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The Similars #2

The Pretenders

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In this conclusion to The Similars duology, Emma must figure out who she really is, decide between two boys with the same face, and stop a dangerous plan based on revenge.

Emma is still reeling from the events of her junior year at Darkwood. Not only is her best friend, Oliver, shockingly alive, but the boy she loves—his Similar, Levi—is still on the island where he grew up, stranded with his deranged creator.

More importantly, she is grappling with who she really is. Emma can't accept the hard truths she learned last year and refuses to share her secrets with anyone, isolating herself from her friends and Ollie.

But when more of the Similars' creator's plot is revealed, Emma and her friends will have to try to stop him from putting a plan into motion that could destroy everyone she loves.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published December 10, 2019

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About the author

Rebecca Hanover

3 books289 followers
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.

Instagram: @rebeccahanover
Twitter: @rebeccahanover

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5 stars
746 (31%)
4 stars
794 (33%)
3 stars
542 (23%)
2 stars
208 (8%)
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54 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews
Profile Image for Jackie.
616 reviews42 followers
January 12, 2020
You know that scene in the office where Jim says that Dwight revealed that he was a double agent which allowed Andy to share that he too was a double agent and then wait for it Michael was also a double agent? That’s this book.

“The Pretenders” follows Emma as she works through the chaos that found Levi back on the island and Ollie home sage and though she wants to celebrate having her friend back he can’t fill the hole in her life where his clone used to be and when mischief in the form of Duplicates shows up on campus the 10 must work together to bring down their creator once and for all.

I feel like the author took every chance they could get to throw in plot twists for shock value instead of writing a story that took a very real issue and made it a jumbled mess. I was interested to see how the reveal for Emma would carry her and her relationships with Ollie and the Similars towards the final resolution of the book and if we would see a climax that put the creator up against those he felt wronged and abandoned him but instead we got a mess of an ending that was supposed to have this emotional weight to it but given how fast the information was thrown in it left me rolling my eyes than appreciating the sacrifice.

I don’t know I feel like there was a lot of potential here for some sort of conversation since it relies heavily on a narrative we’re seeing play out on the news and the concept of hating other simply for being different but even that arc got wrapped up without any final statement as the characters in question were shuffled offscreen suffering no real punishment.

If you like sci fi I’m sure this will be a good ending for you but for me it was like they tried to cram the entirety of Orphan Black into a half hour and for me it just didn’t work.

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**
Profile Image for Rebecca Hanover.
Author 3 books289 followers
December 7, 2019
It's almost pub day, and I am ELATED to share book 2 of THE SIMILARS series with you. This series has been a part of my life for so long now, it's a dream to have the second part out in the world. Thank you to every reader who has reached out -- every book champion, librarian, book seller and reviewer. THANK YOU.
Profile Image for Mads.
179 reviews283 followers
April 19, 2021
this would’ve been another 5 star read if the ending hadn’t been so rushed.

i really loved this duology and i’ll definitely reread it in the future, it gave me such a massive sense of nostalgia despite me never having read it before, but i just wish this book had been given 50 more pages to properly pace the ending so it wasn’t such a frenzied shock-reveal that you didn’t really have time to properly take in until after you’d turned to the acknowledgements page.
Profile Image for •v•.
140 reviews63 followers
December 10, 2019
The Similars (The Similars, #1): ★★
The Pretenders (The Similars, #2): ★

—☽.。* Quick recap!
☆ Short synopsis: After discovering a shocking truth on Castor Island, Emma must figure it all out while also stuck in a love triangle with two boys who has the same face.
☆ Read this book if you're: Fan of a fast-paced & light sci-fi.
☆ You might want to consider it because: The romance plot was extremely way more dominating, considering this book promoted as a YA Sci-fi.

Sadly, my review of the first book is still applicable for this sequel. The plot twists didn't leave any dramatic impacts. However, the romance pissed me off even more than before because of Emma's continuous emphasis on physical attractiveness, which happened multiple times (ever since the first book) and made her shallower than ever. Not to mention Emma's internal monologue for categorizing Levi as hot and tough while Oliver as cute and sweet? Just nope.

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,811 reviews406 followers
January 5, 2020
I didn't get a copy of this until after it was published, even though I had it listed as not being published till January, it actually was released in December. So sorry this review is a bit late! This conclusion the story was really good. There were lots of twists and turns, some hinted at in the end of book one. Without giving much away, it turns out that the plot is even more terrifying than was believed in the first book, and what happens at the school, and out in the world itself is more than Emma and the other Similars expect to have to deal with. This story had a lot of action and edge of your seat moments. It was a page-turner and I finished it very quickly once I picked it up, because I had to know where each turn was taking us, and how it would all end. Definitely a great conclusion to a debut author's first duology.

