Book Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver


Replica by Lauren Oliver

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 520

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

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.


As soon as I heard about Replica I knew I had to read it. Having the book told in two halves in a ‘flip book’ format sounded so original and interesting. I wanted to find out whether Lauren Oliver manages to pull off the concept. I read the book one story after the other, starting with Lyra’s. It’s interesting that you can read the book this way, or starting with Gemma’s story, or with alternating chapters (though that would require a lot of back and forth turning over of the book). One of my concerns was that it would be repetitive, having the same story told twice from two narrators, but there are actually only a few scenes that overlap between the stories so this isn’t a problem.

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