Two Minute Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica #1
Pages: 544
Published: expected October 19 2016
Source: Book Expo America
Rating: 4/5

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...

 After a couple years of reading her novels, I've come to realize that I like Lauren Oliver's books so much more when she's writing for teens rather than for adults. Some of this particular YA novel is easily predicted by anyone whose read more than a few, yes, but there's more than what meets the eye to the story being told in Replica. It's a twisty and eventful ride with a surprising variety of characters and turns of event.

It's a clever pair of stories told in a somewhat gimmicky but ultimately inventive manner. There are two key characters in Replica's over 500 pages and the way Oliver chose to write it allows them both equal time and distinct voices to tell their respective versions of events. Some events have ripples on both sides of the novel and it is fascinating to see how two such different people interpret and react to the same event or news.

Replica is the first of a scifi-ish series and while I am not sure how long this particular conceit - both plot-wise and presentation-wise, will last before wearing out, but I am at least interested enough to see what happens next.


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