Replica by Lauren Oliver | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Replica by Lauren Oliver | Book ReviewReplica by Lauren Oliver
Also by this author: Vanishing Girls, Vanishing Girls,
Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Girls & Women, Science Fiction, Social Themes, General
Pages: 544
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Two girls, two stories, one epic novel.
From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica is a “flip book” that contains two narratives in one. Turn the book one way and read Lyra’s story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma’s story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey. Even the innovative book jacket mirrors and extends the reading experience.
Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. 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.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her 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 replicas and a completely new set of questions.
While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

Replica by Lauren Oliver continues to prove my theory or at least opinion that everything Lauren Oliver writes is brilliant. Sure, I am absolutely a fan girl of her work. Objectively though, I can say that she’s an author who takes all kinds of risks with her writing and is not afraid to try things that are different. I love that her work crosses all kinds of genres. Replica is a book that will have me pondering the story and the themes for quite a long time.

Replica is a dual storyline book. There’s two main point of view characters and essentially it is like two books that follow the same plot line from different points of view. One half is about Lyra, the other half is about Gemma. Lauren Oliver tackles cloning and more specifically what makes someone human. There are actually a whole lot of questions that this raises about humanity. Also about how we treat each other. You see, this book shows a society that abhors clones – or replicas as they are called in this book. It is a bit reminiscent of today and how society treats outsiders and those who are different. Of course, there’s also a little bit of romance involved. As well as a whole lot of action. So, I suppose you could say that Replica by Lauren Oliver is a thoughtful book that maintains engagement while you ponder the larger implications of humanity. Also, wow that truly sounds like I am bullshitting, but in fact, that’s how I truly feel about this book.

Lyra is the replica mentioned. I actually read her half first. When we open Replica, Lyra is living on an island. She has no access to the outside world. The island is shrouded in mystery. There’s only doctors, nurses, guards and other replicas. One day there is an explosion and Lyra’s world is on fire. There’s all kinds of action and she encounters Gemma who is not from the island or a replica, but who looks just like her friend Cassiopeia. Lyra, along with a male replica, makes her way to the outside world for the first time ever, and there’s all sorts of action. I will say that I didn’t totally gel with Lyra’s half. However, her perspective is just so different and interesting – I felt like her character was a bit of a tabula rosa because she doesn’t have the full range of human experiences, being raised the way that she was.

Gemma was definitely the character in Lauren Oliver’s Replica that I connected with the most. Her half was probably my favorite — because I could relate to her experiences kind of sort of. I mean, she thinks that she’s too heavy (she’s not). She also has really overprotective parents. OH AND she only has one friend who happens to be named April who is actually pretty great overall (just like me). Anyways, so Gemma has a history of being ill pretty easily. She also has parents who are super loaded. Anyways, she ends up going on spring break for the first time ever and then somehow ends up on the island of replicas just as there is an explosion. When her path crosses with Lyra, all kinds of secrets about her past and such come out. I loved the spectrum of emotions that Gemma experiences. I loved how dynamic her character got to be.

So, the cool thing about Replica is that if you are reading the physical copy you can choose how you want to read the book. You could read all of Lyra’s part first and then Gemma’s. Or you can read all of Gemma and then Lyra. OR you could go really wild and alternate the chapters. It’s so cool because some chapters cover the exact same event but from the different perspective of each girl which as a reader gives us sort of a bird’s eye view of the whole thing where we have a more complete picture than either character. I really loved the risk that Oliver took with this book, as I have not read anything like it. I cannot recommend Replica enough. It is a smart, unique young adult book.

Other reviews of Replica by Lauren Oliver:

None yet — but I am writing this in May soooo we shall see soon enough!

Here’s a post about the book release though

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Years and years ago (late 90s) there was a (pre)teen book series called Replica, about a girl who discovers she is one of many clones. Seeing the title and premise here made me think of it. Still very different than the description here, but just one of those “wow, I haven’t thought about that book in years” things. /random

    Every time I see a review of a Lauren Oliver book – they all always have such praise for her stories – I say to myself “I really need to read her work”. Apparently today is not exception. XD I’ll have to keep an eye out for this Replica.

    I love the idea of two stories in one, with the flipbook nature. That’s the way I think those sorts of things should be done: built in to the same greater story, rather than what seems to be a blatant money-grab, you know? In this case it seems to make the story far stronger, and I appreciate that greatly.

  2. This looks so good! I have to read this! Thank you for letting me know it exists!


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