Replica by Lauren Oliver // WHAT HAPPENED?

Saturday, 10 September 2016
Replica (Replica #1), by Lauren Oliver
Publication: October 4, 2016, by HarperTeen
Format: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 544
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

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...

My Thoughts:

Replica was my most anticipated read from all of BEA this year, seriously. I went through all of the galley drops, without any luck of grabbing a copy, because HarperTeen was seriously limited with their giveaways this year. And then, I GOT A COPY! My life/day/BEA was made. I love everything about Lauren Oliver's writing, and I was waiting until school finished so I would be able to grab my copy of this and devour it all until I was finished and so, so happy with the outcome. Sadly, I was more disappointed than I would have liked, and it all turned out to be weak, and the main promoting idea were the multiple perspectives of Lyra and Gemma. Take a note of that: promoting idea. Sure, the fact that book is split into two and it isn't supposed to matter how you read it (in terms of reading it from beginning to end or switching) is the captivating part, right? That was one of the things that made me go crazy, of course, adding to the special edition box that my review copy came in. The clone thing? Not so much.

This is your typical dystopian book about cloning and characters trying to find out about the things that they don't know about. Typical. Replica is about replicas, who are clones on this abandoned island in Haven, Florida, and they are basically thinking that they are human and have human abilities. We immediately meet Lyra, a replica who has always felt off and curious with the rest of the world that she lives in. The outer world interests her, and when a replica breaks out from Haven, people, including her and the human protagonist of ours, Gemma, are curious. Lyra breaks away too, meets this breakaway, who she finds out is a guy, and they set off for the sunset together—kind of. I didn't want that to happen, but Lyra was so intrigued by this guy that it only seemed that she wanted to make out with him, if she knows what that is. And then we meet Gemma, who just jets off to Haven from her North Carolina hometown to find out the truth of this conspired island of Lyra's and the replicas.

This was just a book about these two characters discovering things about themselves. There were no major plot points or moments that caused my jaw to drop or freak out with all of the feels possible. This contained a weak storyline that needed more detail and more thoroughness, more gloop inside of it. Replica is 544 pages LONG, and I must say, it's too big for what's really inside of it. We have about 250 pages for each story, and I can't help but roll my eyes because the same things were practically happening, minus some things, because obviously, each perspective's character has a different thought process of what was going on. Yeah, there were things mentioned about the scientific side of cloning, but I would have liked more of it, because the main setting where all of the characters are together is in a motel room. And now I have come to discover that this will be a series. Yay. I will probably not read that because this is just so slow-paced.

"There was no world without Haven. Haven was the world" (85).

I would like to break down each of the "books," or points-of-view, for that matter. Things will be simpler, but I kind of feel that my opinions of both would have been different if I read the two in a different order. That is the serious case. Perhaps, I could have read one chapter of one and one chapter of the other back and forth, but that was how it all turned out, you know?

Lyra's was the first story that I read. I never really had the knowledge of who was who, whether Lyra was the clone or human, and vice versa with Gemma. I just went with whoever was on the front cover. I quickly discovered a lot about Lyra's world and how she lived with the other replicas, and how the humans treated them. I liked her story from the start, but I would never be able to say that I loved it. Lyra is a too unreal character who is just really curious about everything, and is willing to do whatever it takes to find out the truth. I totally like ambitious characters, but Lyra took it to the maximum. I was bored here and there, and I just wasn't so interested with it all, to be honest. To rate, it, I'd give it 3.5 stars, lacking proper characterization and plot.

Gemma's came next, and I became more disappointed. Gemma is a great, independent character who is looking to solve some mysteries of her family for herself, things that her parents would never tell her in the first place. Would I admit that she had some kind of romance? Sure, ish—at least. Since many of the events were extremely similar to what I had read in Lyra's story, I was even more bored. I felt uninterested in what was going to occur.

"Everywhere he touched, she imagined she was healed. She imagined the disease simply vanishing, evaporating, like water under the sun" (215).

Replica is a typical dystopian book, but taken in the direction of a try-hard contemporary story filled with romance, and characters trying to be so human. I did like some aspects, especially Lyra's perspective, but I was really disappointed with the way that the format was supposed to affect the turnout of each unique perspective and the slow pacing. 

There certainly is an audience for this—lovers of other dystopians like Beta by Rachel Cohn would adore this, though that series is definitely better. Lauren Oliver, I seriously love you and your writing, but this new series of yours, Miss Dystopian Master, is not for me. This is clones in a realistic world gone wrong, with the wrong promotion—format. 

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is a good YA clone book, or the best dystopian book you have recently read? What is your favourite Lauren Oliver book?

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