Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever - Goodreads
Replica is the stories of two girls whose lives are intertwined. Each story can be read in it's entirety, independently of the other. Alternatively, the reader may choose to switch between the two stories as they go (e.g. reading a chapter at a time from each character) to understand each perspective or story line as the overarching story unfolds. It's completely up to you how you uncover this story.
I received my copy of this book for free through NetGalley for an honest opinion. For some reason (or technical error) I only received Lyra's part of this book. This will likely have some impact on my opinion of the book because I only got to glimpse Gemma's story from Lyra's perspective.
Nevertheless, I was hooked from the very first page, I was intrigued by the characters and keen to find out what would happen next in their story. I enjoyed watching the characters develop as they interacted and learnt about their world. I also enjoyed how the ethical issues of cloning were tackled in this book; and how the realities of cloning effected each of the characters.
The only drawback for me was following some of Lyra's descriptions of things in her environment. Living in an isolated institute with no education she apparently had not been exposed to the names of even common day objects. Lyra's descriptions were sometimes so vague that I had trouble picturing what she was talking about. Whilst Lyra's limited vocabulary might aide the reader in understanding her upbringing, it can also hinder the reading experience.
I look forward to getting my hands on this book again in the future so that I can read Gemma's story. There seems to be so much more to tell about the characters and so much more to learn about Haven.