Beta by Rachel Cohn
Source: Picked up at ALA
Publication date: October 16, 2012
Summary from Goodreads.com: Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island’s workers–soulless clones like Elysia–are immune to.
At first, Elysia’s life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island’s flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care–so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia’s mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
While not a great book I enjoyed this one more than I expected after hearing a few people talk about how horrible it was. The writing was choppy at times but the concept of the book was great and fascinated me as soon as I read the synopsis. I liked Elysia’s character and it was fun watching her experience things like chocolate for the first time (I totally agree with her assessment about it being something I would want to eat all the time!). None of the other characters really grabbed my interest very much and some like Elysia’s “brother” confused me. He was initially portrayed as this caring brother figure but then all of a sudden is a total douche bag without any sort of hints so it seemed totally random.
The two love interests were pretty blah as well. Pretty much they consisted of being totally hot, a fact about which you are reminded over and over and over. I didn’t really understand Elysia’s fascination with Tahir since that was pretty much an insta-love which irks me in most books. The other love interest isn’t really seen until almost the end of the book and while there is a little more basis for that one as it was the love interest of the girl she was cloned from it still felt too rushed.
The ending is chock full of plot twists, some interesting and some not so much, and I felt was too rushed compared to the slow pace of the rest of the book. Again I enjoyed it more than I expected but it’s not one I would bother reading again and I am on the fence about reading the next book in the series.