Replica Review: There’s Three Sides to Every Story

November 18, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

Replica Review: There’s Three Sides to Every StoryReplica by Lauren Oliver
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on October 11th 2016
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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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, aka number 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 Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

They say there’s three sides to every story – and there’s three ways of reading Replica. With two stories printed on either side of the book, you can choose to read one story at a time, or alternate chapters between Lyra and Gemma, which is what I did.

Lyra is a replica who starts off life in a research institute, who has never known anything else. Being subjected to endless medical experiments and seeing countless peers suffer and die, I kind of thought she would be more traumatised or emotionally affected at her circumstances. However, despite her disturbing back story, Lyra kind of felt bland and boring. As she discovers the real world around her with the boy replica 72, she endlessly compares life to the research institute. She didn’t really have a strong personality and didn’t feel like a very believable character.

On the other side is Gemma, a girl who is searching for answers about her past which leads her to Haven, the same research institute where Lyra resides. Despite her insecurities with her weight and her swooning for the pervy Pete and later, the symmetrically pleasing Jack, there also wasn’t much personality to her. She thought about kissing and her crushes at the most inopportune times, like when a man is holding a gun to her friend’s head. Also it’s kind of weird feeling anything for a love interest who is constantly referred to as “Pervy”, but there you have it.


If Lyra is from the freaky dystopian future, then Gemma is more of a contemporary character who is struggling with her identity. Being the key selling point of the book, I was waiting for their storylines to converge, but when it got there, it was kind of underwhelming. Seeing the same situation happen in both of the characters point of views was repetitive and didn’t really give any useful deeper insight. As twists and secrets unfold while reading each perspective, I also felt like reading one side of the story first would spoil the other.

While I always find clones to be a fascinating topic, Replica doesn’t really delve too deep when it comes to them. I also didn’t like how the book lacked action despite a few dead bodies here and there and some explosions. There wasn’t much excitement while reading the story, despite a mild mystery as to what really happened at Haven. Upon reaching the end, I felt kind of disappointed like there wasn’t really a point to the story.

Monsters weren’t made, at least not by birth or fate by circumstance. Monsters chose to be monsters.

This isn’t the first time I’ve read a Lauren Oliver book – in fact, it’s the 5th one I’ve read from the author. Aside from Delirium, which I read at the peak of my dystopian phase, I’ve been disappointed with each and every one. Replica was no different and I don’t think I’ll pick up any of her other books after this. The books always end up focusing on a romance that I don’t really care about and bland characters with no personality. This is also the first book of hers that I’ve read that is set in third person perspective and it just didn’t feel natural, with a lot of “She did this, she did that, then she talked to this person”.


Even a pretty package and a cool premise couldn’t save Replica for me, with it’s bland characters, lacklustre plot and direction-less story. At over 500 pages, it’s quite a long book to be invested in and it really dragged out for me. While some people might enjoy the alternating chapters, I found myself to be quite disappointed when I reached the end.

Rating: 2 out of 5


Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a review copy! 

At least there was this hilariously disturbing comment that I got out of the book:





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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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39 responses to “Replica Review: There’s Three Sides to Every Story

  1. Hmm, I don't think I'll be reading this one. I like the sound of the premise, but if the back story of it is never really explained, I'm not sure that would satisfy me. Lately, world building has been a big thing for me in terms of enjoyment, and I'm having no patience for when it's half done.

    The characters also sound like they are quite two dimensional, which is disappointing.

    I've never read a Lauren Oliver book, although I own Delirium, and its sequel. I'm keen to read those, as I have heard quite a lot of good things about them. But I think Replica is one that I will probably leave off.

    Great review, Jeann 🙂

    • ME TOO! There are so many fantasy reads this year that don\’t even focus on world building, I mean HOW. It makes no sense because that\’s the key element of fantasy novels. LOL I remember us talking about Delirium, I liked the first one but after the 2nd and all the reviews on the 3rd I don\’t think I\’ll ever return to it. Thank you lovely!

  2. lydiaisawriter

    Omg. This sounds like such rubbish. Also someone needs to tell that girl something has gone seriously wrong if she is inhaling the condom. What a weird description! I would love to be around the see people's faces as they were reading it for the first time, haha.
    My recent post After Alice

  3. HAHA I love the picture that you added Jeann! It's like magical tentacles all over again. 😀 This book sounds extremely disappointing, and I'm glad I never had the heart to pick it up. Honestly I'm getting really mundane/lackluster vibes from it, especially with the bland characters. Neither girl sounds appealing to me actually, and I can see how underwhelming the supposed big point of the story could be. Don't think I will be picking up a Lauren Oliver book anytime soon.

    • HAHAH thanks Aila, lol those tentacles are so hilarious. I cant believe the next Lady Helen will be here soon! Yeah, the characters were just so bland I really couldn't get into it you know?

  4. Jackie

    Ah…This post is refreshing because I always feel like an outsider because I think Lauren Oliver is JUST OKAY. I mean, I genuinely loved Before I Fall, but I couldn't make it through Delirium (Dystopians are just not my thing). That being said, the IDEA behind Replica is pretty awesome. I mean ONE book that you can read in multiple ways? That's kind of ingenious. It's a bummer that its execution was lacking though…
    My recent post Keeping Cozy with the Reading Nook Blend

    • Yeah, I\’m the same with you and I was hesitant on reading this one but it came highly recommended lol. I love the idea but the story itself was so lacklustre.

  5. Lol. I saw your IG post about that quote and yeah. Gross. Who's swallowed a condom before? And what kind of freaky shit are you into that you would know what that's like? LMAO.

    Anyway, I bought a copy because it was pretteh. I don't know when I'm going to get into it because I have a feeling it will confuse me, first of all.

