Gemma and Lyra face new identity challenges in RINGER!
Lauren Oliver‘s Replica series is uniquely told tale. The book has two narrators, Lyra and Gemma, whose stories can be read three ways: Lyra’s story, Gemma’s story, or for the wider picture, both stories together.
The dark sci-fi duology comes to its conclusion in October with Ringer, which follows Lyra and Gemma as they discover there are still more dangers from The Haven Institute out there and work to save themselves and others from the nefarious corporation.
Epic Reads has a first look at the beginnings of both Lyra and Gemma’s stories in a new excerpt. Take a look!
Lyra had started collecting things. When she saw something she liked, she pocketed it, and usually by the end of the day she was weighty with the sloughed-off skin of someone else’s life: losing lottery tickets, Snapple bottle caps, ATM receipts, pens, chewed-up foil that came off the cheap bottles of wine sold down at Two Brothers Beer & Liquor.
In the privacy of her small room in the double-wide trailer gifted to them by Gemma’s father, which to Lyra, formerly known as 24, felt very luxurious, she shook out her new belongings on the comforter and tried to listen, tried to hear them speak to her of this new world and her place in it. Her old belongings had spoken: the bed at Haven had whispered, and the Invacare Snake Tubing asked questions, the snobby syringes had insulted her with their sharp little bite, and the long-nosed, greedy biopsy needles used for marrow extraction had always wanted gossip, more and more of it.
But these new objects told her nothing, spoke of nothing. Or maybe it was just that the outside world was so noisy she couldn’t hear.
She was no longer a human model. She was a she, not an it. But it was now, here, with a room of her own and photographs from her earliest childhood Scotch-taped to the walls, that she didn’t know who or what she was.
Here she could wake when she wanted and eat what she liked, although since she’d never prepared her own food, she and Caelum, who had been 72 until she named him, mostly subsisted on cans of soda and granola bars Rick bought from the grocery store. They did not know how to fry an egg. Rick taught her to use a can opener, but the microwave bothered her; its humming energy reminded her of Mr. I.
Caelum spent hours sitting cross-legged on the couch, watching whatever channel happened to be on when he first pressed the power button: news channels, movie channels, and his favorite, the Home Shopping Network. Lyra had learned to read. Caelum learned how to watch. He learned the world through the things it bought and sold.
He did not want to learn how to read.
There were sixty-two trailers in the Winston-Able Mobile Home Park, and the whole thing could have been slotted down comfortably in two of Haven’s wings. But to Lyra it seemed infinitely bigger, because it was unknown, because of all the things she’d never seen before: wind chimes and old Halloween decorations and cars on cinder blocks and pink plastic flamingos; lawn chairs and barbecues.
Caelum stayed inside and watched the world through the pinhole of the TV screen, and Lyra walked for hours a day and put things in her pockets and sorted through them like an archeologist trying to decode hieroglyphs. They were both trying to learn in their own way, she thought, but she didn’t like it even so. Sameness was the only way she had ever understood who she was. What she was. Now, everything had changed. He was inside, and she was outside, and that made them different—at least, during the day.
Night came again and again like a tide foaming over the trailers and the cars and the scrubby trees, and turning it all to the same smudge of darkness, rubbing shapes into shadows. The night broke Lyra and Caelum’s separateness. It collapsed the space between them; they fell into its depth and landed, blind, together.
Ringer hits bookshelves on October 3, 2017. You can pre-order it now via Amazon.
Like its ambitious companion novel, Replica, this far-reaching novel by powerhouse bestselling author Lauren Oliver digs deep into questions of how to be a human being in a world where humanity cannot be taken for granted.
In the world outside the Haven Institute, Lyra and Caelum are finding it hard to be human—and neither of them knows where they belong or who they can trust. When Caelum leaves without warning to pursue the dream of a place he belongs, Lyra follows him, convinced that together they will hunt down a cure for the illness that’s slowly consuming her mind. But what they uncover is a shocking connection to their past—even as their future seems in danger of collapsing.
After discovering the uncomfortable truth about her connection to the Haven Institute, Gemma struggles to return to her normal life. But when she learns that her controlling and powerful father has new plans for Lyra and Caelum, Gemma and her boyfriend, Pete, leave in the middle of the night to warn them of the danger they face.When an untimely accident derails them, they are mistaken for the escaped replicas and seized by strangers hired to capture them. The Haven Institute wasn’t destroyed after all, and now Gemma is the one behind the walls.