Replica by Lauren Oliver | Giving “there’s two sides to every story” a whole new meaning


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.

spoiler free

Let’s talk about Replica!

Title: 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

Synopsis new

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.

review new

*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.

The romance.

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!

4 stars

Order from Amazon!

[Available in Hardback and Paperback] 

Comments spoiler warning

(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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29 thoughts on “Replica by Lauren Oliver | Giving “there’s two sides to every story” a whole new meaning

  1. This sounds really good. I don’t usually read Sci-Fi but I like the idea of Sci-Fi with some contemporary. The two narrations sounds pretty interesting too.I have never read anything laid out like that. Great review. I also like the format of your blog and the review in general, makes it really easy to read through. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That’s so lovely to hear 😀
      I don’t usually read Sci-Fi either but this is a really subdued sort of Sci-Fi, there’s no overload of technical talk or anything to do with space. It’s really interesting!


  2. This looks so interesting! I’d have no idea how to read it though, and would probably end up doing the same as you and re-read it in every possible way. Shame about the romance though – sounds like it could have been excellent and totally unique book without a love story being added in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d definitely recommend reading Gemma’s story first, and I’ve seen a few other people recommend it that way too. It’d be interesting to reread it though to see if it reads as a different story the other ways 🙂


  3. I can’t wait to get my own copy of this book and your review made me even more eager to do so !!!
    The way you read it made sense, I think that’s the way I would do it too, unless I switch perspectives with each chapter, I don’t know haha!
    I’m really curious to see if the second book will be formatted the same way or not

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I can fuel the excitement ahah! 😀
      I’d definitely recommend reading it the way I did, it worked perfectly for me. I’ve seen others recommend doing it that way too 🙂
      I really hope the second book is formatted the same! It’d feel a bit strange if not.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this book yet! Great review– I am definitely intrigued by this now. I’ve read a few books formatting in a similar fashion, but none of them quite like you describe above.

    I look forward to reading this book– but I’ll be waiting until the second book is released. I can’t handle the waiting!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I like the look of all the books you review, just that this one gained my interest the most. The Raven Boys book was good and I’m beginning to read the first Throne of Glass book now too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since it was conceived! I am so envious!
    But your review didn’t give too much away, which I super duper appreciate.
    I eagerly await its release!! Excellent review, as per usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoy Lauren Oliver’s books so I’m glad you enjoyed it! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, although I’m so conflicted about how I’m going to read it! I was tempted to alternate chapters between the two perspectives but now your review has made me thing I should read one half all the way through and then the other half. It’s so interesting to even have this option as a reader, it gives you more autonomy over the book in a way. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!
      It took me a while to decide which way to read it too. But I figured I’m way too impatient to keep flipping the book over, so I’d start one way and then read the second half after 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the whole ‘flip-book’ idea, I think it’s great that you can choose which side of the story to begin with and it’s not something I’ve seen done very much in publishing. I totally get what you mean about feeling nonplussed about the romance, sometimes it really enhances the story and other times it doesn’t really need to be there at all. Part of why I liked This Savage Song so much was that V.E. Schwab explicitly stated that the novel would have no romance, so I enjoyed reading it with the knowledge and the main characters were going to form an incredibly close relationship that had nothing to do with romantic feelings. The plot of Replica sounds pretty intriguing, so I’ll make sure to watch for it when it comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the flip-book idea was a really good one, it gives the readers so much choice and something more to look forward too. Especially when it comes to rereading.
      I really need to get my hands on This Savage Song, I’ve been wanting it for so long but I’m on a book buying ban so I can’t right now! Ugh!
      (PS. your name/comment/blog thing works now!)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve bought so many books every month for the majority of the year (seriously, if you look through my past hauls there’s been like nine books every month – though not all bought some were sent) so I figured I should stop for a bit and read the books I have. Plus I need to save my money for a few things so book buying ban is in order!

          Liked by 1 person

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