    • LOL yeah best not to think about the quote so much because it's so weird HAHAHA. It IS absolutely gorgeous, which is why I picked it up, but yeah too bad it doesn't match up for me anyway.

  6. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    Oh man, that weird ass line is back ahahaha! I bought this book hoping it would blow my mind (have yet to read a Lauren Oliver book, but saw the trailer for that movie adapted from one of her books), but now I feel disappointed after reading your review. The concept is sooo cool, but it's a little annoying to hear that the author completely butchered the execution. Sigh. Thanks for the honest review! x

  7. Yeah, I only picked it up because Jenna raved about it but sadly, it wasn't my thing. I hated Panic and Rooms myself lol! I don't think I'll pick up anymore.

  8. Oh, sorry to hear you didn’t like Replica, Jeann. Jenna put this book on my radar; she enjoyed this story as I’m sure you know. I don’t like third person perspective either, and I haven’t realized this book was written in such way. I understand your issues with this book, but I actually like stories that focus on a romance. I haven’t read anything by Lauren Oliver, probably I start with Delirium. PS. I’ve seen your update about “inhaling a condom” and I had the same reaction.
    My recent post Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake. That time when you relate to heroine’s parents.

    • YES Jenna's raving about it actually made me pick it up but it was definitely not my thing. I don't mind third person perspective but it just felt really forced in this one. I'm definitely pickier about my romance than most!

  9. Sorry that this didn't work for you, Jeann! I read it aaaages ago and must admit that I quite enjoyed it, though I did mention in my review that without the gimmick I don't think the book would be as good because the plot was quite average and the characters weren't particularly engaging. I wonder if I had seen that condom line on my copy – I had an ARC and don't remember that line, but it's entirely possible that I missed it. D:

    • Yeah, I thought it would be more exciting with the overlapping storylines but they were both dull and repetitive. I have an ARC too and it was in there – I also asked if it was in the finished copy and it made it there lol.

  10. Okay HOW did I miss the condom comment!? I read this book, it should have been like, alarming to me too!? Maybe I was too bored to notice? I actually generally LOVE Lauren Oliver, and yet… this wasn't the best for me either. Maybe 3 stars? I think the only GOOD thing was that it didn't seem as long as I thought it would, but then, maybe I was subconsciously skimming, since I totally missed this condom inhalation snippet. Legitimately going to look this up RIGHT NOW. YEP, there it is. Seriously, HOW did I miss that gem!? (No pun intended.)

    Anyway, yeah, I think that the whole "unique" format thing took away from the story, and it was dull because of it. Sorry that it didn't work out better for you either. I am not even sure I want to read the sequel because… it's like TWO more books, and whyyyy? Great review!
    My recent post Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

    • LOL I think I listed the page number on Twitter too because it was so weird. I was like WTF?! Anyway, I definitely started skimming towards the end. It all just fell flat for me sadly. Yeah, I guess some people enjoy it but it's not for us I guess!

    • Glad to hear you ended up enjoying it Lauren! I guess I don't have high expectations for her books anymore. The quote is so weird, I was like "how can I continue reading after this" hahaha.

  11. Greg

    I read this in the alternating chapters format too, and I'm glad I did. Although I agree it did feel repetitive at times. I love clones so any story w/ them gets my attention, but like you said, I would have liked more info on the program, and was disappointed when Haven blew up- I thought we'd get more peeks inside. 🙂 I liked this one a little more (3 stars maybe), but I also agree with a lot of what you said. Such an intriguing premise, kind of a gutsy way to write a book, and I wanted it to work but it only somewhat did.

    Nice review!
    My recent post Bookcover Spotlight #75

    • Yeah, I did feel like if I read one side and then the other it wouldn't be as enjoyable you know? Clones are so fascinating, but yeah there just wasn't much to it I'm afraid. Thanks Greg!

  12. Hahaha I didn't even realize this quote was, well… wow, indeed it's a bit disturbing, ahah. I read this book and I have to admit I really enjoyed it, but I loved all of Lauren Oliver's books. But I do see where you are coming from, and it's refreshing to hear your criticism about it, it makes me think about the story a bit differently now, so thank you! 🙂 Now that I come to think of it, I agree that there could have been more action in the book. I'm hoping to discover more about clones and Haven in the sequel. Great review, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post Review: The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner

    • Hahah yeah, I still can't get over that quote lol. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, the clones part was definitely interesting even though I was disappointed with it.

    • I know, I'm kind of glad I did end up reading both sides concurrently because it would be kind of boring reading one and then the other. Thanks Grace!

  13. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Well that is unfortunate! Because the clone concept is really cool!
    I've been struggling with Lauren Oliver's books too ): I really liked Before I Fall and Delirium, but everything hasn't been measuring up which is too bad because I did really enjoy her writing!
    Haha, I don't know how I feel about that comment…

    Great review, Jeann! I think I'll skip this for now.
    My recent post Blog Tour: Snowbound at Christmas by J. Ryan, L. Riley, & M. Yates

    • Yeah, I liked Delirium but that's the only one. I don't think I would pick up anything else because it's always been disappointing and life is too short for books like that!

  14. Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    Yikes ! I'm sorry you didn't lie this. When first heard of it the concept sounded SO appealing but as time went by my excitement died down because I remembered that I didn't like any Lauren Oliver book before that. So… I don't know, I WILL read it at some point, just not anytime soon.
    Wonderful Review 😀
    My recent post TAG #26: The Emoji Book Tag

    • Yeah, I was totally swayed by the concept but it just wasn't my thing in the end. I know what you mean though Fadwa, I haven't been a fan of her books lately. Thanks lovely!

    • LOL yeah it was really disturbing XD and kind of hilarious. I thought it was a cool concept, until I got annoyed with flipping it around constantly.

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