Author: Lauren Oliver
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 learns 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.
I’ve been a huge fan of Lauren Oliver ever since I read Delirium and her books are always a must-read for me. This one was especially intriguing because it is so unique.
This book is two stories in one, and it’s really a brilliant concept, though in my opinion its lacking a bit in the execution. There are two ways to read Replica – you can read each story separately, or you can read alternating chapters. I chose to read it alternating between the two stories, and I think that adds more to the overall story.
I liked both main characters; I found Gemma fairly relatable and Lyra’s perspective was so unique. I would have loved to have read more about Lyra’s story – a clone (called a replica) raised in a research institute, hidden away from the world. I really wanted to know more about Haven and life for the replicas. This was expanded on as the story went on, but I still found myself wanting more. I’m very interested in the idea of clones, and would have liked to see Oliver dive a little deeper into this.
The concept for Replica is extremely clever. The split narrative worked really well when the two girls were separate and I loved the way that one girl’s story added details and expanded on what you had just read, while at the same time provoking more questions. However once the two stories merged, this is where I felt the execution started to fall apart. As the two stories should be able to stand on their own, some events had to be described in both girls’ stories. Although the details and perspectives were different, it did occasionally get a bit repetitive. While this should have been the most exciting part of the book, I found it to be anticlimactic and the storyline became too romance-centric. For a book that started out with so much mystery, there just wasn’t enough action for my liking.
I think both ways of reading Replica have advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps if I’d read the stories separately I wouldn’t have noticed the repetition so much. But if I’d done that, I may have missed out on the details that I appreciated so much in reading both stories together.
I think this book has a lot of promise, but it didn’t quite live up to what I had been hoping for. But all in all, I found it enjoyable and a quick and worthwhile read. There is going to be a sequel and I do plan on reading it; I would love to find out more about Haven and how both girls move on from where Replica finished.