Sarah's Reviews > Beta
by Rachel Cohn
bookshelves: 2012, dystopian, netgalley-arc, favorites, ebook, 5-stars
The variety of topics addressed. What it means to be human, women's rights, coming-of-age, finding your own way, determining who you are as a person, technology ethics, rape and abortion--there are so many different interesting topics addressed in this book and they're all interwoven into the story so well, it's unbelievable.
The cloning process. To make a clone, the original person must die. Clones are then branded with two face tattoos: one side with a tattoo indicating they are a clone, the other with a tattoo indicating their job or function. These little elements of the world Cohn builds are what take this from being a good story to being a great story.
The flashbacks. The flashbacks Elysia has of her First's life that slowly reveal the origins of our narrator were very well done and interesting. I didn't feel like I was reading an info-dump, I was experiencing someone's memories.
The almost love triangle. The competing love interests both develop in their own unique ways and feel natural--no instalove, yay! The fact that both boys are right for Elysia for their own reasons while still having their issues and obstacles made it harder for me to pick a side than it normally is in YA paranormal romances. To craft the story in this way was not a small feat, although when reading the story it feels natural.
The abrupt personality change. During the first half of the book, Elysia has a deep hunger to find out as much as she possibly can about her First--her memories, her death, her family, everything. Near the end of the book, this abruptly changes and Elysia wants to have her own personality and life. I understand this is a sign of her evolution as a character and her understanding that she is a person, too, and her life does not have to be a direct continuation of her First's life, it just felt very abrupt when it happened as I was reading.
This book is great for teens on a number of different levels. From the variety of topics it addresses to the strong female heroine, this is by far one of the best books I have read so far this year. Can't wait to read the next in the series!