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.
Rebecca Hanover is the NY Times bestselling author of THE SIMILARS series. She earned a bachelor of arts from Stanford University in English and drama and won an Emmy as a staff writer on the CBS daytime drama Guiding Light. (It's surprisingly heavy, and has scary sharp wings).
Her adult debut, THE LAST APPLICANT, launches in 2023.
Rebecca lives in San Francisco with her husband and three kiddos, where she enjoys matcha lattes, hoodies, and a complete lack of seasons. She aspires to attend an actual hot Pilates class one day.
So...wow, I really didn't like this. It covered way too much, it felt like the bad parts of Twilight for a hot portion, it was extremely info-dumpy and not descriptive enough in different sections, and its characters made no sense. But, I read the entire thing and did have authentic moments of enjoyment. What the heck was this book?
MILD SPOILERS BELOW.
Concept: ★★★★★ Pacing: ★★ Character's inner logic: ★ Romance: ★ Did it do what it said it was going to do: ★★ 1/2
The blurb says The Similars is about a junior named Emma navigating Darkwood Academy after the death of her best friend, Oliver. The twist is, there are six clones at the school attending at the same time as their original copies, and one of the six is a clone of Oliver. They seem to have ulterior motives. Emma obviously has feelings about this.
At the outset, it looks really good: elite academy, the clone debate, friend group drama, secrets, mystery. I tend to LOVE these set-ups. So The Similars started out strong, and I kind of assumed I was going to rate it high because I am trash for these tropes. Not that this matters, but I really did look for reasons to love this.
The main problem with The Similars is a lack of consistent pacing and some borderline nonsensical character developments.
The Pacing: The Similars spends quite a lot of time info-dumping. At the beginning, this is fine. My main problem with this info dump vs. actual plot is that it continues throughout the entire book. We had portions of extreme info dump, and then went several chapters at a normal "in the present" plot pace. Then we'll get another info dump, which often radically altered the book's plot and motivations. It felt like I kept getting on and off a roller coaster with tons of spins, and it was entirely based on random whims, not breadcrumbs.
The Characters: -Emma is supposedly grieving over her best friend Oliver. But then—with very little plot progression—she finds herself immediately trusting/befriending his clone, Levi? And insta-love happens literally with no warning. (Not a spoiler, it's in the blurb. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't expect it at figuratively page 1.)
-Emma's friend Pru—what? It's not Pru as a character, but what is done with her. Felt like an odd amount of time was spent on her and then the plot happened...
-The clones themselves. If you're expecting a nuanced discussion of clones, their rights, and their feelings...this is not it.
-The antagonist. Didn't get, understand, or want their character arc once I got it.
The Science: Suspend all beliefs. What isn't explained is often left with so many plot holes/loose ends that I just stopped conceptualizing it. Example of a loose end: Her bracelet AI, Dash, is seemingly gaining sentience at the beginning and Emma comments on this fact as if it is foreshadowing. Yeah, literally nothing happens with that. Why do the alluding?
However, after all of this negative feedback (I'm so sorry), I have to admit that I enjoyed it to some degree like a bad made-for-TV movie. It's entertaining in a "I can't believe this is happening like this" way, and it does have enough obvious red herrings to keep the mystery element entertaining.
Technology has advanced, allowing human cloning. When six human clones show up to a private school in Vermont, Emma freaks out. Everyone freaks out. One of them is a copy of her best friend Oliver, who died over the summer. So many smart questions were raised about the ethical questions of cloning, the rights of clones, inclusion, and the need to protect minors from the media, etc.
This was a fun, entertaining book with a cool sci-fi edge and lots of twists. What really works about this one is the pacing, which gets off to a quick start and doesn’t relent, and the fact that it asks smart questions. An enjoyable read!
Wow. That was a ride. Two words: Wig Snatched (I have a spoiler-y section at the end of this review. You have been warned!)
The Similars was full of twists and turns. As soon as you thought you had figured out what was happening something else happens and it totally changes everything. I don't understand why this book only has a 3.69 rating because I absolutely loved it. At first I wasn't really feeling it but, after that first plot twist I was captivated.
I loved how it was set at a boarding school, I love books that are set in boarding school, even if there aren't wizards or spells in this book I still liked it. I don't know boarding schools are just cool.
The Similars has such a cool concept and I think k his book was really well planned out and written. The plot moved fast and flowed at just the right pace. It was easy to get into and understand and it was so interesting. I love it. Age Rating: Ages 12-up (this is a Young Adult book) there is no swearing and there's a little bit of romance but no explicit scenes.
Overall I absolutely loved The Similars and I will definitely make everyone read it because it's so good. I loved the plot twists and how entertaining and unpredictable it was. 5 stars.
Now I'm going to get into more spoiler-y stuff so if you haven't read The Similars yet this part isn't for you.
--------------------------------------------------- Okay so I'm just going to dive right into these plot twists.
