I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Series: The Similars #1
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Published by Sourcebooks on January 1, 2019
Also by this author: The Pretenders
Format: eARC (352 pages) • Source: Publisher
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When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.
The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.
Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face.
Many thanks to Sourcebooks for sending over this free package of goodies and a finished copy of THE SIMILARS for me!
Initial Excitement & Summary
Clearly I was excited to read this one, because I decided to go for it back in early June! I was stuck in sort of a reading slump because I binge-read too many contemporaries in a row. Usually I need to mix in a few different genres throughout the month so I don’t fully burn out. I knew I needed something sci-fi or paranormal (because reading THE COMPLICATION at one point the previous month reset my burnout too). I loved the idea of clones coming to a school without a lot of explanation and learning why they were so special. It was set sort of in the near-future; everyone has fancy “phones” with digital assistants
Storytelling, Setting, & Characters
There’s actually a lot to unpack with this book and truthfully I’m not smart enough to do it! There were a lot of correlations to today’s society, where people who are “different” can be ostracized for all the wrong reasons. There are growing hate movements based on leadership today and a lot of that was reflected in this book through clone rights. It was fascinating but didn’t feel like a forced theme to make a bigger picture, if that makes sense? These messages didn’t take me out of the story at all.
Hanover did a really great job of keeping me guessing and keeping me reading. I almost read it all in one sitting but I had to go to sleep when I had 20 minutes left. Literally my eyes kept closing on me, even though I wanted to finish it off! I kept coming up with theories… the best part is that some came true and some didn’t. There were so many secrets and twists that you’d think you figured it out completely when something else would come to light.
The Darkwood boarding school was an awesome setting, but I happen to love those so much. Adding in some of the creepy science fiction elements made me even more hooked. It was fun to see references to New England, since it was in Vermont and they also had Bar Harbor get involved for a minute.
From a character perspective: Emma was a little bland for me (more on that later), but the Similars were fascinating characters. I loved exploring how DNA can make people similar but personalities can be shaped by your environment. There were many reveals about the characters throughout the story, which I loved.
I can’t think of a lot of negatives in this one, aside from what I discuss in the ending part below. Emma was a decent enough main character but I didn’t love her or anything. I didn’t feel overly connected to her overall and sometimes she was being a liiiiittle thick. She asked questions where the answers seemed obvious to the reader and I was wondering how she was fifth in her class?? I think she just didn’t WANT to believe certain things when they were right in front of her.
Okay I have a lot of complicated thoughts on the ending. When I read this back in June, there wasn’t an announced sequel anywhere and it ended on a major cliffhanger IMO. This is the kind of story that genuinely needs a second book because there are way too many loose ends. I got confirmation from the author that there IS a second book planned for January 2020!!
In general though, cliffhanger/sequel questions aside, there were some elements at the end that felt weird to me. It wasn’t bad or anything but I’m not sure – some of the events felt squished in there and done a little too quickly. There was a lot introduced in the last 10-20% of the book that caught me off guard.
I would say the two comp titles that immediately come to mind are BRAVE NEW GIRL meets THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR. There’s futuristic technology (but not tooooo much), clones, and a lot of secrets. If you’re in the mood for a page-turner that you could read in one sitting, this one should do the trick.
Thoughts in a Gif
|Plot & Premise|
|Pacing & Flow|
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