Title: Replica

Author: Lauren Oliver

Series: Replica, #1

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: October 6th 2016


Four Stars

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, and it is the first in a duology. 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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Monsters weren’t made, at least not by birth or fate or circumstance. Monsters chose to be monsters. That was the only terrible birth, the kind that happened again and again, every day.”

Lyra, 24, has spent her whole life in Haven and as a replica her life is ruled by the scientists there; they decide when she eats, when she sleeps, and when she dies. The replicas are never long lived and Lyra’s time is running out. She’s started to feel ill and there’s only so much longer she can hide it from the cameras, the nurses, and the tests.

But when Lyra tries to find a new place to hide her secrets  she runs in 72, an escaped replica, and all of the sudden Haven seems to explode. As the bombs go off Lyra is left with no choice but to run with an escaped replica to escape the carnage that has become her life and her home.

On the outside Lyra and 72 find their way off the island into the outside world. They’re both forced into a situation they have no idea how to handle and together they have to try and work out why they have been created and what was really happening in Haven.

“A strange and baffling truth: that the people we’re supposed to know best can turn out to be strangers, and that near strangers can feel so much like home.”

Gemma’s life is the opposite to Lyra’s. She spend most of her childhood in and out of hospitals with every illness imaginable and as such she is isolated from her school friends and her parents are strangely over protective of her. However she is soon going to have one week away from them to spend in Florida with her best friend, until someone throws a Frankenstein mask through her living room window.

Thinking it’s just some of the mean girls from her school Gemma pays no mind to it, but her parents know different. After overhearing them talk about Haven Gemma is suddenly forbidden from going to Florida and stuck at home for Spring break. However there are things happening in her town, and things that have happened to Gemma, which all seem to be connected to Haven.

Finding a ride down to Florida is no problem, but Gemma soon finds herself out of her depth when she stumbles across not only a replica wearing her face but two more who need more help than she can give; and who also put her life in danger.

…The Characters

“Monsters, they call us. Demons.
Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they’re right.”

Lyra has not had a normal life so she sees no issues with the way she has been raised in Haven. All of the replicas believe they are monsters, less than nothing, and it stops them from wanting too much. But Lyra does want more, she dreams of a family but until then she’ll settle for more words to read. Lyra isn’t prepared for life outside of Haven, and not prepared to deal with all the questions 72, Gemma, and Jake ask. However when it comes down to it Lyra wants to find out more about what is happening to her; she is dying and she believes that the nurses who left Haven could hold the answers.

“Normal is a word invented by boring people to make them feel better about being boring.”

Gemma has never really felt like she belonged anywhere. Set apart from her school friends because of the scars and set apart from her parents for reasons she can’t understand. However when she hears about Haven her curiosity gets the better of her. Gemma knows that for some reason her life, and her father’s, is connected to that island and she needs to get answers before she’s accosted in the street by any more strangers. Gemma seems very protective over the replicas, she connects with them in a way she hasn’t been able to with anyone else.

“They would face it together, as they were then: turned human by joy, by a belonging that felt just like freedom.”

While the main story was all about Gemma and Lyra there were a few secondary characters along for the ride. However they just weren’t as well developed as Gemma and Lyra were. The relationships between Gemma and Pete, and Lyra and 72 all seemed a little rushed and I do think the story would have been just the same without them, or if the development had been allowed to happen over multiple books rather than just this one.

I enjoyed reading about Lyra’s relationships with the different nurses who came into her life, leaving an impression on her, only to leave again with no warning and no closure. Even Gemma’s relationship with her parents was well-written. There is a distance between them, coming from her father always being in another country, but at the same time they do love their daughter and you can see that in their actions later in the story.

…The Setting

“When she was little, she’d liked to pretend that stars were really lights anchoring distant islands, as if she wasn’t looking up but only out across a dark sea. She knew the truth now but still found stars comforting, especially in their sameness. A sky full of burning replicas.”

I love the premise of this story; switching from Lyra a clone growing up on Haven, a replica with no rights and who doesn’t even believe she is human, to Gemma an ordinary girl who has spent most of her childhood in hospitals, but who finds herself in a dangerous situation when she tries to discover more about Haven. It was an interesting story don’t get me wrong, and I love reading about Lyra’s life at Haven and everything she went through there, however some of the science behind it all confused me a little bit. This could be because my education of the sciences finished with high school but I found some of the more technical explanations, such as the real reason behind why the clones were created and what was being done to them in Haven, went completely over my head. I’d like to learn more about them in the next book, maybe more information will help me understand what I’m reading a little more.

One of the things that attracted me to this book in the first place was the format. You can either read Lyra’s story first then Gemma’s, or Gemma’s then Lyra’s, or alternate between the two. While I still enjoyed Replica I’d like to pick it up again one day and alternate between Lyra’s and Gemma’s story, seeing if it changes the experience for me seeing the way their two stories connect.