Review first appeared on Lisa Loves Literature.
December 30, 2019
I enjoyed this, but I found myself loving the first book so much better. I flew through the first book so quickly, so I’m a little disappointed that this wasn’t as good as the first.
Profile Image for Alia B.
224 reviews2 followers
December 12, 2019
Okay, the ending totally got me. I'd be impressed if anyone saw it coming. The few things that truly bugged me was the dialogue and descriptions sometimes. I don't understand why Hanover uses the phrase "I exhort" when the MC, Emma, is talking to her friends. You can just use "I say." Simple words exist for a reason. Or "feeling bereft" or "my words divorced from my mouth" which is fancy and I appreciate, but when you use it over four times within the span of 10 chapters, it gets old. I actually got confused on the phrasing, which really isn't something that should derail the reader from the story. It's not as important as the plot and the characters. All authors have to think about how much attention their descriptions will take. But overall, WOW. I loved it and would totally recommend!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
415 reviews22 followers
December 14, 2019
I did like the ending. There was nice twists in it. Wish there was more to the ending.....
Profile Image for Laura (midorireads).
365 reviews3 followers
January 17, 2020
As much as I loved The Similars, I can't say I felt the same about this one...

While the first book was awesome because of it's "newness" (in terms of a fresh concept...at least one that I hadn't yet read), as well as a plot line that was not only intriguing, but kept me engaged until the very end - which was obviously a cliffhanger, because that is apparently my lot in life...

That aside, I mistakenly assumed that meant that book 2 would be just as good, and eventually lead to an awesome - and extremely satisfying - end (because this is a duology). But unfortunately for me, that was not how this played out. For starters, there are duplicates, yes, duplicates, of the same people that we already have clones of, and of course this leads to new troubles and concerns for the Simliars, as well as our formerly illustrious MC Emma ('formerly', because, yes, for me, she managed to become an annoying MC). The addition of the Duplicates was just so ridiculous and unnecessary to me. I feel like the inclusion did somewhat work in one instance for me , but honestly, I think I disliked the idea more so because THINGS WERE GETTING EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS!!!

Now, you may be wondering, 'Ridiculous...how?' Well, without giving anything away, I'll say that there's a lot of confusion as to the presence and actions of some characters, one of the Similars has a newly added ability that seems a bit too convenient, and XXX has been replaced - gasp! - while XXX has returned - double gasp! Really, I could keep going, but I won't.

Oooh, can't forget the Twist!!!
It's here that we have the moment in which everything is upended because we didn't know this very important thing was happening all along, underneath our very own noses, and now we are flabbergasted!
Except, I wasn't really all that surprised at this point. Remember, I was already expecting pretty much anything happening, and as I was closing in on the end, you got it, obviously a Twist.

The ending itself was fine, nothing really significant to it for me. It was pretty much how I view the entire book: substandard.

Actually, that is pretty much how I'll end this random ramble of thoughts. If you managed to stick around till the end of this...you da real MVP.
Profile Image for Lynn.
1,037 reviews50 followers
December 17, 2019
The Similars and The Pretenders are the perfect pair! Emma has so much new information and a shocking revelation to comes to terms with. I love the twist and the humanity that takes center stage. I was so shocked and felt so lucky to get the ebook on loan from the library right away with NO wait, unheard of for me. If you haven't read The Similars, pick it up today and then The Pretenders right after.
Profile Image for Jenn.
816 reviews22 followers
November 11, 2019
Emma and her Similiar friends continue to struggle against the crazy plans of their creator and guardian.

It happens that I've been reading mostly books in series lately. Lots of sequels coming out around now. And the more of them I read, the less I understand why publishers can't put a little recap in at the start. It's a year and a half since I read the first book. I vaguely remembered the plot, but the main source of angst for Emma the whole way through this one? No memory of it at all. I had to think what the Ten was and I'm still not sure why the school has both a Headmistress and a Principal.

On its own, this story isn't bad. There's little sense of urgency despite the terrible plans chugging along in the background, and during the climactic scene we're told there's a huge fight going on with guns and martial arts moves and everything, but the main characters still have time for a conversation. However, the characters are well written, the settings are good and a couple of reveals are well timed.

Overall, not amazing, but not terrible either.
Profile Image for Abby.
42 reviews
December 26, 2021
I have to wonder if this sequel was on a rushed timeline or something. The idea is interesting enough but each individual plot point feels rushed and doesn’t serve anything. And the writing feels the same way. It repeats really basic ideas and the dialogue is really not believable for seniors in high school. Very disappointed, but the concept is interesting and has me thinking about what makes us human.
Profile Image for Chianna.
38 reviews1 follower
December 27, 2021
wackKkkk idk how i felt abt it tho i still think I liked the first one better but this book was prETTY GOOD NGL

also... wow plot twists
Profile Image for Gayle Noble.
1,487 reviews26 followers
September 22, 2020
This follow up to the first book sees Emma shocked yet happy that her best friend, Oliver, is still alive. He supposedly committed suicide the previous year but the body turned out to be a Duplicate of him created by a scientist, Gravelle who is consumed with taking revenge on his former classmates and their children. Emma also found out that she is also not the real Emma, but a Similar named Eden, created to replace a child who died young. Alongside the other Similars, Emma must fight to stop Gravelle's nefarious plans and rescue Levi (Oliver's Similar) from Castor Island.

