Replica by Lauren Oliver

“No one sees or hears the same thing in exactly the same way… In that way we truly are inventors of our own experience.”

bookcover_replica.jpg

Blurb: “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.”

Have you ever wished that you could read the same book over and over but in a way in which you get more out of the story? Then Replica by Lauren Oliver may be the book for you.

I have to confess that I hadn’t read any of Lauren Oliver’s previous books prior to Replica and it was the format that drew me to it. This book has two stories in one and you can start with Gemma’s story then flip the book over and read Lyra’s story (or vice versa) and then you can alternate chapters between both characters. For the purpose of this review, and also to fully appreciate the story, I have read both stories.

Replica follow a girl called Gemma who is an outcast with an overprotective mother. Her father spends a lot of time away on business and during one of his brief returns home she overhears him talking with her moth about someone escaping from The Haven. She starts investigating this strange place and her father’s connection to it. On the other side is a girl called Lyra who lives inside The Haven and hears of how someone managed to escape. Through a series of events she finds herself running for her life, straight into Gemma’s path.

I decided to read Gemma’s story first because I liked the idea of discovering all the secrets along with the character and then I flipped the book over and read Lyra’s story to fill in the gaps. Lauren Oliver provides a note at the start of each story explaining why she chose to tell the story in this format: she says that no two people experience the same event in the same way. While portions of dialogue are the same in both stories when the characters do meet, each character perceives the situation in a different way.

The story itself was different to what I expected and the two characters actually spend enough time apart for them to stand as individual characters and makes you feel like you’re missing out by not reading the other story. Having said that, the story is very predictable and, while it’s the first in a duology, the ending feels kind of abrupt, like we’re approaching the main aspect of the plot only to be brought to a swift stop.

This is very much a character driven story and if those are the kind of books you love, then you’re sure to enjoy Replica.

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