To be completely honest I had kind of already figured out that Oliver was still alive and that it was a clone that died and not Oliver, from the point where in Oliver's letter he mentioned going to Castor Island and meeting with Gravelle. However, the whole thing about John Underwood actually being Augustus Gravelle I did not see coming. And the whole thing with that research lab and those tests that he principal and headmaster where doin on the Similars...what is that about?? Also, I'm not really sure how I feel about Levi and Emma as a couple. And Emma is actually a clone too!!! And she didn't know! I mean we could all be clones too and we wouldn't even know? I thought that was just genius and really makes me excited for the next book in he series because I desperately need to know what happens next. What's going to happen to the rest of the clones? They still have tasks to do right? And what about Levi?
The premise of this story sounded unique and I was eager to get my hands on it. And for the first half or so of the book I was thoroughly enjoying it. With the sci-fi, mystery mix and a dash of romance, this seemed the beginning of a good YA series. But then things began to turn and I found myself rolling my eyes as The Similars fell into familiar YA traps: predictable twists and teens who can outsmart adults. I really struggled with the last 10-15% of the book. I think teens will enjoy this but I feel adults will share my sentiments more.
What an intriguing premise.... 6 human clones attending a prestigious boarding school, Darkwood Academy. I was excited to read this YA fantasy themed novel, BUT it failed to capture my attention or "wow" me.
I think my expectations were too high and I was craving more of a Stepford Wives type of scenario (full of suspense with a touch of horror). This one had some of the ingredients, but just fell flat for me.
Darkwood Academy has accepted six clones that are referred to as "the similars" and they are all clones of existing students. Creepy huh? When the original students see their clones, they are quite stunned.
There is a back story to the clones creation and we get the POV from one of the students, Emma who is mourning the death of a friend, Oliver. She learns that he has a clone, Levi and this is devastating news. I enjoyed some parts and wanted to see how the story would play out, but in the end it felt a bit one dimensional and lacking suspense.
Recommend for fans that are just looking for a fantasy read with a bit of a dystopian flavor.
Thanks to NG for my advanced Arc to read/review. Book is out in January 2019.
This was a book of halves for me. The first half was insightful, poignant, and extraordinarily enjoyable. An easy four stars. But the second half was disjointed, campy, and pedestrian. Two stars. So, the math wizard that I am, decided to average those two ratings and just call it even with the three stars.
The first half. Emmeline Chance is a young woman headed back to school following the death of her best friend. A death that was an apparent suicide. Wracked with feelings of guilt, remorse, loss, and that empty forward motion that can afflict the still-living, Emma is trying to just get through this first part of returning to a new year of school.
I felt the depth of Emma's emotions, the complexity with which Hanover approached this girl's recovery process. There was a thoughtful angle by the author which serves to immediately endear the reader to Emma. She was a likable person, too—as we soon learn about her attitude to the incoming clones who have dubbed themselves the Similars. She's accepting without it seeming to be simply feeding the plot, and she questions the clones without it appearing to be out of character.
Emma's interactions with Levi and the other Similars, her other classmates, and her inner dialogue were well-written and easily displayed Emma as a fully-fleshed out and unique individual. As the introduction to the Similars themselves progressed, and the story opened up more, I found myself completely immersed in this school and the world beyond. Emma's situation and how she tries to handle it evoked so much sympathy from me that I was connected to her from the get-go. I could not read that first half fast enough.
However.The second half. As the book's plot started to come together, filling in the missing or unknown information, and the larger conflict was explained, revealing the story's villain, the plausibility of this book's plot fell apart. The second half of the book felt off and disconnected from the first. I don't know which idea served as the springboard for the entire book, but they felt distinctly separate. There were moments in the second half of the book that made me feel that we were perhaps headed back in the right direction, but then something else would come up that was flat and lifeless. The villain was of a type. He wanted revenge from some past where he felt wronged, and this act and plan must've stunted his maturity and emotional growth, because he came off about as one-dimensional as you can get. He was villainous and almost let loose a maniacal, hand-wringing laugh by the time he came into the spotlight.
Deus ex machina. The technology in the first half is one thing . . . there are givens which you just accept. Like clones or the easy-to-follow personal electronic devices surrounding the people...no problem. Even when the mystery opens up, and what is old technology to Emma helps set the stage for just how technologically advanced her society is—all this is easy to accept. But once the villain comes on the scene, it appears to be no holds barred for highly improbable technology. I don't want to give away anything, which limits my ability to dissect, but it just felt as if there were suddenly limitless possibilities and these were being pelted at Emma without much explanation or reaction to fully impress the reader of the gravity of the situation. Plunk, here comes another out of this world technology!
The twists and turns. The first half didn't have much by way of revealing, just pacing alone wouldn't have allowed it, and I'm thankful that the course didn't vary from giving me a stellar first half. But what I assume were twists, turns, and reveals in the second half offered me no surprises and were predictable down to the end.
