Friday, August 12, 2016

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver
2/5 stars

I really don't like giving a negative review, because I know that the author has put her all into her novel and loves it.  It feels disrespectful to talk bad about someone's hard work.  That said, I can not give this book any higher than two stars.

It's the story of two girls, Lyra and Gemma.  Lyra is a "replica" and has been raised in seclusion in the Haven Institute, where she and the other replicas are referred to as "it", suffer from mystery illnesses, and experience no affection or compassion.  Gemma is an unhappy teen with overly protective parents and only one friend.  When a stranger, who knows her name, asks what she knows about Haven, Gemma begins to research it and finds ties to her father.  Eventually, Gemma's and Lyra's stories converge and more questions need answers.

This book is sadly predictable and is not engrossing.  Lyra's background story is so similar to many I've read that, to begin with, I wondered if I'd previously read an extract.  There is no surprise to Gemma's story, either; the "mystery" is obvious from the beginning.  Both characters are cardboard cliches, and the story is full of familiar tropes.

Replica is presented in "flip book" format.  One side has Lyra's story; turn it upside down and you have Gemma's side.  This is just an unnecessary gimmick and adds nothing to the reading experience.  Chapters alternating point-of-view would have been much better, and would have created more suspense.

To be frank, I dreaded returning to it.  I nearly went into a reading slump, trying to avoid it.

At the time I am writing there are two other reviews, one four star and one five star, so I know that there are people who will enjoy this novel.  It is marketed toward teens (which I am not), and those readers may have less experience reading this same kind of plot, and therefore will find it more exciting.  However, I was given the ARC in exchange for an honest review, and my candid opinion is that this is a lifeless, uninteresting story.

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