This was a great follow up to the first book. Many second books are weak compared to the first but this one took the best elements of the first book and created a satisfactory ending. There was even a twist within a twist at the end. This is a duology which has raised many questions around the ethics of human cloning.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,373 reviews1,103 followers
October 27, 2020
Mixed thoughts! I am still unsure what I really think of this duology in the end. I love the concept. I live the twists and turns this takes. Yet again though, the characters drove me crazy about how they don't better involve and/or confront adults. I mean, seriously, we are dealing with kidnapping, attacks, etc. Involve authorities! Emma needed to talk to her dad and insteads drives herslef crazy trying to figure out the truth. ARGH! While I like that there was a twist at the end of the book, I do not like what the twist was. It had me questioning the point of everything! So I had a real hate/love resolution with this book. But still glad I have these books. Fun and very engaging to read and even in the frustrating parts I was invested in every aspect of this book.
Profile Image for Alexe (mtlbibliophile).
133 reviews89 followers
July 27, 2020
4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this sequel to The Similars. The writing was just as good and the characters just as interesting and well-developed. I only took away .5 because I found this novel to have much fewer cliffhangers than the previous one. It is one of the elements that greatly appealed to me in book 1. Other than that, the plot was filled with twists and turns that I sometimes saw coming, but mostly not. Loved it!
Profile Image for Chloe.
11 reviews
June 23, 2022
I loved the first book in the Similar series but this one was nothing like it. From the very beginning, Emma is just a whiny baby but at the same time she was also trying to be the most responsible person in the entire world. Also 90% of the fight scenes in the book make no sense and just left me confused as to what the heck was happening. I would’ve given it 1 star but the ending did end up redeeming it a little bit so for that it gets 2.
33 reviews
December 24, 2021
*3.5 I liked this book but I LOVED the first one. There were a few things I found confusing here.
Profile Image for Abby.
850 reviews142 followers
December 31, 2020
Things get even more tense at Darkwood with the presence of the similars, especially with the appearance of what appear to be a third set of clones. This plus an insidious plot by the similars' creator creates quite the story line of events. The mystery of the story gets stranger as the book goes on and I found myself thoroughly confused at points, which is to be understood with all the clones running around. Ultimately, this is a pretty decent duology and I'm glad it was only two books. Any further and it would have dragged.
Profile Image for caitlin.
29 reviews
July 15, 2020
The Pretenders is the sequel to Rebecca Hanover's first book The Similars and connects Emmas past with her future tying up loose ends from Rebecca Hanover's first novel, all the while adding multiple shocking new twists no one could've predicted. A story about family, self discovery, and belonging.

The Similars ends with Emma learning that she is actually a similar herself, and struggles with the concept and wither she should present this newly found knowledge to her peers and friends but before she can do that she first has to acknowledge and accept herself for who she is. Emma now knowing that she is a similar starts recognizing some profound differences within and finds herself participating in abnormal events and miraculous recoveries. But other than that her senior year is finally back on track, Oliver is back and they're together again, although the boy she loves, Levi, has sacrificed himself and remains captive on Castor Island all alone with Gravelle, a man retaining a darker past and deeply confused priorities. But what will Emma do when she has to face Gravelle? Will the past be able to justify his future actions, or will the damage have been done?

While I'd enjoyed The Similars, Rebecca Hanover's first novel, I found The Pretenders plot to be unnecessary to say the least. While I always enjoy a little plot twist to keep readers hooked, I found The Pretenders to be so unpredictable at times the story was hard to track. It's almost like The Nutcracker in which case Emma's like Clara, when Clara meets a brave prince, explores this fictional land of sweets, and fights off an evil mouse and his army. But only just after wakes up to find that it was all just a dream, and that Clara herself hadn't explored a fairytale land with her Nutcracker prince after all. Actually The Pretenders is almost exactly like The Nutcracker but instead just add clones, multiple moral lessons, and a less enjoyable resolution.

