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Beta Hardcover – October 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Beta (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423157192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423157199
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rachel Cohn is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, including Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake and, with David Levithan, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.

More About the Author

The great wish of my adolescence was to be diagnosed with scoliosis. Then I would be like Deenie. I LOVED the book "Deenie" by Judy Blume. I wanted to look like Deenie; I wanted her disease; I even wanted to live in Deenie's town, Elizabeth, New Jersey, a short hop from my dream destination, New York City. Although now that I live in Manhattan as an adult (with a fairly normal spine, I'm told), Elizabeth, New Jersey is more known to me as the place with the long lines at IKEA instead of as the hometown of Deenie. Like Deenie, my priorities eventually shifted.
I never did get that scoliosis diagnosis, but from my favorite childhood authors such as Judy Blume, E.L. Konigsburg and Ellen Conford, I did get inspiration for another goal: to write. I can't remember a time when I wasn't trying to create stories. When I started seriously writing fiction, I didn't set out to write specifically for young adults, but as my writing matured, it became clear that when I got stuck writing in teen voices, it was a good place to be stuck. The author question I get asked most often now is how I am able to write from the perspective of a teenager, as if I were in that character's head. The honest answer is, I don't know. I try not to think about it too much, for fear of ruining it. But I do feel like I can readily channel my own teenage self and tap into those feelings, and that's something I try to convey through the written word.
When teen readers write to me now telling me how much they relate to characters I've created -- Cyd Charisse in "Gingerbread" and "Shrimp," Annabel and Lucy in "The Steps" and "Two Steps Forward," or Wonder in "Pop Princess" -- I think, I relate, too: I wanted to be Deenie!

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Customer Reviews

This was a very interesting story.
mapleleafmanny
So, for the review skimmers, I will say that I enjoyed reading Beta quite a bit, but I am not altogether sure how I feel about it.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
The actual end of the book ended with a surprise twist that I didn't see coming, however, I thought it was a bit..
Ziare

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Before I got to read this one, I saw a few non-flattering reviews roll in, so I was on my guard, prepared for another in a string of disappointing reads. Thankfully, I enjoyed Beta pretty much all the way through, although I am definitely immensely skeptical about where the series is heading.

Beta takes place on an island paradise, home to only the richest and most fashionable of people. These people are so rich that they have clones, programmed to be emotionless and get work done perfectly, to take care of them, because, honestly, human butlers and nannies are just so last season. The rest of the world is not so nice, and is very different from the one we know today. Details on that are somewhat limited in Beta, but I hope to learn more about the Water Wars and what the cities are like in later installments.

I do need to talk for a bit about the concept of the clones to serve this island. Honestly, I don't get it. They talked about why they needed them: because good labor is too difficult to find, since the island didn't have natives and travel to the island is exceedingly expensive. That's nice and all, but I'm FAIRLY CERTAIN that producing clones is about 80 billion times more expensive than that. Also, the whole process seems suspect to me. For one thing, the person being cloned is supposed to be dead, which makes me wonder where all of the hot, dead people are coming from. Another problem with I have with this is the whole business about how they separate out the soul from the body. Did I miss when we figured out where the soul is? Has a physical soul been located in the future?

Betas are not supposed to be able to feel or taste anything. They should be, essentially, like robots. Elysia, our heroine, is a beta, a test clone for the new teen line.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A provocative, intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging tale of humanity, identity, ethics and free will, BETA is, in a word, fascinating. In this fun to read, absorbing and unique novel, Rachel Cohn addresses some interesting ethical issues about the pitfalls of cloning and bio-genetics. She introduces us to a great new heroine that, engineered to serve the wealthy residents of Demesne, is forced to either obediently follow all the rules or die. Disquieting, thrilling and haunting, BETA is the first book in what quickly became one of my new favourite YA dystopian series!

Set on an idyllic island inhabited by only the wealthiest, most powerful people in the world (Demesne), BETA tells the story of Elysia, a first in a new generation of teenage clones. Elysia's life is not her own. She is a clone and therefore she does not experience emotions or desires. She is merely an expensive toy, a servant, a valuable possession designed to do whatever she's asked to do. While she's a novelty that her owners like to show off to their friends, she's also totally expendable and even the smallest hint of being a "defect" will result in her immediate termination. What will happen to Elysia when she'll discover that she might be, indeed, a defect? Will she find it in herself to fight for her life and freedom? In a world where clones are nothing more than slaves, and emotions and desires - a sign of imperfection, is there any hope for this unwanted clone who so desperately wants to live?

BETA has a lot to offer. It's well-written, fast-paced, filled with jaw-dropping twists and unexpected - at times even shocking - plot developments. From the first page to the last, it's a wild, breathtaking ride that is sure to surprise you at least a few times.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Guest Hollow on November 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a dystopian junkie. I can't get enough of them. I was really looking forward to reading Beta which appears to be a dystopia/sci-fi mix, but it turned out to be a colossal disappointment. I'm giving it two stars instead of one because the concept was terrific but the execution of the story fell totally flat.

Beta started out with an interesting premise: On a island built around luxury, dead humans are cloned and created to serve in a variety of positions. These clones, while functioning like their human counterparts are missing a very important component: a soul. They function, but they don't taste, wish or feel. They are mimics programmed to serve and please their human masters.

The main character of Beta is an untested clone, one of the first teenage "experimental" models - a Beta named Elysia. She is born, not knowing who she is, learning about the world around her by accessing the chip implanted in her brain and slowly acclimating to her role of servitude. She is a "good girl" doing what she was programmed to do and fitting into her new family in a role not unlike a pet.

The first part of the book was intriguing. Elysia seems to be very good at certain things like swimming and diving...holdovers from her "First" - the person she was cloned from. She discovers she can taste. She experiences flashbacks of her previous, human life. She begins to realize she's different from the other clones. Maybe something is terribly wrong? And yet it feels so right! Elysia carries this secret with her - afraid of what it might mean. Perhaps she is defective...

Sadly, the story started falling apart as it progressed and felt like something a tween would write with wooden non-varied sentence structure that reminded me of a second grade primer.
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