All in all, this was a fairly enjoyable book—with the understanding that the ending was predictable and the villain and his cackling monologuing did not impress me. As it stands, I have the slated sequel on my Someday list, but we'll see how it pans out before I go diving right into it. I may just still be curious enough about the overall plot to warrant a perusal. It remains to be seen.
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This affected neither my opinion of the book, nor the content of my review.
There's a lot to like in this book. The idea behind the story is pretty interesting. The plotline is the strongest point of the book. There are clones and boarding school and little twists and turns (both expected and unexpected). The Similars also has quite a lot of parallels to the 2016 US election and chellanges the topics of intolerance, bigotry and general small mindedness. As well as themes of humanity and identity. By the example of introducing clones into the society and how different people react to that.
I thought the concept of the story was interesting, but the execution made me have rather mixed feelings. Although this is the author's debut novel, and there's a lot to like here already, so I'm interested in the sequel and where it goes.
I don't think the time of the setting was specified, but it seems like the book takes place in the very near future. It's set in a boarding school that has always been known for its intellect and inclusivity. The story follows our main heroine Emma, who goes back to the school, stricken by the loss of her long time friend Oliver over the summer.
Cloning has been banned in the US, so it's even more of a scandal when six clones - who have been created by mistake and raised on a foreign island - of six original students of the academy are announced to be attending the school. And one of the clones just might be a complete shock to Emma.
Boarding schools, mystrious school clubs, politics, secrets and conspiracies are all threads vowen into this story.
As I said, the plot is by far the best thing about this book. I did have my ups and down with it - was interested in the first 50%, rolled my eyes in the middle b/c of the lifeless and shoehorned romance and became once again invested in the last part of the book.
I thought most of the (side) characters were pretty decent, although it seemed like they were the bare bones of something that could've been so much more. There was a lot of instances when some of them interested me b/c of the mystery surrounding them - mainly the Similars (the clones) - but I wished their actual personalities were a bit more than they ended up being. As for Emma, she was rather bland and sometimes typically *YA heroine* like. Overall, she was ok, but wasn't one of the character that I was semi intrigued by, b/c I've read from her POV many many times in the past.
The romance: I didn't mind the idea the two characters together, but more often than not, I was thinking that they had no chemistry, no life to them together. Tht they were completely shoehorned instead of naturally developed. It could've been done in much more complex way than it was. What I got was a romance that didn't feel authentic in the slightest. I was told that they have feelings for each other, or how much they mean to each other now, but it was not backed up, therefore I never once believed it.
Overall, this was a nice near future debut novel. It wasn't mind blowing, nor was it forgettable. There's a lot of interesting concepts and messages in here, mixed with good plot, subpar romance and decent enough but also not outstanding enough characters. Your enjoyment depends on what you want from this book. I think, despite its ups and downs, it was an interesting book focusing on identity and what it means to be human.
From Goodreads: "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."
Review: A cloning operation that should have been successful, but, had some problems. One, not everyone wants to be cloned; and, two, not everyone thinks clones should be treated like human beings-even though that is precisely what they are.
A young girl just lost her best friend to suicide over the summer and was reeling over it when she started her new year at Darkwood Academy. A boarding school, she found she would be spending her days confronted by six clones of students in her school. More disturbing than that, is one clone is that of her best friend who died over the summer. Taking a stance as the enemy was the first thing she does towards Levi. She felt threatened, even offended that someone would clone a dead person; but at this point, she had no clue what the larger picture was.
She and her other best friend and roommate Prudence, who has also been cloned, have just been initiated in a gifted club of sorts in the school based on their test scores. However, that's not all who are going to be in the club. She is angry, hurt but also challenging. Over the past weeks, she has slowly been watching the clones from a distance, seeing what makes them so different from everyone else. She has also become close to Levi and, while she knows he is not her best friend, she cannot help but feel drawn to him.
The first half of the book explores the development of the relationship between Levi and Emma, the protagonist. Also, there is a tragedy of sorts that occurs where Emma's friend Prudence is sent away to be with her family. The relationship with Levi helps Emma discover a darker and more sinister plot.
More importantly, they discover who the guardian and scientist are that is behind the clones in the first place. There is an even darker agenda that he has.
The story was not as fragmented as I thought it might be, based on some of the reviews that I read on Goodreads. I thought the story was excellent and very action packed. The thrill of the suspense and what the heck the school was doing was also of great interest.
Writing: The writing was smooth and not dull. I was fully immersed in the book into the wee hours of the night. The simple writing makes this a story suitable for anyone 14 and up. This was not a cheapened book; it had class.
Plot: With the entrance of the six similars came the plots, the main plot and the many other plots to discover. However, the author made sure to leave something open for a sequel. As I saw on Goodreads, this is book 1 of a series. I am interested to see how this story goes. The plots are consistent and well thought out. I thought they were done well and tied up nicely in the end.
