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One of my New Year’s resolutions, now that I’m done with school, was to get back in the habit of reading for fun. To that end, I wanted to read a book a month. That wasn’t quite ambitious enough, so I’m going for a book a week.
This week, I read Replica by Lauren Oliver. I picked it up on impulse because the cover was pretty (I’m a magpie like that). Sometimes this strategy fails me, but I couldn’t put this down from the first page until I finished it.
If you want to check out the book for yourself, clicking the cover image will take you to its Amazon page.
Replica is YA science fiction with an experimental twist. It’s actually two books, following two protagonists. The girls’ paths cross and meet up, but they each are following their own quest. Start from the front of the book, and you follow Lyra’s story. Turn the book upside down and start from the back, and you can read Gemma’s story.
Lyra is a subject at a secret medical research facility. She and another subject, a boy called 72, escape and are thrust into the great unknown of the outside world. Gemma, a sickly girl, has her own connection to the research facility, and endeavors to uncover the truth about what it was up to. Danger is never far behind, and the body count doesn’t take long to start climbing.
The two narratives are written in such a way that you can read either one all the way through, or alternate between the girls. I was boring and read through all of Lyra’s story, then moved on to Gemma’s. Still, the gimmick is pretty ingenious. The girls have very different outlooks and voices. When I reread, I’ll be alternating, since I’m sure that will give the stories a different feel. I don’t know what reading method I’d recommend; there’s really no wrong way to do it. The dual narratives just add another reason to read the book multiple times.
Lauren Oliver writes with an immediacy that keeps the tension high, but her style isn’t so spare as to not have some strikingly beautiful prose. The girls are instantly compelling. I especially fell in love with Lyra, who is clever and observant underneath her childlike demeanor.
I can fully recommend this book. Clones and cover-ups and conspiracies, what’s not to love?