What did you think of Replica? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

18 thoughts on “Replica

    1. It’s a great book Stephanie, and it has a unique format to tell the story as well which made it a little more interesting. Seeing the events unfold from two perspectives offering a different insight onto what happens.
      I really hope you enjoy it as well, especially given you have it coming to you from two different places! 😀


  1. The formatting of this book sounds really cool. I’ve never read anything like that. I wanted to request an ARC of this book month’s ago, but NetGalley said they were only giving out ARCs to reviewers in Australia. This is definitely a unique and very developed concept. I’m so glad you liked it. That makes me think that I’ll also like it when I finally get some of these books off my TBR and have room for more. I saw an odd line of narrative from this book on Twitter last night and it made me wonder if the writing in the rest of the book was that strange. Awesome review, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No this was the first time I read anything like this as well but it was really interesting; seeing everything from Lyra’s POV and then switching to Gemma’s and getting a glimpse at some of the things we missed the first time around. Yeah I saw that ARC, I kept hoping there’d be one releases for the UK as well but there never was. In the end I just ended up waiting until my pre-order was dispatched to pick this one up. Either way a great story, and I hope you really do enjoy it as well Jill. 🙂
      I didn’t think the writing style was strange, some of the science threw me off a little but other than that it was fine. Then again I have no idea what quote you’re talking about so I could be completely wrong on this part.
      Thanks Jill! 😀


  2. The format of Replica reminds me so much of this book called Flipped that I read in middle school where you alternated between points of view the same way. I want to pick it up just to experience such a unique reading format again but also because I love the whole concept with the clones and I want to know more about the main characters just from having read your review and so many others. I’ve heard the same about the secondary characters and feeling like the relationships were rushed and while that’s a little disappointing overall it seems like such a unique story. I’ll have to try to get around to reading it for myself soon. Great review as always, Beth! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a unique format, and I feel depending on what way you read it it could add so much to the story. I definitely want to go back to this book again one day and try reading it another way to see if it changes the way I see the story. It’s a really unique story, and in a way that does kind of explain a little why some of the secondary characters weren’t as well developed, it made room for a great plot. Still hopefully in the second book there’ll be an amazing story and brilliant character development. 😀
      I hope you enjoy this book Melissa, and thanks! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whenever I do read it I plan on doing the whole switching back and forth between POVs way of reading it. Only because I love the interactive aspect of it. 😊
        Ah that makes sense. It does seem more plot driven and it’s true in more plot driven stories secondary characters can be a bit left behind.
        I hope so too and you’re welcome! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think that would definitely be the way to go. Honestly I just thought I’d get tired of flipping back and forth, and reading on a train is not the best place for interactive reading either.
        Exactly, it would have been nice to see a bit more of the secondary development but not at the expense of the plot you know. When it comes down to it I really enjoyed the book, really like the characters and thought it was an interesting concept. Can’t really ask for more! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True. Interactive reading in public can be tough. Especially flipping back and forth over and over.
        That’s good and nope you can’t really ask for me. Plus, there’s the sequel and since the first was fantastic I bet she’ll explore all of it even more in the next. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think when I do a re-read I’ll read it at home so I can flip from Lyra to Gemma with each chapter, will make it easier than it would have been sitting on the train.
        That’s what I’m hoping as well, but even if not as long as the story is as good as it was in this one I’ll be happy. 🙂


  3. Great review! I’ve been interested in this story mainly for how unique it is being able to read it in different ways. I think I may read it in alternating chapters when I pick it up to see how the story changes and grows with both characters 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It is an interesting book, and definitely a unique concept as well so I hope you really enjoy it.
      I read Lyra’s story first but I would like to go back and read it in alternating chapters as well to see if it changes how I read the story you know? 🙂


  4. Great review, Beth, so happy you enjoyed it! We could have buddy-read this, I finished reading it a couple of days ago 🙂 I really enjoyed it, well I love everything Lauren Oliver does, and that book was so original as well, I loved the format. I switched between Gemma and Lyra’s perspective and I enjoyed seeing how the two stories linked this way, but maybe I’ll re-read it differently someday 🙂 i hope to have lots of explanations as well in the second book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie, and oh that’s a shame, it would have been great to buddy read this with you but what did you think of it? Will you be posting a review soon?
      I will definitely be picking up more of Lauren Oliver’s books now I’ve read Replica, any recommendations for which one I should start off with? 🙂
      I definitely plan to re-read it one day as well. I started off with Lyra’s story this time around and thought it was interesting reading them separately how they connected, so I wonder what it will be like reading alternate chapters.
      Same here, I’m already getting excited for it! 😀


  5. The format is definitely the reason why Replica first appealed to me. I like a bit of change in our way of handling a story. Loved your review. Too bad the secondary characters weren’t as developed, because they seem so important to truly understand and appreciate Gemma and Lyra’s lives. I really hope to read it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel it definitely changed the way I read the story as well, and not just because once I finished Lyra’s story I went back to the beginning again with Gemma’s.
      Thanks so much Donna, and yeah I think the lack of development was the only thing I could pick out that I didn’t enjoy, the story itself was interesting and really well written between Gemma and Lyra.
      I hope you enjoy this one when you get around to it. 🙂


  6. I’ve heard so much about this book and thought the format was quite a revolution against the ordinary by the author. I sure do wonder if the reading experience varies if you start the book the other way of how you read it. Great review! 😛

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The format was such a large part of why I picked this book up, and probably part of why I enjoyed it so much as well. I think the same, I’m definitely going to have to read Replica at least twice more to see if the story changes based on what way around I read it!
      Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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