What I Liked About This Book: I was thrilled that she made the clones have similarities in their specialties ( which you will learn about in the book), but also, made sure to make them all different from each other. This gave them individuality, and that is something that I look for in a book.
What I Didn't Like In This Book: The utter madness and bigotry towards clones bothered me. However, I am not sure if that was the point. I think it could have been toned down, but I am not sure. There was talk about the nation passing legislation against ALL clones. Very strange.
Overall Impression: This was a very different story than I am used to. However, I did indeed like it. The writing was smooth and enjoyable, and I was able to read the book nonstop for two days. This is a great story for someone who is into cloning and science fiction. I rated this a 4.00.
This book was a solid 4 for me until the ending... but the virtual reality stuff was dumb. It took away from the rest of what was a solid book in my opinion. There seemed to be a lot of repetition throughout the book too, it probably could have been at least 50 pages shorter. I did care about what happened to the characters, and I'll probably read the sequel if I come across it...
The second book is out and no one is talking about it. And I am okay with it.
This one is something in between a 3 star and a 4 star read. Being the page turner as it is, I am happy I read it👍
*Highlights of the book: ✅The plot is good, fast paced ✅The writing style is smooth and engaging ✅The character development is good, each character has their own identity inspite of being 'clones' The cover does justice I would say.
*However, the blurb is a bit too over enthusiastic. Before I picked up this book I thought all the 6 clones would be identical instead of a one-person-one-clone. Maybe I got too over hyped in my head!
I would say the characters were handled well. But I cannot say the same for the romance and the ending. Some parts come out to be abrupt while some parts need more explanations. I felt everything was explained while I was reading this but in the end I was left confused as I felt the explanations given at the end of the book as a bit rushed up.
I wish more emotions were displayed amongst the characters, aa I felt the chemistry between the characters started out fine at the beginning but as opposed to be more strong towards the end, it kept crumbling!
The story was kept going with mere unpredictable action sequences which could be regarded as 'twists' but in the end I felt less enthusiastic as every character started being dull towards the end without much part of each as opposed to how it was at the first half of the book.
I feel this book would be better off as a standalone rather than the first book of a series. Because I am not at all curious what would happen next.
Overall it is a one time good suspenseful, action packed, young adult, science fiction fantasy read.
I love the cover but it has a big scientific inaccuracy. You see when genes are cloned they are cloned with a strand of DNA (CDNA to be exact.). The staircase in the photo resembles RNA which is not used for cloning. RNA has one helix (or strand) while DNA has two helixes (or helices)
THIS BOOK MADE ME FEEL 12 AGAIN 🥺 it’s literally exactly the type of book i loved so much when i was a kid and it sent me right back to that time, like, it was so nostalgic but i’ve literally never read it before ???? yeah so long story short i LOVE IT HERE
This is a YA Dystopian novel. A rather lite dystopian as there isn't much world building and it's very near future.
The setting is a prestigious high school where our group of characters are the elite of the elite. The main protagonist, Emmaline Chase, is starting her Junior year without much enthusiasm. She lost her BFF to suicide over the summer and she is still reeling from the pain of that loss. So the fact that six new students at her school turn out to be clones of some other students, she doesn't much care... until she sees that one of them is a clone of her lost best friend. Her initial rage slowly becomes friendship and later a budding romance.
The romance is very much a back burner to the plot. There is mystery, suspense, and danger. In fact, the secrets tend to overwhelm the story-line. Some of the reveals were a surprise, but some of them were a bit predictable. I had a hard time engaging with the characters who seemed mostly one-dimensional to me. Even the romance felt stilted and stale. However, I was captivated by the ongoing action and eagerly made my way to the end of this story --- only to end up hanging off a cliff without a solid ending.
I'm curious enough to want to read the sequel. The must be a sequel because this book ends rather abruptly. But I'm not entirely sure. It sounds like it may head into a love triangle which I don't enjoy in my reading. I suppose it depends on how long it takes for the second installment to be published. This first one is due out in January of 2019.
A huge thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for this review ARC
I got sent this book in exchange for a honest review, all my opinions are my own and thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this book!
So this is set in a world where clones of people exist. We follow Emma who is starting to get friendly with a group of clones aka "Similars" until she is shocked to see that Levi is a clone of her best friend Oliver who died recently.
I really enjoyed this book and I'm really grateful I was sent it because it was a very unique read. The one thing that I really liked was the romance it was the strongest hate-to-love relationship and it was funny to watch the interactions between Levi and Emma.
My only criticism is that I would love to learn more about the world and how clones came to be and how this effects society and what else is different in this world that ours.
So I highly recommend you pick this up when it comes out and if you're interested in this then you're gonna have to wait awhile because this releases on January 1st 2019.