I'd recommend this book only because I'd recommend The Similars, and then once you'd finished the Similars you'd make your self crazy trying to figure out what ends up happening to Emma and to Oliver and to Levi therefore concluding it mandatory to read The Pretenders, only though because there's no other way to keep yourself form going insane otherwise. So if you haven't read The Similars you should read it. I'm sorry about the ending, and really about its sequel in its entirety.
Profile Image for Ethan Kurzweil.
2 reviews70 followers
September 28, 2019
Extremely riveting and spellbinding - I couldn't wait to get to the end, and was shocked at what I found. It presents modern day issues with a very intriguing sci-fi dystopian plot-line all in a natural way that made me feel empathy for Emma and the other main characters.

I'm excited for what Hanover writes next! And I hope there is a third book in the series!
Profile Image for Mandi.
29 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2021
Holy cow what can I say about this book? I enjoyed the first book but I really enjoyed the second book. This book had me laughing, crying and shaking with anxiety, and I mean literally shaking. There were plot twists all throughout this book that I honestly did not see coming. I highly recommend everyone read these books!
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,020 reviews575 followers
March 1, 2020
I enjoyed all the twists and turns of this book. Some were expected, some were not. The two books were well written and I appreciate an author that isn’t greedy by making 14829 additional books and spinoff series!
Profile Image for Thamy.
429 reviews25 followers
January 17, 2020
If you're not aware, this book is a sequel to The Similars, and you will need to have read the first book to understand this one. We have written a review to it, so you can check our opinion in case you don't know it. Also, there will be spoilers of the first book in our review, beware.

We take off from a little after The Similars left us. It's a new school year and Emma is coming back with Oliver, but not with Levi. She still need to process what Graveller revealed and face the anti-clone movement that spreads through her school. Above all, she needs to find a way to save Levi.

I'd rate this a 2.5. It's really there in the middle, it doesn't suck, but it's not that good either. I could finish the story but wouldn't reread it.

I was rereading my review of the first book in the duology and my complaints seem to have intensified in this second installment. You have a great plot, the story even has plot twists that make sense and yet you're not expecting them—a good plot twist.

This time, however, it wasn't only the development that didn't do justice to the idea, the writing was also lacking. I feel the book needed more editing, more rewriting, because at times it felt like a fanfic, as in someone wrote it and posted it instead of going through the many editions a published book should.

If you've read the first book, know this is the last. I mean, we can always make sequels (see Me Before You), but the story is pretty much over here. There's that big advantage of knowing where it goes. At the same time, I don't think I got any big reveal that changed everything about the story, so with what I knew from The Similars, I could have guessed how it would end without The Pretenders. A lot happens, I think there was much more action in the second volume, and it does bring closure, but the only unsolved thing we brought from the first aside from the bad guy still being around was that big reveal in the end and that one was clearly an excuse for the sequel. Aside from that, the first book solves itself well enough you won't really die if you don't read more. I hope I make any sense, but what I mean to say is read this if you liked the universe but don't expect it to blow your mind.

I'm really glad the story was released. I read this, I'm clearly on the group of those who wanted this closure and I've seen many series dropped in the first book. At the same time, it was sad to see the quality drop when the idea itself was good.

Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,084 reviews1,011 followers
December 8, 2019

Okay look, it's kind of impossible for me to write a legit review without spoiling stuff- at the very least, stuff from the first book. And I don't want to do that, because I know that I often look to reviews for both books before starting a series, so, you know.

I will say, I liked this one even more than the first! I thought it was twistier and more exciting, and I actually had no problem jumping back into the world (which, I admit, I worried about a bit because I didn't think I remembered a ton about book one- surprise, I did!). The characters became much more developed, including the side characters. In the first book, I was a little confused by them all, but this one did a good job of making me care much more about everyone, including MC Emma.

While I do wish that a few topics that were introduced had been fleshed out and expanded upon a bit more, for the most part it was a satisfying series finale that I enjoyed throughout!
Profile Image for LilydaPug.
105 reviews5 followers
November 30, 2020
4.5 stars
I think I liked this series for the most part. This book definitely got a little confusing with all the different versions of each of the characters, but the ending made me happy for the most part. The deaths were sad, but I understand why they had to happen.
I will say that I wish the ending was explained in more detail. Emma did a good job explaining what happened to the characters, but I wish we knew more about the politics and the whole anti-clones movements and everything. Did the truth and the events that happened on the islands influence these hateful groups and opinions at all? Did Madison’s mom win the election? If she did, has her views on clones changed at all? I just wish these questions were answered in the epilogue.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,101 reviews458 followers
December 13, 2019
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult / Science Fiction / Mystery
*Rating* 3.5


Rebecca Hanover's The Pretenders is the second and final installment to the authors The Similars duology. Emmaline Chase and her Similar friends are back at Darkwood Academy but with a surprise. Oliver Gravelle, who was thought to be dead, has been returned from Castor Island after being away for his entire Junior year. On the other hand, Levi, who is Oliver's similar, is still on the island and not allowed to leave or contact Emma. As the story opens, Emma has been told a really twisted secret by Gravelle.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

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