My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Replica is a fascinating novel about human cloning that is written from two points of view. It’s really unique because it can be read in three different ways. The first is from Lena’s perspective. Lena is a replica, or clone, and has only known a life at Haven. The second is from Gemma’s point of view. Gemma is a normal girl who doesn’t feel like she fits in. The final method, and way I chose to read the book, was alternating chapters. The two stories are woven together seamlessly and make for a great read.
On an island surrounded by guard towers and fences, ocean and marsh, alligators and water mocassins is Have – Lyra’s home. Each day she is told when to eat, sleep and take her medication. Her life is not her own. It’s not even considered a life by most of the staff who address her as “it”.. if they recognize her at all.
Gemma attends high school and has two overprotective parents. she was very sick as a child and her parents never quite got over it. Gemma isn’t even allowed to participate in gym, which doesn’t help shield her from school bullies. Instead, it makes her more of a target. Her only true friend is April.
Somehow, Gemma and April manage to convince their parents to allow them to spend their spring break at April’s grandparent’s house in Florida. Just days before their trip, there is an explosion at Haven. Gemma overhears her parents fighting about it and suddenly she’s not longer allowed on her trip. hurt and confused, Gemma begins to dig into Haven wondering why it is so important. She discovers a world of conspiracies and realized she must uncover the truth.
Catching a ride to Florida with a classmate, Pete, Gemma rebels for the first time in her life. She goes on a harrowing adventure and her path eventually crosses with Lyra’s. Together, they begin to learn the truth and uncover life-altering information about Haven and themselves.
Both Lyra and Gemma are well-written characters that the reader can relate to. Lyra, or number 24, is new to the world and slow to trust. Gemma is caring and curious. Personally, I related to Gemma more than Lyra but I know a lot of people say the opposite. They are joined by the talkative and reliable Pete; the only person to ever make it to Haven Jake; and a fellow Haven resident number 72, or Caelum. Each boy has a unique personality and purpose in the story.
The world of Haven and the replicas is fascinating. Unfortunately, we only know as much as out protagonists do. I eagerly await more world building in future books. The backstory was a giant mystery involving Gemma’s father, but she slowly discovers little pieces and the world is exposed to us bit by bit.
The story immediately draws you in and you can’t put the book down (or at least I couldn’t!) Recommended for fans of science fiction (or fact) and mystery young adult books. Even if you don’t normally gravitate towards science related diction, this book is very accessible. Fans of BBC’s Orphan Black will find themselves in love with this novel. Definitely a must read!