Reading this book was weird for me, mostly because I haven’t read a YA sci-fi/ dystopia in a long while. I’ve been enveloped in a sea of fantasy and contemporary reads lately and YA dystopia was the farthest thing from my mind. But, here we are. While reading it I was reminded of all the things I liked about the genre, but also all the things I hated.
This book was a fairly enjoyable read. The premise was really interesting and the writing was quite good. The characters were also pretty decent and the story was overall entertaining. The issue I had was that it was a little too ‘Young Adult’.
If I had read this book at 16, I might have loved it. But, I’m a ripe old lady of 22, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at some points. Things were a little too convenient at times, a little too predictable. It felt at times as if things were happening just to keep the plot going forward. I also couldn’t quite relate to the charcters. They felt like archetypes with no deep or unique personalities.
There is also some romance going on between Emma and Levi and I just wasn’t feeling it. Like most generic YA, the romance seemed to come out of nowhere. It felt rushed and as though it only really occurred because Levi was Oliver’s similar and because the book needed some romantic tension.
Despite all that negativity, I gotta say, the story was pretty interesting. I wanted to know more of what was happening. I would recommend this book to younger YA readers, or people that unlike me, weren’t avid readers in the early 2010s when every book was a YA sci-fi/ dystopia.
I am confused. Like a lot. Maybe it's because I am very tired and didn't appreciate the ending. Maybe the ending has no way of supporting itself... I mean... I was loving the book. All of it, even the improbable things like the similars being exploited and all that without raising a fuss because that's how they are brought up and have to deliver...
But the ending... it's not that it's bad written, it just doesn't make any sense... I mean... *SPOILERS AHEAD* the bad guy has this four people he wants to keep prisioners to investigate and play Mad Doctor with, personal bodyguards with guns, and the 4 people manage to escape? Well, one stays because he's been held, but... how do the others escape? I mean, I get they can't be killed becauae the mad doctor says to save the data and not to kill them, but surely they could have been shot to incapacitate? And also, they escape and tell no one anything about what went down in the island and the plans the mad doctor has?
I am almost mad, I was loving the book so much and was expecting to get the second one to devour it as well... but the ending has quite blown me off...
My book!—and I'm so excited to share it with all of you. THE SIMILARS is a story about identity, about what it means to be an individual, about love and heartbreak and technology and the consequences of scientific advancement. It's about six teens who don't belong, but who must endure, living alongside the kids they were copied from. But really, clones + boarding school pretty much sums it up. :) Thanks for adding it!
After SEVERAL plot twists and what ultimately felt like a long but satisfying book, I’m finally finished!
RATING: 3.62 stars
Based off of what I knew about this book’s plot, I knew that several things could have happened along the way which I may not have liked. Cloning research is a touchy subject, but since I had recently done a research paper about similar experiments, I figured I knew what I was getting into.
And yet, I still ended up surprised.
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of twists I did not see coming. Usually, I’m the kind of reader who figures out the plot twist way before it happens, so I am glad this book offered multiple twists which kept me guessing.
However, not all of these surprises were good. There were a few additions to the plot (which would be spoilers if I mentioned them now) that I didn’t enjoy very much, mainly having to so with the clones. There were a few details about the main characters which seemed a bit off throughout the book, but once I got through half of it, most of these problematic details were solved.
That being said, there were also a few plot points which seemed to be a bit of a stretch, mainly having to do with the characters’ actions.
I will also point out that the novel itself seemed to last a long time, despite being an average length book. I’m not sure if this was just my fault, but they probably fixed this issue for the official release.
Overall, I liked The Similars more than I expected! It wasn’t mind-blowing or anything, but it was good. I will most likely be reading the next book when it hits shelves!
I recieved an eARC from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.
ARC provided from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review (thank you Sourcebooks Fire!!)
I’m sad to say this, but, alas. incredible concept, sloppy execution.
The Similars is set in a futuristic universe where people’s DNA can be very easily and efficiently cloned, producing an exact replica of somebody, down to the very marrow of their bones. this becomes a subject of strong political and ethical discourse (à la pro-life vs pro-choice: people are either pro-clone or anti-clone, and adhere very strongly to their beliefs). We follow our main character Emma, who recently lost her best friend, Oliver, to suicide. Emma attends Darkwood Academy, a distinguished, “inclusive” high school where six clones have just been accepted into the junior class, despite heavy backlash from the anti-clone crowd. these six clones, nicknamed “The Similars”, are all exact replicas of current Darkwood students. Emma, still grieving Oliver’s death, soon comes face to face with Levi, one of the six Similars, and Oliver’s DNA carbon copy.
