Title: Replica (Book #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA, SciFi
Format: Hardcover (purchased)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But 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. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose 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 human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.
*Trigger Warning: Suicide and Self Harm
I want to start by saying that there are 3 different ways too read this book, you can either
-read Lyra, then Gemma
-read Gemma, then Lyra
-read alternating chapters.
I read this as alternating chapters and I am so happy that I did!!
Replica is about the story of two girls Lyra and Gemma. When first starting the book, I wondered how the two would coincide together but it all weaves in beautifully. Haven institute is on an island off the coast of Florida and that’s where we meet Lyra and other replicas. Oliver takes us to the science of Haven and how these replicas are being created and treated. She also lets us see the culture that has been created within these replicas. They have never seen the outside world, besides seeing a nurse’s magazine or watching for 2 seconds TV in the nurses breakroom, all they know is white walls and one another. Gemma, all she’s known is hospitals her whole life due to her always being sick. The hovering of her parents and being over protective of every little move she makes. To the point where it’s unhealthy. She can only go out with her best friend April (Latinx, YAY!) but the parents of both girls are very strict. Something happens with Gemma in which makes her question one of the parents and it all connects with Haven. This is when Gemma does some digging and searching of her own and she finds out things that change her life forever.
In case you don’t know, Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite auto-buy authors. Lauren Oliver has this way of writing where she doesn’t tell you exactly what’s going on because she wants you to THINK! She wants you to take the smart brain that you have and connect pieces together. Which is why I love her so much because she will say something to you through her words but not directly. And I feel like this is where people misunderstand her writing.
Lauren Oliver does this exact same thing in Replica. She tells the story without giving you everything. Gemma and Lyra’s narration are both distinct and easy to tell apart. The author does give a notice before starting the book that some things were going to be told the same. HOWEVER, although sometimes Lyra and Gemma had same conversations, the thoughts of each one and their perspectives were really different. And I appreciated that so much. The pace for each girl was also different and I thought it added to the story.
I loved how each character presented in this book had a unique voice and played a part to the story as a whole.
Lyra, one of the main characters who has only known Haven her whole life. One of the experimental subjects. I loved her story and character. She’s so strong and I love how through her lens we see how she creates her own world and names objects by other things. Lyra reminded me a lot of Eleven from Stranger Things with the way she carried herself and expressions.
Gemma, another main character. She’s full of so many insecurities because she’s not a skinny girl like her classmates. All she knows is bullying and the constant hovering of her mother. She just wants to belong. I enjoyed seeing her journey from this insecure girl to this queen who does not stop for anyone to get what she wants. I was cheering her on like a mad woman! I thought Gemma’s character was very realistic.
72 is another experimental subject we get to meet. He does not have a name, he just goes by Number 72. He is rebellious all on his own. He does not trust anyone because he doesn’t know what to believe. There’s nothing really charming about this character, he definitely comes off as a hard-to-love person. However, I just feel like we get to sympathize with him when we learn everything he’s been through at Haven. We see him grow a little with Lyra.
We also meet Jake, Pervy Pete, and April. All minor characters that play important roles in the story. I feel like Pervy Pete was the one who definitely gave this book the laugh out loud moments (there’s a story behind his name but you should definitely read the book to see why he has that name). Jake the genius who helps Gemma throughout the discovery process. April the BFF! Honestly, when I found out that she was Latinx, I was very skeptical that she was going to fall into the stereotype. But behold, Lauren Oliver proved me wrong and I was like “oh finally!”
Overall, I loved this book! Lauren Oliver left me with so many questions which I’m pretty sure will be answered in the books to come. I thought the world and culture she created for both Gemma and Lyra were brilliant. Things that look normal to Lyra aren’t normal to someone in the outside world. Vice versa with Gemma. The science behind the making of the replicas was also spot on. It was simplified and easy to understand. Lauren Oliver created a fictional world with a realistic setting and real characters. I sympathized with these characters and what they were going through. I also loved how sometimes we got eerie undertones in this book. This book gave me Stranger Things (Netflix show) vibes. Lauren Oliver definitely had me guessing at every turn what was going on and I was surprised with the turn out. This was my first ever read about Clones and I’m happy with how Oliver developed this world. I would highly recommend this read.
Created by me
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!