Hi again!!! I’m back…for now. My Nutcracker performances are this weekend, and that means the past few days as well as the next two weeks are just rehearsal after rehearsal after rehearsal. Not to mention I have exams afterward. So if I disappear again for a bit…that’s why. Today’s book is one that I was really excited about for quite a long time: Replica. Replica was extremely hyped (in my opinion at least) in the book community, and I was especially intrigued by the dual perspective aspect. PS. Have no fear. No book spines were harmed in the making of this book. Also, the orange word in my handwriting says clones, not dones.
*I have a ton to do and zero time, so Goodreads summary today.* 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. While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.
The first thing you have to decide is exactly how you’re going to read this book. Do you read Gemma’s perspective first, Lyra’s, or alternate? I decided to read alternating chapters because I wanted to see how the two overlapped. While this was really cool, I personally don’t recommend reading it this way because the dialogue was repetitive in parts and I eventually started getting confused between the perspectives at points. I don’t really know why that is, since the two girls have quite different voices, but I somehow found myself disoriented at times. I personally preferred Lyra because she had a sort of innocence that was refreshing but was willing to adapt when needed. She was almost a practical dreamer, if that makes any sense. Gemma, on the other hand, kind of reminded me of myself in some ways. She was extremely curious, and when she finally got free from her parents, rebelled quite completely. Now this obviously isn’t completely me, but my parents are on the stricter side and I can get a little crazy at times. I do think Gemma has a good heart, and I do think she was more developed. The two perspectives, read in the alternating way, did mean that the story dragged quite a bit in the middle, but the beginning and the end had a lot of plot twists and were paced well. The ending was not solid enough for me, and it felt like it just kind of drifted off without concluding, but we are getting a sequel so hopefully the next book will be able to start solidly.
All in all, this was a great story and an interesting concept! I do think that I will reread this at some point in the future, probably with Gemma perspective first then Lyra’s. If you like things to do with clones or like books with two points of view, then I say go for it!