Ringer by Lauren Oliver
Publication date: October 3, 2017
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Lyra’s and Gemma’s stories can be read separately—with either story first—or in alternating chapters, but no matter which way you turn the book, the two distinct stories combine into one breathtaking experience for both heroines and readers alike.
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review.
Just like the first book, Replica, there are two stories that revolve around each other. You can read each story separately, or flip back and forth between them. With the first book, I didn’t think it really mattered which way you did it, I chose to read them as two separate stories, but felt that it would have been better to switch back and forth. Because I had an e-book version for this one, I just felt it was easiest to read it straight through instead of trying to flip back and forth. I wish that I had taken the trouble to read it as one story, there is less interaction between Gemma and Lyra, but especially near the end, what each one was doing really impacted the other’s story.
I really enjoyed reading this second book about Gemma and Lyra. They are both such interesting characters and both have gone through a lot that has truly shaped them into who they are. Most of the story is still told through these two girls, but there are a few chapters told from Gemma’s mom’s point of view and a few from a police officer that helps out Lyra and Caelum. Having these few chapters from someone else’s view was interesting and gave a new perspective on what was happening. Gemma and Lyra are not always reliable narrators, not because they are untrustworthy, but because neither of them are ever told the whole truth of what is really going on. I liked Lyra’s story a little better than Gemma’s this time. I found Gemma’s story a little bit weaker in plot and some things that went on were a little bit unbelievable as well.
There is a new replica, Calliope, that is one of Gemma’s clones. She was an interesting character that I didn’t like very much. I also think there were a few chapters from her point of view as well, but it might have been Lyra remembering things about her that I’m thinking of. I read this pretty quickly and so I can’t remember for sure. At first I felt sorry for her, but as the story unfolds you really have to wonder about nature vs nurture, and how children who grow up in horrible conditions can turn out to be horrible people. She ends up making Gemma’s and Pete’s lives miserable.
The relationships between Gemma and Pete and Lyra and Caelum are very well done. It is always so nice to read a YA with out heavy handed romance mucking up the plot. Both couples are very sweet with each other. Caelum and Lyra’s relationship is innocent and so wonderful that their ending makes my heart ache.
Speaking of plot, both stories are very well told and at times are quite beautiful, especially the endings. There were some things that I felt, especially on Gemma’s side, that didn’t quite mesh up well. I also still have questions about the whole Haven project and what happened with the replica’s that was never really satisfied. I also really want to know what will happen with Caelum eventually once Lyra is gone. It is nice that even though the moral issues of cloning and profiting from them is there in the story, you are really left to draw your own conclusions and feelings about it.
Even with the minor plot flaws and some left over questions this is an outstanding conclusion to a fantastic science fiction story. I love the format as well, and being able to have the choice on how to read it.