The overlapping narratives even repeat the same events, yet those moments feel entirely different because a new character is living the experience. Lyra's tale begins at Florida's Haven Institute, a scientific installation housing generations of "replicas." Those living on the compound only interact with the medical personnel and guards who boat to the island daily. Men and women are housed separatedly with little or no interaction with each other, and the research facility's human specimens have limited understanding of media, books, or modern conveniences.
Number 72 escapes the institute just prior to a massive explosion that destroys much of the facility and sends its surviving inhabitants scattering to the shelter of the nearby swamps. It is there that Lyra's life begins to intersect with 72, Gemma, and the world beyond Haven.
Gemma has been plagued by medical issues her entire life, and when she is nearly abducted by a stranger she embarks on a journey to determine her father's connection to the Haven Institute. That experience results in the deterioration of the relationship with her best friend, April, and the establishing of a new friendship with an outsider from her class that she had previously always referred to as Perv. With his help, she heads out to Florida without her parents' permission and has a fateful meeting at the explosion site with Jake Witz, another teen determined to uncover the truth about Haven Institute.
Lauren Oliver's Replica will appeal to fans of her Before I Fall, Panic, and Delirium series, yet this novel's unique construction and action-packed narratives left me eager to read the next installment. Gemma, Lyra, Jake, Pete, and April are characters that have stayed with me; somehow they manage to captivate the reader with their fearlessness and commitment to what is right.