The Similars, Rebecca Hanover

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“If we don’t have control over our own DNA, we have no control over our destiny”

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer. Then she meets Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

* *
2 / 5

If I were to describe The Similars in one word it would have to be “bizarre”. This book is chock-a-block full of clones, scientific plots, secret islands, suspicious car crashes, and a strong contender for the weirdest love-triangle I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. The idea was fun but the execution was clunky.

Emma is the daughter of a rich man and she attends the elite boarding school, Darkwood Academy. At the start of the summer her best friend, Oliver, had died, leaving her alone, grieving, and confused. Understandably, she couldn’t care less about the new school year, even though this year features six (possibly illegal) clones. At least, she doesn’t care until she comes face to face with Levi, who is an identical copy of her dead best friend.

“The Similars are beautiful and lithe and fiercely confident. But they are also, somehow, inhuman”

I loved the idea. I’m a sucker for boarding-school settings and this one went the whole hog complete with an elite secret group and even more secret initiations. I liked the high-tech setting and the parallels that were drawn between immigration in the real world and the issues of clone rights in the book. I thought it was a solid idea.

I wasn’t so fond of the actual book. Initially, for the first fifty or so pages, I was totally hooked. A suspicious death, some clones, school drama? Consider me intrigued. But then my interest just dwindled as most of the characters turned out to be quite flat and everyone was doubled up because of the whole original/Similar thing. Then there was the entirely predictable relationship between Emma and Levi: first she hates him because he resembles her best friend, he hates her for not wanting to be around him. You can imagine how it goes, and it’s weird. The plot itself was … odd, featuring a top-secret island, some weird experimental stuff, and lots of bad decisions.

The Similars wasn’t exactly the book I was expecting and it didn’t work for me. There was more romance than I wanted (starring the main character, the dead best friend, and his clone) and the plot was disappointing.

My thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of The Similars. 

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