Book Review: Replica (Replica, #1) by Lauren Oliver

28219385Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub Date: October 4, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 520
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two girls, two stories, one epic novel.

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.

My review:

“Normal is a word invented by boring people to make them feel better about being boring.”

I went into this book without reading the synopsis. All I knew was that there were two stories: one told by a girl, and another told by a clone replica. I suggest you all go into the book that way, because the summary tells you a lot.

As explained in the synopsis, there are many options for how you can read this book. I knew there would be some content overlap, so I planned on reading 2-3 chapters at a time, alternating between Lyra and Gemma. When I actually got into the book, I ended up reading about 7 consecutive chapters from each, and then alternating every 2-3 after that. The reason I prefer it this way is because the first several chapters (for both girls) are more distinct/unique, but their stories truly start to entwine after that point. Of course it’s totally up to you how you want to read this book! I just found it more interesting this way.

So yeah, the synopsis tells you the general plot if that’s what you came here for, but otherwise I recommend you go in blind. It’s far more enjoyable that way. That’s all you’re going to get out of me, plot-wise.

One little thing that bothered me was all the immediate coupling of people? Like why does everyone need a love interest? I suppose it made sense, but I would have been happy with a strong friendship or two instead.

Points for originality though! I haven’t read anything like this in a while.

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