by Lauren Oliver
Hodder & Stoughton
Lauren Oliver is one of the most interesting and imaginatively ambitious young adult authors around. Her Delirium trilogy transcended dystopian commonplaces, surprising and moving through means both unsentimental and oddly hopeful. Oliver’s new novel, which echoes her Groundhog Day remix Before I Fall (2010), is really her new novellas. As the title hints, Replica tells the same story twice from two points of view. Our twin narrators are Gemma and Lyra, who are like two very different peas in the same pod. One of them was born, the other made in a cloning facility off Florida’s coast. Each girl goes on the run, befriends a boy (who may or may not be trustworthy) and critiques conformity, capitalism and science, before they collide in a swamp. Scenes are reproduced but in entirely different contexts. What singles Replica out is Oliver’s smart decision to let the reader choose the narrative paths. You can read “Gemma” or “Lyra” first, or aptly, given the clone theme, splice them together via alternating chapters. The hardback presents the twin halves as a mirror image so their ends meet in the middle. Part two, Simulation, will follow, but Replica is plenty for now.