Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
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Two girls, two stories, one epic novel\r\nFrom 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.\r\n\r\nLyra'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.\r\n\r\nGemma 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.\r\n\r\nWhile 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.\r\n
I first discovered Lauren Oliver a few years ago, and I absolutely loved Before I Fall and Delirium. After disappointment with the sequels and a couple of her other books, I approached this one with caution. I was still hopeful that this would be the book that really made me connect with her again, and I’m so happy to say that it was! I was all in with this one. There are a couple of different ways for readers to approach the story: you can either read Lyra’s story straight through and then read Gemma’s, or you can alternate chapters and read them at the same time. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I didn’t get the luxury of choosing, and I listened to the stories straight through. I enjoyed this format, but I may read the next book differently and see if my opinion varies. I think it would’ve been fun to alternate chapters. I enjoyed Lyra’s POV the most – being an insider at Haven was definitely intriguing, although I often found myself wondering how reliable of a narrator she was, given the fact that she was totally clueless about so much. I enjoyed trying to piece together the truth, based on things that she and Gemma learned, and I was surprised a few times by the direction the story went. My only complaint was that I found the relationship between Gemma and her best friend to be a little annoying. This was a great set-up for a series – there is still a lot of story left to tell, and it was told in a unique format. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how it concludes.
“A strange and baffling truth: that the people we’re supposed to know best can turn out to be strangers, and that near strangers can feel so much like home.”