Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on May 7, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Ella, Betsey and I look like sisters: triplets, you might think.
But that's not what we are at all.
We are clones in hiding. We split our lives and exist as one person in the outside world. And we've always been happy.
But now I've fallen in love ... and that changes everything.
Because to let love in, I need to be allowed to be Me.
The Originals is a unique book covering the life of three identical clones – Lizzie, Beth and Ella who all live one life under their mother’s direction. I enjoyed the blend of contemporary, sci-fi and mystery, it is a really unique concept that I haven’t seen explored before in YA fiction.
The concept of these three girls living the life of one person, Elizabeth Best, was quite extreme, as they each split up the day into 3 segments and lived like that each day. It became apparent that it wasn’t going to work when they wanted to make friends or start dating, and that their mum was taking extreme measures to hide them for their protection. So Lizzie and her sisters start rebelling against the system and start breaking the rules in order to date who they want and do the things they want as well.
As Lizzie starts dating the guy in her class, Sean, she starts to get more and more reckless as she even reveals what her mum has been hiding their whole lives – that they are living the life of clones – just so she can date him. There is a hint of insta-love here as Sean’s immediate reaction isn’t to run away screaming, but instead to stay and stick it out because he likes her. He was a kind, caring and understanding love interest, who Lizzie was able to rely on throughout and I adored him.
I think it’s made worse by the fact that we’re sharing one life, but the bad side of looking like two other people is feeling like I don’t have my own identity at all. Like there’s nothing unique about me.
I didn’t like how their mother was the villain, yes her measures were extreme but she was genuinely doing it to protect her kids. Her decision to make them live one life was not the right way to go about things but there could have been other options. When Lizzie and her sisters find out that their mum may be hiding things from them, they start snooping around her office, stalking her, going through her bank statements, getting private phones and even going out together. They blatantly disregard their own safety when a photo of themselves is posted on an app called Twinner, which finds someone who looks similar to you, and they continue chatting to said person. This disrespect for their mother was not cool at all, especially since she had sacrificed so much just to raise and protect them.
The clone concept was quite interesting and explored in a different way throughout the book. It needed a bit more explaining and details around it though, especially when it came to their conception and how the donor could find their “perfect” clone. I liked how Lizzie, Ella and Betsy each had a different personality to show that cloning wouldn’t necessarily be the same.
Today’s the day we get our lives back. The only thing is that we’re not exactly sure when or how to do it.
Cat Patrick’s writing is seamless throughout and I enjoyed reading it. I liked how the plot featured a heavy dose of intrigue and mystery throughout, as the girls discovered that there mum was hiding secrets from them. I kind of knew the clones were playing with fire though and it all comes to a head later on. I wanted more ooph though, as the big reveal was kind of lacklustre to me.
The Originals had a unique and interesting concept about clones living the same life, but left a bit to be desired when it started discussing why they were living in that way. I wish things were less about their mother and more about the cloning process and why this was allowed, so there wouldn’t be so much disbelief and frustration while reading the novel. Instead, it was a book about individuality, self-expression and independence, which was a worthwhile message in the end.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for sending me this book for review.