Author: Lauren Oliver
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Replica, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I've made no secret of how much I love Lauren Oliver's books--she's one of my favorite authors, despite the debate about her popular Delirium series. And when I heard that she was writing a brand-new book, this one with two stories in one novel, and that it was science fiction, I was so sold. I waited for the novel to come to my library, nervous because of its mixed reception. Now that I've actually read it, I get it. And this book was lovely, but there were also times when flipping the book upside down and back and forth that the actual story got a little bit muddled. Lyra's story begins at one end of the book, and Gemma's story begins at the other side. You can start from either point, but I decided to read one chapter for Lyra, and one for Gemma, so it would all remain fresh in my mind. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it!
Replica tells the story of two very different people: Lyra, the replica stored in Haven, just one of the many who have been created for unknown purposes, and on the other side, Gemma is a normal teenager girl, riddled with insecurities and unhappy with her parents. The girls' stories eventually intersect as the book goes on, and Oliver's beautiful, sparse prose spurs the story on. I liked the formatting, even if it it was a little hard to get used to. And I also really liked the way Oliver took on a new genre for her--science fiction--and put a fresh spin on it. Through the story of these characters, told side by side, Oliver brings up relevant questions that have my brain whirring, even after I finally closed the book. For example: Where does technological advancement put us, ethically, religiously? Does medical and scientific advancement mean we are playing God, doing things we shouldn't?
The pacing of the novel stuttered a bit, since getting the hang of flipping the book from one side of the other, but I really liked the way Oliver breathed life into a classic, if overdone, genre. But the characters were what I really loved about this book: Gemma, longing to fit in and somehow knowing that there's something wrong with her, and Lyra, who is content to float along until her entire world comes crashing down, secrets raining down on both the girls until the end of the book. Oliver's signature--beautiful writing, and tantalizing secrets and foreshadowing--really sold this for me. I'm really, really looking forward to the next book! The bottom line: Breathing life into a classic, albeit tired, genre, Oliver's science fiction debut is sure to please her fans and some newcomers! Next on deck: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis!