Seeing Double

ReplicaReplica by Jack Heath

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jack Heath sent me this book as a review copy, so I want to be up front about that, but it takes nothing away from the fact that this is a FABULOUS read. I finished this in one day, so it was definitely a page-turner.
Chloe, the protagnoist, is thrown into a bizarre and dangerous situation.
These are the first three paragraphs:

I can’t move my legs.
No matter how hard I puch or pull, nothing moves below my waist. It’s like my feet are encased in concrete. When I try to reach down, searching for the problem, I discover that my arms are frozen too.
My shoulders won’t flex. My fingers won’t bend. I can’t even turn my head.
Someone has glued me to the wall.

If that doesn’t grab you from the gate, you don’t have a pulse. Chloe. the Chloe who speaks to us, is a replica. It is not a spoiler to reveal this. The real questions are why does she exist at all? Why does “real Chloe” feel she is being followed and in danger? How will Chloe function with the parents and friends of “real Chloe”?
There is also a plot in here about a technological weapon, and those who want it (some bad dudes, for sure), but I found it to be the less interesting part of the story for me (sorry Jack) even though it was well built and executed.
This novel raises all sorts of questions about what makes us, us. Is it exisiting as human, or can a copy of us, with all our memories, also be “us”? For me, that was the most interesting aspect of this tale and the one that would lend itself to study as a class novel. I cared about Chloe, even when I learned she was a replica, because she is vulnerable. It seems strange to think of a mechanical being as having weaknesses (in the age where we have had the Terminator), but it was this that kept me reading right to the end.
I would recommend this for anyone over the age of 13 who loves a suspenseful ride, with a bit to think about on the side. It was definitely worth the wait, Jack!


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