Title: The Similars
Author: Rebecca Hanover
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Page count: 352 pages
Genres: Young adult, Science Fiction
My Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
“I stop in my tracks as I arrive at our old spot. I’m not alone. They’re ten, fifteen feet away, at most. Their presence — their existence — sends my heart hammering in my chest. I freeze, watching, observing. I don’t think they can see me, not yet — but I can see them.”
When I first came across The Similars, I instantly was drawn to the cover and the optical illusion. It has a type of cover you don’t see very often in YA. And then I read the summary and I just knew this was a book I had to read. And I was not disappointed.
The Similars had surprising twists and turns, where even some of the twists caught me off guard that I literally went “holy crap!” And trust me, for me, that doesn’t happen very often. I’m usually very good at predicting what is going to happen, but I missed some of the shocking discoveries in this book. The last one hundred pages of the story, I was gripping the book, hoping that the clues I desperately needed to solve this mystery would surface. Most did, but the author did a marvelous job at revealing those clues only when they needed to be revealed. And that made for a very intriguing story.
The idea behind The Similars is brilliant and wonderfully unlike anything I have read in the YA genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the aspect of the six clones and what they represented in a world that didn’t want anything to do with them. And the dynamic between Emma and Levi brought the story to a whole new level, in the sense of how their relationship evolved over the story.
Like the summary states, Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars. She doesn’t want to constantly be reminded of the best friend she lost. But every mystery she uncovers links back to the Similars, and she soon realizes she has no choice but to become involved in their lives. Over the course of a year (or close to a year), Emma unearths dark secrets about the Similars, which tests her loyalty to those closest to her and puts a strain on the relationships she has with each Similar.
Rebecca Hanover’s writing will pull you in and keep you planted in the story’s roots until the very last line. And even after that, you’ll be craving more of Emma’s story. Hanover’s storytelling was captivating and so on-point, in the sense that she only gives the readers enough details to try to uncover each mystery before Emma does. I wholeheartedly enjoyed Emma’s voice and how her opinions slowly changed overtime. It was not an instant switch of emotions. Emma is easily a character that will charm readers, with her strong-headedness and personality.
“The boy is Oliver–only he is not. he is, and he isn’t….He has every feature that Oliver has–had. Only none of the memories. None of the stuff of our lives, the stuff that made us us. This boy has none of it; he knows none of it. Because Oliver is dead, and this, most definitely, is not him.”
And Levi. Oh, my sweet, sweet Levi. Levi has quickly become one of my favorite characters. In his own way, he’s charismatic and alluring, which Emma soon realizes as she becomes tangled in the Similars’ lives. He may look like Emma’s dead best friend, but he is in no way like him. Levi is one of those complicated souls that easily captures your attention. I looked forward to his scenes in the book, not just because he added a type of complication to the story, but because he swiftly became my favorite character in the story.
How The Similars ended left me open mouthed and going, “well, where’s the rest?” I need to know what happens after that ending, so I cannot wait for book two.
The Similars hits bookshelves January 1, 2019.
All quotes are from the advanced reader copy and may not appear in the final novel.