From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose 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 research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here again, with another review!
“A strange and baffling truth: that the people we’re supposed to know best can turn out to be strangers, and that near strangers can feel so much like home.”
Stars (Out of 10): 6.5/10 Stars
Overall Thoughts: When I heard about the original plan and idea for the book, I was already super hyped to read it. Yes, multiple POVs have been a super common thing in novels, but this was advertised as being completely different, and offering many ways to read the book. And while this was true, and this book was more than a book with just multiple POVs, it felt like the other ways you could read the book weren’t necessarily as good as just reading Lyra and Gemma back and forth. It felt like whichever POV I read first would be more boring, or filled with more information holes, than the second one would be (having read them one at a time.) I read Lyra in it’s entirety first, and felt that, while getting tons of information, it was not as exciting and interesting as Gemma’s POV later, where I had all the background info given to me. It does seem unique in the fact that it can provide many different experiences for readers, even if some of those experiences might be as good as others.
The Good: Interesting plot (with very interesting and unsuspecting twists, at least the way I read it.) Characters also felt very ‘real,’ and like actual products of their situations.
The Bad: First POV felt boring, as explained above. In addition, ending of Lyra’s POV, while sweet and cute between them all, didn’t feel like an actual ending. Had I read hers last, I would have probably felt put off, since Gemma’s felt like it actually did have an ending.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
The Characters: I did really end up liking the characters. They felt real, and I loved how it was obvious that the different situations these characters were born into affected them. Lyra and 72 actually acted like they knew nothing of the world, and how they believed Haven worked affected how much they trusted others. In addition, everyone who was potentially a replica struggled with their self worth, Gemma less so, with 72 never having had anyone care about him, and therefore suffering the most.
The Plot: I enjoyed the twists we saw throughout the entire novel, and how the way we read them affected it. We had “real humans” truly beings clones, or clones truly being “real humans,” and that seemed to bring in an entirely new discussion and plotline of self worth and our perception of our own into the novel. In addition, the uncovering of the secrets at Haven was pretty cool, even if the way the book was read may have made that “uncovering” better or worse.
The Favorite Character: Pete