REPLICA by Lauren Oliver hits shelves on Tuesday, and the newly released excerpts set the book as both exciting and mysterious.
Replica, the newest science fiction novel from Lauren Oliver, is about two girls, Gemma and Lyra, who strive to uncover the secrets of a research institution, called Haven. The mystery surrounding this institute is said to have secrets that “will change the lives of both girls forever.”
However, the coolest thing about this book is the fact that readers will be able to choose how they want to read Replica. HarperTeen describes Replica as two “sub-novels in one.” We’ll be able to either read each girl’s stories separately and independently or as alternating chapters of one story.
Excerpt One – Lyra
On very still nights sometimes we can hear them chanting, calling for us to die. We can see them, too, or at least make out the halo of light cast up from the shores of Barrel Key, where they must be gathered, staring back across the black expanse of water toward the fence and the angular white face of the Haven Institute. From that distance it must look like a long green jaw set with miniature teeth.
Monsters, they call us. Demons.
Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they’re right.
Lyra woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone was sitting on her chest. Then she realized it was just the heat—swampy and thick, like the pressure of somebody’s hand. The power had gone down.
Something was wrong. People were shouting. Doors slammed. Footsteps echoed in the halls. Through the windows, she saw the zigzag pattern of flashlights cutting across the courtyard, illuminating silvery specks of rain and the stark-white statue of a man, reaching down toward the ground, as though to pluck something from the earth. The other replicas came awake simultaneously. The dorm was suddenly full of voices, thick with sleep. At night it was easier to speak. There were fewer nurses to shush them.
“Be quiet.” That was Cassiopeia. “I’m listening.”
The door from the hall swung open, so hard it cracked against the wall. Lyra was dazzled by a sudden sweep of light.
“They all here?” It sounded like Dr. Coffee Breath.
“I think so.” Nurse Don’t-Even-Think-About-It’s voice was high and terrified. Her face was invisible behind the flashlight beam. Lyra could make out just the long hem of her nightgown and her bare feet.
“Well, count them.”
“We’re all here,” Cassiopeia responded. One of them gasped. But Cassiopeia was never afraid to speak up. “What’s going on?”
“It must be one of the males,” Dr. Coffee Breath said to Nurse Don’t-Even-Think-About-It, who was really named Maxine. “Who’s checking the males?”
“What’s wrong?” Cassiopeia repeated. Lyra found herself touching the windowsill, the pillow, the headboard of bed number 24. Her things. Her world.
At that moment, the answer came to them: voices, shrill, calling to one another. Code Black. Code Black. Code Black. Almost at the same time, the backup generator kicked on. The lights came up, and with them, the alarms. Sirens wailed. Lights f lashed in every room. Everyone squinted in the sudden brightness. Nurse Don’t-Even-Think-About-It stumbled backward, raising an arm as though to shield herself from view.
“Stay here,” Dr. Coffee Breath said. Lyra wasn’t sure whether he was speaking to Nurse Don’t-Even-Think-About-It or to the replicas. Either way, there wasn’t much choice. Dr. Coffee Breath had to let himself into the hall with a code. Nurse Don’t-Even-Think-About-It stayed for only a moment, shivering, her back to the door, as if she expected that at any second the girls might make a rush at her. Her flashlight, now subsumed by the overheads, cast a milk-white ring on the tile floor.
“Ungrateful,” she said, before she, too, let herself out. Even then they could see her through the windows overlooking the hall, moving back and forth, occasionally touching her cross.
“What’s Code Black?” Rose asked, hugging her knees to her chest. They’d run out of stars ever since Dr. O’Donnell, the only staff member Lyra had never nicknamed, had stopped giving them lessons. Instead the replicas selected names for themselves from the collection of words they knew, words that struck them as pretty or interesting. There was Rose, Palmolive, and Private. Lilac Springs and Tide. There was even a Fork.
As usual, only Cassiopeia—number 6, one of the oldest replicas besides Lyra—knew.
“Code Black means security’s down,” she said. “Code Black means someone’s escaped.”
Excerpt Two – Gemma
Escape: That was what Gemma dreamed of, especially on nights like this one, when the moon was so big and bright it looked like it was a set piece in a movie, hooked outside her window on a curtain of dark night sky. In movies, teenagers were always sneaking out. They’d wait until their parents went to bed, ease out from under their blankets already dressed in miniskirts and tank tops, slide down the stairs and unlatch the lock and pop! They’d burst out into the night, like balloons squeezing through a narrow space only to explode.
Other teenagers, Gemma guessed, didn’t have Rufus: a seventy-five-pound retriever who seemed to consist entirely of fur, tongue, and vocal cords.
“Shhh,” Gemma hissed, as Rufus greeted her at the bottom of the stairs, wiggling so hard she was surprised he didn’t fall over.
“Are you all right?”
She’d been awake for only a minute. But already her mother was at the top of the stairs, squinting because she didn’t have her contacts in, dressed in an old Harvard T-shirt and sweatpants.
“I’m fine, Mom.” Gemma grabbed a glass from the cabinet. She would never sneak out. Not that she had anywhere to sneak out to, or anyone to sneak out with, since April’s parents kept her just as leashed up as Gemma’s did. Still, she imagined for a second that she was halfway to the door, dressed in tight jeans and a shirt that showed off her boobs, the only part of her body she actually liked, on her way to hop in her boyfriend’s car, instead of standing in a darkened kitchen in her pajamas at eleven p.m. on a Wednesday night while Rufus treated her ankles to one of his signature lick-jobs. “Just needed some water.”
“Are you dehydrated?” Her mom said dehydrated as if it meant dying.
“I’m fine.” Gemma rattled the ice in her glass as she returned up the stairs, deliberately avoiding her mom’s eyes. “Go back to bed, okay?”
Her mom, Kristina, hesitated. “Let me know if you need anything, okay?”
“Uh-huh.” Gemma shut her bedroom door in Rufus’s face, not caring that he immediately began to whine. She set the water on her bedside table and flopped back onto the bed. The moon made squares on her bare legs, cutting her skin into portions of light and dark. She briefly let herself imagine what Chloe DeWitt and Aubrey Connelly were doing at that very second. She’d always been told she had a vivid imagination, but she just couldn’t picture it. What was it like to be so totally, fundamentally, ruthlessly normal? What did they think about? What were their problems? Did they have any problems?
Rufus was still whining. Gemma got out of bed and let him in, sighing as he bounded immediately onto the bed and settled down exactly in the center of her pillow. She wasn’t tired yet, anyway. She sat down instead at the vanity that had once belonged to her mother, an ornate Victorian antique she’d loved as a child and hadn’t been able to tell Kristina she’d outgrown. She’d never been able to tell her parents much of anything.
The moon made hollows of her eyes in the mirror, turned her skin practically translucent. She wondered if this was how her parents always saw her: a half ghost, hovering somewhere between this life and the next.
But she wasn’t sick anymore. She hadn’t been sick in years, not since she was a little kid. Still, they treated her as if she might suddenly blow away, like a human house of cards, disturbed by the lightest touch.
She herself could barely remember all those years of sickness—the hospital, the operations, the treatments.
Coping, her therapist said. An adaptive defense.
She did remember a garden—and a statue, too. A kneeling god, she thought, but she couldn’t be sure, with one arm raised to the sky, and the other reaching toward the ground, as though to draw something magic from the earth.
About the Book:
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…
Replica by Lauren Oliver hits shelves on October 4.