This book was on my radar from the very first second I heard about it. That being after bookcon, when watching booktube videos and seeing the flip book formatting.
I wanted it immediately.
And while I didn’t get it immediately – I didn’t expect to get it until it was released – I DID get it pretty soon after. So that, I was thrilled about.
Let’s talk about Replica!
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi
Series Status: The 1st book in a duology
Number of Pages: 542 (approximately)
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Goodreads | (Synopsis found from flyer sent with ARC copy)
PS. I chose to write this version of the synopsis down because in the Goodreads version one of the names is different, and this is the synopsis which I based my decision of which side to begin with from.
Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida. From a distance it looks serene, 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 clones, 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 known 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.
*I was sent an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
I think it’s fair to say the main thing that practically THROWS this book into your face and screams “BUY ME” is the formatting.
Because this book is a “flip book”. There’s at least two sides to every story, right? Well, Lauren Oliver has given that phrase a whole new meaning by writing a story, and literally giving the book two sides. You can read it starting with either Gemma or Lyra’s story – then you get halfway through the book, come to the end of their perspective, flip the book over, and start with the other girl’s story. It doesn’t matter which side you start with. OR…you can keep alternating chapters, flipping the book over with every chapter you read and reading both stories at the same time. Though I imagine you’d need two bookmarks for that.
And THAT is what I really loved about this book. Of course, I really enjoyed the rest of it, but I’m a sucker for interesting formatting, so the thought of half the book being upside down no matter which way you hold it? Well, like I said, I loved it!
Personally I started with Gemma’s side of the story, because judging from the synopsis, her side sounded like it had more mystery and intrigue surrounding Haven, and then Lyra’s story would show what it’s like inside. By the end of the book, I was glad I read it that way round. Though I already want to reread it, trying it from alternating chapters to see if the story reads the same when switching constantly between the two perspectives. It’s almost like the amount of choice you have in reading the book makes the story more personal to you – every perspective gives you a different reading experience altogether.
The story itself seemed unique – which is really quite ironic, since it’s main plot line is about clones. From the beginning there’s this air of mystery surrounding the story, because you don’t quite know what’s going down at Haven. That’s the focus point of the story, and yet you hardly know anything about it. So there’s instant curiosity, that little voice in your head telling you to “read just that one page more”.
I didn’t know what to expect. There’s Gemma, who rarely does anything adventurous, trying to find answers in a way that made me think “Wow Gemma, go big or go home, huh?” And then there’s Lyra, who sees the world in a completely different way to us. It was really interesting to see the story unravel through the eyes of each girl, and I had no problems with confusing their perspectives at all. The stories overlapped sometimes – as you would imagine – but it never became repetitive.
I do admit I was slightly more interested in Lyra’s side to the story, but that could easily have been built up through the mystery of Gemma’s story. If that makes ANY sense at all.
There was just one thing I wasn’t entirely on board with.
It just didn’t need to be there. I wasn’t against it – I was completely fine with reading it. But at the same time it seemed a bit rushed, and I couldn’t help but think that some of the character’s outlooks on relationships was a bit flimsy. It didn’t add anything more to the story for me. If the romance wasn’t there, I’d have enjoyed the book just as much – possibly more, even.
But other than that, the rest of the book was great! It was surprisingly quick to read (there were plenty of times I thought I’d only read 40 pages, only to look and see I’d read 100), probably because of the easy-to-follow writing paired with the secretive story.
This Contemporary/SciFi mix of a story was an absorbing and gripping read that kept me turning the pages quicker than I thought. I wanted both sides of the story, and I needed to know the secrets of the Haven Institute. There’s was a strange feeling of there not being an ending to the story (helped by the fact you finish the story in the middle of the book), so I’m already eagerly waiting the release of the next book. Ohhhh how long the wait will seem!
Rated 4/5 stars!
[Available in Hardback and Paperback]
(I mean, at the time this review goes up, the book won’t even be out yet so if you even *think* of posting spoilers, you’re not a nice person)
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? (if you managed to get an early copy, or are looking back at this after the release date) What did you think?
Do you plan on reading this book?
Have you read any of Lauren Oliver’s other books? I haven’t.
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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