so, like I said, incredible concept. sloppy execution. I’ll elaborate, and I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was genuinely really into the general storyline here, I think this book was quite unique and mostly successful in that aspect. but there were definitely a few things that didn’t work for me in The Similars, starting off with the characters. everything having to do with any of the main characters was just extremely convenient. all 10-12 main characters are conveniently top of their class so they can all conveniently join the “Ten” (same 10-12 main characters who are, respectively, clones and cloned. conveniently). Emma and Levi conveniently get thrown into their community service thing together. they conveniently find Pru after she’s been attacked, conveniently triggering most of the relevant plot points in the book. honestly, I could go on forever but I’m not about to spoil the entire book here. I’m almost sure, though, that if your plot moves forward by the sheer force of a series of things and events that just conveniently and coincidentally, with no explanation, happened to your characters for no reason at all, then something might just be wrong with your book, structurally speaking. I’m not a professional writer or a published author by any means, Rebecca Hanover definitely has that on me. but if your entire book is just one huge convenient Deus Ex Machina, then something’s probably not working.
I also didn’t find the romance appealing at all. the chemistry between the main couple was practically non-existent. I’m a big believer that if your characters need to kiss in order for your readers to realize they are into each other, then your characters probably shouldn’t be together in the first place. it means the chemistry and tension weren’t there at all during the lead up to the first kiss. it means your audience will have failed to create any sort of attachment to your characters as a couple, which definitely happened to me. I’m also sad to say that I correctly guessed the plot twist quite early on in the book. I don’t want to say that this book is predictable, because I don’t think it is, but I did fit all the pieces together LONG before I was even a third of the way into the book.
in general, I think The Similars had a great deal of potential, and I’m not going to completely shove it away just yet. I think the following installments in this series will probably improve greatly because I genuinely did like the world building, and the concept behind this book was absolutely intriguing. the characters were an unfortunate disadvantage to The Similars, but I’m not gonna let that take away from the fact that I did actually enjoy some parts of this book, and that I’m most likely going to be looking out for the sequel when it eventually comes out in 2020. The Similars is not a terrible book but it definitely needs a little bit more work, especially as a debut novel. thanks again to Edelweiss+ and Sourcebooks Fire!!
The start was so promising. Six clones, called the Similars, enroll in Emma's boarding school. They are all "duplicates" of six current students. All but one, who is a clone of Emma's recently departed best friend, Oliver. There's so much here to explore. What makes a person? Nature, nurture, or something else? I can't fathom what it would feel like to see the face of your best friend after they've died. That's what Emma's faced with. Her best friend is gone, but now there's a boy walking around campus, attending classes, living, who is the spitting image of him. What must that be like? Heartbreaking. Confusing. Enraging. Utterly depressing.
Hanover throws aside all the interesting bits of this story and instead haphazardly slaps together something that makes no sense. None of the characters act like human beings. When Emma first sees Levi, she runs up to him and slaps him. Unprovoked. Just... what? If I saw a clone of my dead best friend, my first instinct would not be to physically assault them. But Emma's not me, and she's obviously enraged by this whole situation. Isn't she? That initial slap is the only manifestation of Emma's conflicting emotions towards Levi. There's no indication of a changing mindset, and yet, she starts spending a lot of time with Levi and feeling sorry for him. Halfway through the book, suddenly she's making out with him. What? Where did all this come from? How did Emma move past her pain from losing her friend? How is she able to see Levi as someone distinct from Oliver, even though they look exactly the same?? Based on the way she acts, I would have never guessed Levi was a clone of her best friend.
This was the main piece of the story that I was looking forward to exploring. I thought Hanover would handle this situation thoughtfully. I thought Emma would slowly discover that just because Levi and Oliver share the same face, they're not the same people. That she could learn to trust (which takes time) Levi, and eventually, learn to be friends. Maybe even something more (which is hinted at in the synopsis). Instead, we get none of this; we get the opposite of this. There's no character growth. There's no organic relationship.
Throughout the book, Emma defends the clones. There's no explanation for why she's on their side. Supposedly there's a political schism in the US between people who support clones and people who believe they should be treated as second-class citizens (the way this is all portrayed is a very lazy rendition of the currently political climate in the US around immigration). Why does Emma support clones? Emma has no reason to be pro-clone. We're given plenty of reason why she should hate cloning (hello! dead friend clone?) and no explanation for why she might be their advocate. This was really frustrating.
Added to this is the idea that Darkwood (the boarding school) is some type of haven. Multiple times the school is described as "inclusive"; multiple times Emma ruminates about how"Darkwood students are supposed to be inclusive" and its strange the student body is turning against the Similars (162). This is lazy writing. Just because an institution is "inclusive" doesn't make it a kind place. Oppression still exists in "inclusive" spaces. Hell, look at the US, a country that champions itself as a "melting pot" of diverse cultures and peoples from across the world. Look at the rampant, systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. etc. taking place on the daily here. Inclusive ≠ safe place. Are we really supposed to be surprised that the Similars are being treated poorly at this "inclusive" boarding school?
