Replica by Lauren Oliver

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Lyra is a replica. Gemma is a normal girl. Lyra was raised in the Haven Institute. Gemma lived a sheltered, and heavily medicated childhood. Lyra was raised being told she was nothing. Gemma felt like nothing. They were never meant to cross paths, but when they do, Gemma’s world comes tumbling down.

This is 2 stories smashed into one novel. The two stories are printed back to back, and you’re left on your own to decide how you want to read the book. I chose to read all of Lyra’s story and then all of Gemma’s, which is not how I recommend doing it. By separating the stories like that, I had to sit through hearing the same story twice, and by the time Gemma had made some realizations, I’d forgotten what Lyra and 72 had found. Gemma’s story seemed to drag on and on. I strongly suggest jumping between the characters’ corresponding chapters.

Lyra’s story was infinitely more interesting than Gemma’s. Lyra is a replica. She was raised in the Haven Institute. Gemma is a normal girl, living in a small town, and dealing with the same problems as every high school student. Lyra provides a view of what’s going on inside Haven and with the replicas, and Gemma’s story gives us the history behind it.

I wish Lauren Oliver would have told us why the Haven Institute went broke. Maybe she did and I missed it? All I know is they couldn’t afford to manufacture more replicas so they had to steal children. Which also doesn’t make sense? The stolen children aren’t replicas and won’t show the same results as the replicas. Also, if I remember correctly, the Haven Institute paid large sums of money to family members for their children.

The Haven Institute is like nothing I’ve ever read about before. Their treatment of the replicas is reprehensible and their reasons for creating them is even worse. The idea of using them to replace children who died seems ethically questionable enough, but building replicas just to die is horrible. It’s a strong statement on capitalism and the lengths people will go to for success and money. It’s also terrifying that the military is sanctioning this project, and killing people who know too much about it. There are some great points to be made about medical ethics.


  • 4/5 stars
  • Read one chapter from Lyra, then one from Gemma, and so on
  • Interesting to see the story from two perspectives
  • Great questions about ethics and the effect of capitalism

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