't leave the house much. I liked her character, and I really enjoyed reading her chapters!
"The evil ones are always ugly." -67%
I won't say much on this because of spoilers, but I will say that I surprisingly enjoyed it. Well, half. One half was fairly quick and emotions took place pretty quickly, which left out a large part of the "falling in love" process. The other half was everything I adored. Broken and beaten, beauty (love) is still found in the darkness. I absolutely loved that half. I would read this book over and over again just to get more of that romance until the next book comes out. Because hopefully the next book has more of that romance! Although I will admit, I didn't like the romance until the end.
This is my first Lauren Oliver book, and I've heard good and bad things about her writing before in her other series (delirium?). So naturally I was a bit scared going in, but I found I really enjoyed the writing. It had a good flow, the descriptions and characters were great, and the atmosphere and tone really set the pace for me. It was quick, but also slow enough that you could savor the moment if you wanted to, and the author put meaning behind many, many lines and words and sayings. I adored it!
I will admit, however, that while I was interested in learning about the medical portion of Haven, I found there were two or so paragraphs that threw all this information at me. Thankfully, it was clear and I could understand it all, but the process itself of how they use the medicine still confuses me.
Unfortunately, there's very little mystery because it's very predictable, and I saw most of the twists coming from the very beginning. This didn't take much away in terms of enjoyment because I loved reading this story, but I can't help but wonder if surprises I didn't see coming could've made this reading experience that much better. I definitely would've loved a bit of mystery, but then again that could've possibly changed the whole tone so I suppose I see why the author did what she did. Either way, this was an enjoyable read full of action and adventure. I love it!
Replica is a dangerous tale about discovering secrets from people doing everything they can to hide the truth, even kill. Self discovery is a bonus, even when it changed everything and nothing at all. Hearts break and hearts mend, and sometimes that's not enough or it's exactly what's needed. I really enjoyed reading Replica and I definitely recommend it!:)
I liked that it didn’t matter which story the reader chose to read first. I read Lyra’s first simply because it was first in the e-ARC and therefore was easier. Both girls had interesting stories and I was happy that I found myself enjoying both equally. When I was reading Gemma’s I didn’t find myself wishing I was still reading Lyra or thinking that Gemma made Lyra’s uninteresting. Both parts worked well together and were both needed. Each part gave clues to the overall story.
Lyra, or 24, was born at Haven. It was all she ever knew. She only had interactions with the doctors, nurses, and her fellow replicas. She loved to read and would read anything she get her hands on, which wasn’t much, and she yearned for affection. The doctors and nurses that would show the replicas affection never lasted long. When she escaped, everything was so new to her and that would have been hard enough to deal with but there was also the huge mystery of what exactly Haven was doing to her.
Gemma was very sheltered by her parents as she was sick a lot as a child. She had one friend, Alice, in school and when her parents decided at the last minute she couldn’t do spring break with Alice, Gemma rebelled. I understood her frustration and her need for answers to the secrets that her parents were obviously keeping from her. I liked seeing her test herself and find she was stronger than she knew.
The supporting characters were interesting. Pete and Jake and Alice on Gemma’s side, 72 on Lyra’s, Gemma’s parents who seemed to have some connection to Haven. I was excited to read to see how everything tied together. There was less time to develop them since some of them were only or mostly only in one girl’s part but they still felt like character who were important.
This book was over 500 pages but it didn’t feel that way at all. I flew through it. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right or I needed to find more clues to form better theories. I know there’s a second book planned and I’m excited for it.
Lauren Oliver’s new series promises to be rollercoaster ride of conspiracy theories, adventure, romance, friendship and science fiction blended in with the banalities of everyday life. If Replica, as the series-starter, is any indication, Oliver has kept her word. I was kept on the very edge of my seat the entire time I delved into this book: it was beautiful, complex, conspiratorial, heartbreaking and thoroughly entertaining.
Replica is a unique novel. It is actually two books in one and can be read in two ways: you could read each story separately, or you can read alternate chapters of each book simultaneously. I chose to read Replica chapter by chapter, combining both Lyra and Gemma’s stories, resulting in a memorable reading experience. Reading it this way, I was able to pick up subtle clues from each story which connected to the other, which I don’t think is possible if the novel is read one story at time. Every time I picked up a hint or guessed a clue correctly, I almost squealed in joy.
It is always the most highly anticipated novels that disappoint and I was worried this would occur here. I can safely say that did not happen. Replica hooks the reader from the very beginning and you will find yourself racing along with the text, determined to discover the truth. I love conspiracy theories, so perhaps that is why the book really spoke to me.
Lyra and Gemma, two very different but strong women, were delightful protagonists. Their personalities and characters were very distinct. Reading Lyra’s chapters felt very different from reading Gemma’s, and vice versa. The plotlines eventually meet up and some text is the same in the separate stories, but the tones of each story were completely different – half the time I didn’t even notice I was reading the exact same sentences from the previous alternating chapters. Oliver’s decision to write two-stories-in-one was gutsy; in theory, it could work but I have to admit I was concerned that it wouldn’t translate properly on paper. Oliver is certainly a fantastic writer to have successfully pulled this off.
My heart really bled for Lyra and all that had happened to her. Lyra is a clone, a replica, and her life at Haven, the scientific research centre, is a bleak one. The doctors and nurses treat Lyra and the other replicas as less than human – they don’t even have names, just numbers. They’re not allowed to be taught how to read, write, use technology, or have possessions … they just exist. Their whole purpose in life is to be tested upon for unknown reasons. Gemma, on the other hand, is a sixteen-year-old high school human whose strict parents are slowly ruining her life. As a child, Gemma had been sickly and had suffered countless operations which had left scars all across her body. She is ridiculously rich which should make her popular, but she is also overweight (finally an awesome representation) and as such is an outcast and a loser at school, who has only one friend. Gemma begins researching Haven after overhearing her parents discuss the centre when someone threatens her father and attempts to abduct her. Then, the fun really begins.
The plot was amazing and I loved every minute of it. It was perfectly paced and each alternating chapter seamlessly connected to the other. I have read a few other reviews of Replica and I know many people preferred Lyra’s story to Gemma’s, but I was the opposite. Lyra’s story was certainly more action-packed, but I really connected with Gemma on an emotional level. She was so insecure I just wanted to bundle her up and give her a hug. She is incredibly embarrassed of her weight, but slowly her inner strength emerges and she grows into a determined, protective and courageous young woman. I absolutely loved her love interest and cannot wait to watch their relationship develop further.
Lyra was the sweetest and I couldn’t help but smile at everything she did. When she encounters the real world outside of Haven, she knows little more than a three-year-old child: she can’t use a phone, doesn’t know what a bus is and is scared of driving in a car. It’s endearing, but at the same time incredibly sad because of the circumstances behind her lack of knowledge. Despite her ignorance, she becomes quite powerful and is able to navigate this confusing world she has suddenly found herself in. It’s enlightening to read. Like Gemma, I am excited to for Lyra and her love interest in the next book in the series.
Replica was a fantastic novel. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is without spoiling anything. I wish I could go back and read it for the first time once more, to experience the excitement and suspense all over again. Even though I received a free copy of the novel, I will most definitely be purchasing when it is released. I can’t wait to see how the book looks like in proper paperback form. Replica is a must-read for any YA fan. Do yourselves a favour and read this astounding novel.