When it came down to it, this story felt so incredibly flat. Like I said, the characters didn't act like human beings. They acted like pieces in an orchestrated story, moving this way and that to move the plot forward to it's predetermined conclusion. There was nothing organic or natural in the story's progression. It was impossible to connect to any of the characters because I couldn't understand any of their motivations. The world building also felt dull. The story takes place in some kind of futuristic United States. But there's no real definition of this world's boundaries; we get no sense of its shape. What's plausible, what's not? What are the rules and how are our characters allowed to operate within them? I needed more than vague discussions of cloning and weird Apple watch devices called Plums.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the eARC copy of this book. I was thrilled to have received a copy.
This book! Wow! The Similars had me hooked from the very first page. It was a gripping, thrilling, and entertaining read from beginning to end. I love to read YA novels of this type, and this book certainly did not disappoint!
Imagine going to school, or anywhere for the matter, and seeing exact look-alikes of people that you know… imagine ever further if you had a look-alike of yourself? Such an intriguing concept for sure! Would you be able to tell the original person apart from the exact look-alike?
I enjoyed reading about Emmaline’s experiences with the 6 similars that attended her school and the whole idea surrounding why there were 6 similars to begin with. What was their purpose in the world? Would they have the opportunity to be welcomed in society like every other human being, or would they be shunned from society for being “clones” and treated as such?
I felt bad for Emmaline, especially after the tragic loss of her best friend Oliver and then coming face to face with his exact look-alike similar named Levi. It was like seeing Oliver all over again, except it wasn’t. Not really. Levi might look like Oliver, but he wouldn’t have Oliver’s memories, personality traits, mannerisms, etc that made Oliver…well, Oliver.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!
Interesting...If you ever watched the movie The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johansson, this is the YA adaptation but set in a Vermont boarding school. Or at least, that's what kept popping into my brain (and now I wanna go watch it).
The writing is sort of disorienting which isn't a bad thing. I actually think this is a strength as it really helped me connect with Emma's pov. That being said, her reaction to reveals was a little underwhelming and not super believable. I know it's in the distant future and genetics have really changed but other than those advances being explained, the world still felt very 2019.
I don't quite get The Similar powers. It wasn't really explained which was sort of frustrating because memory flashbacks were really throoughly explained. The Similars characters themselves definitely need to be fleshed out. Some have a role in the plot but a few are just THERE (also, every cafeteria scene with them made me think of the Cullen's in Twilight which rofl)
I hope there's more of Gravelle in the sequel cause he's fucked up. Dude got some serious revenge issues and takes thinga to the extremes. That's the kinda villain I want to return and keep escalading. I also need to understand wtf is happening with the Headmaster. I'm so lost and curious about the testing and holograms and such.
The book itself takes on a lot of current hot button to in 2019 Nnorth America like xenophobia, citizenship, where science needs to draw the line, privilege fearing the challenge of status quo that tend to come from lower class.
My real "bone to pick" and how blatantly information that is important is just shoved in at the right time. It was so abrupt and made NO SENSE, especially the random intro of the Quarry. Like the author couldn't figure out how to get it in there so it was just randomly inexplicably shoved in.
I'll definitely read the sequel but I'm concerned that there was a cover change for the paperback. If book #2 hardcover doesn't match book #1 hardcover, I won't be buying it. WHY WOULD YOU CHANGE IT?! THIS COVER IS AMAZING!
Similars ⭐️ Darkwood academy seems a bit like a cult at first. The students basically signing away their rights. Anyway... the similars are DNA clones of 6 other people but they didnt ask or even know they were being cloned. So for the next 9 months the students are going off the grid to protect the similars identity because the media and the workd for that matter are itching to know who these clones are. Emmasbest friend Pru has a clon named Pippa. So obviously theres gonna be some drama there. Tessa and theodora Jake and jago Archer and ansel Maddison and Maude Levi and oliver. Oliver, Emmas dead best friend has a clone. (Also i feel like any book following a boarding school with some weird or paranormal or magical aspect makes me think harry potter, i cant help it.) Anyways, the top ten students are announced and obviously some similars are in the top and that causes drama along with the fact that the top ten is sort of like an evil cult and you must do as they want or risk being ranked at the bottom and losing your scholarship. So while initiation begins for the top ten things start to go wrong, deadly even and Emma doesnt know who to trust especially the boy with her dead best friends face.
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
I thought that the concept for The Similars had potential. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to it for me.
I think the idea of cloning is very interesting. It brings up so many ethical questions. Some of those issues were brought up in the course of the book, however I didn’t think it was handled well. Instead of actual discussions and honest questions, it was treated like so many hot button topics are these days: with the two sides yelling their opinions at each other and not having an open mind about it at all. I get enough of this in real life, I don’t really want it in my entertainment. The author also tried to draw parallels between cloning and illegal immigration that I felt was a bit of a stretch.
I didn’t really love any of the characters. The story is told through Emma’s first person POV, so I felt like I got to know her pretty well, but character development was really lacking for everyone else. Emma was likable most of the time, though. The Similars are easily the most interesting characters of the book, but only a little bit of time is spent getting to know any of them. I didn’t really get on board the romance. Even though it was obvious what was going to happen, I still felt like it just kind of happened out of the blue.
There are two reveals towards the end of the book that I felt were supposed to be twists, but they were both things I suspected pretty early on in the story. Even though they didn’t surprise me at all, I think they have potential to provide some interesting paths in the coming books.
Overall, The Similars was just not for me. Despite an intriguing premise, the lack of character development, somewhat messy writing, and forced political overtones made this a book I was just getting through, rather than enjoying. As of right now, I’m not interested in continuing the series. I am by no means the target audience for this book, though, so those that are may find this a much better read than I did.
The Similars is one of my most anticipated books in 2019. I was always interested in clone concept, but the only book I read about it was Never let me go. The similars is a mix of everything: Twilight vibe, bullying trope, mystery, dystropian, none of which was on point, but it was a comfortable read.
The story took place in Darkwood - a preeminent school for elite students. The main protagonist of The Similars was Emma Chance, who had a difficult time adjusting to her best friend’s suicide. One day, Darkwood accepted six new students—“the Similars”—who were clones of existing students. However, one of them bore Emma's best friend's face. Levi’s presence made it difficult for Emma to move on because he was a reminder of what she lost. They shared the same DNA and appearance, but different characteristics. The romance of Emma and Levi was a slow burn, love hate relationship. Ah, but it's not the main plot of the story. The mysterious disapperance of Pru after being attacked makes Emma determine on figuring out the truth. There were some good twists and turns.
The only thing I felt uncomfortable in this book was Emma eavesdropped and uncovered so many secrets without getting caught. And I didn't understand why clones were willing to help her easily, although they didn't take to each other. There is so much potential for the future of this series, although I don't think the author will pull it through.
Clones. Boarding School. Love and Friendship. Loss and Heartache.
These are the ingredients for a fantastic novel, Hanover did not disappoint. I greatly enjoyed this novel and I eagerly await the sequel. I would have loved to give this a higher rating, but I did have a few issues with the story.
Much as I hate to say it there were pieces that were just difficult to accept, science fiction or not some parts just felt so far fetched it was hard to swallow. I have a million questions, some of which may be answered in the sequel, many of which I fear will go forever unanswered. I wanted more detail on certain characters and situations that was just not provided.
I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Sourcebooks Fire, which is rapidly turning into one of my favorite YA publishers. They seem to have more hits than not, and a lot of their books have made their way onto my TBR. Trigger warning: suicide.
Three months after her best friend, Oliver, commits suicide, Emmaline Chance returns to Darkwood Academy, an elite preparatory school for children of some of the richest and most influential people in the country. It’s also one of the most progressive, and for the first time, Darkwood is accepting six clones into its halls. The clones were made illegally and without their DNA parents’ consent, but controversy is still flying about whether or not clones should have the same rights as everyone else. But the Similars aren’t just any clones– they’re clones of other Darkwood students, and Emma has to face the agony of someone else wearing Oliver’s face. When she receives a mysterious message that Oliver left for her, she’s pulled even further into the Similars’ group and learns that no one can be trusted.
I teetered on the edge of 3 and 4 stars for this book because I did like it, and I think it’s a well-done bit of YA science fiction. The beginning is stronger than the end though, as the threads of conspiracy end up spiraling a little. It’s also difficult to keep track of all the characters and which sides they’re on. There are the six originals, the six clones, and a number of parent characters, both when they’re at school and not, plus some people lying about who they are. It ends up being a lot to keep track of, and I could have used a few more signals or maybe some family trees that include cloned counterparts.
Emmaline is a fairly standard heroine. Given that her best friend just died, her father is distant, and she’s faced with seeing not-Oliver every day, there’s a lot of angst in the novel. While merited, it’s a little overwhelming, and we don’t get to see a lot of other sides of her character. She’s impulsive and has a tendency to talk back, but while we’re told she’s one of the smartest kids in the school, we don’t really get to see her working through problems. (Also, what are the Ten for? They don’t actually do anything besides haze each other.) The romance with Levi is also a little heavy-handed, with some dramatic but obvious conflicts, but I’m rarely a fan of romances.
On the whole, it’s an enjoyable novel. The writing is good, and the plot is interesting and well-paced. I enjoyed the world Hanover sets up where the technology is advanced enough to make cloning a possibility, but the ethics of it haven’t quite caught up. There’s a morality thread in there about who counts as a human and whether or not clones deserve the same rights that could easily run parallel to some of the issues we’re having in the real world. The end has a few twists, at least one of which is ridiculous and another that genuinely surprised me (in a good way), and I’m interested enough to continue with the series.
I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.