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The Originals Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8-10-Patrick delivers a far-fetched notion in a seamlessly palatable way. Lizzie is a clone-she and her two sisters divide the day and live as if they were one girl named Elizabeth. Their doctor mother was a genetics scientist at a lab secretly working on human-cloning research, and for moral reasons, she decided to steal the babies. In Florida, the girls were being reared as triplets when Mom suddenly uprooted them to California and created new identities for them. Lizzie, the narrator, is generally happy with her strange life until she falls for classmate Sean. Although they are nearly 17, the girls have never been able to risk dating. But Sean makes it impossible not to fall in love with him and doing so will destroy their carefully constructed lie. The implications of Lizzie and Sean's relationship lead to revelations, twists, and turns in this hard-to-put down, light sci-fi tale; the intensity builds and never lets up. Give this offering to Patrick's fans and chick-lit readers ready for something a little different.-Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Anyone meeting 17-year-old sisters Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey would think they are triplets. Of course, no one would meet them all at once, because each sister handles one part of their day—morning, afternoon, and evening. Truth is they aren’t actually sisters; they’re clones. The girls’ mother, a genetics scientist, used her own eggs for the cloning experiment and disappeared after the babies were born. But when the project was discovered, the government went looking for girl triplets. Dividing the day—so they would seem like one girl instead of three—became the new plan. But now the girls don’t want to lead a third of a life, especially narrator Lizzie, who finds a romantic relationship with classmate Sean. For all the possibilities here, not a great deal happens. This is more romance touched by a bit of mystery and some genetics than a sci-fi story. Readers will enjoy the setup, and there are a few tense moments in the middle, but no huge reveal. Give this to kids who like their cloning possibilities light and easy. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper
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Okay, so my sci-fi obsessed brain automatically screamed SO MUCH POTENTIAL when reading the synopsis because it's basically about human cloning! And human cloning is like *the* sci-fi hook in any book realistically. But, unpopular opinion time, I didn't think this book filled its potential. Feel free to boo and hiss.
But I do want to make it clear, I did enjoy this book, I just think it could have been a million times better.
Let me start by explaining the premise of this story. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsy look exactly alike, but aren't triplets. Nope, they're clones. Instead of just pretending to be triplets (that's too mainstream/it's actually fully explained in the book), they live as one person, each having their own time of the day that they're responsible for. Lizzie has the first half of school, Ella has the second half, and Betsy has after school cheerleading and college course. Complicated, I know. But then, Lizzie screws up a math test and suddenly, her mother makes her and Ella switch times, which of course leads to her meeting a boy (doesn't it always?). But then, they still have to pretend to be one person. Add in that Ella also starts to like a boy. I told you it was complicated. Dating in high school is hard enough, but when you're three different people and two of you want to date different boys, someone is going to get caught and it ain't gonna be pretty.
So that's the gist. But wait, there's more. Did I mention the psychotic mother?
That woman cray. She helped clone them and yada yada yada she controls their life and makes all their crucial decisions and yada yada yada she lies and it just gets more convoluted as the story continues. So basically, you're ready for a ginormous showdown of epic proportions and crazy secrets to be revealed, but that's not really what you get. The ending's easy and doesn't really involve danger (like you would expect). I hate using the word cop-out, but that's the only way I can think to describe it. Not to mention, the end end of the book is weird. It's just so unrealistic that I had a hard time remembering what I liked about the book. Oops.
But I did like the book, I really did. I'm just picky and like to complain. The characters were awesome, and you all know how much I love me some good characters. What I liked most was how even though the girls were clones, they each had a very distinct personality so it was easy to tell who was talking. I also love the idea of human clones, not in a way that I want it to actually happen right now, but the possibility of it entices me.
It was a light, sci-fi read so if that's what you're looking for, then look no further. The skeleton of the story was there, I just wish there was more meat on the bones. And coming from a long time vegetarian, that really says a lot.
I don't want to underrate this book by saying it's just another high school romance book (even though every book even a high school romance book is interesting and unique in its own way) because it is interesting, it is entertaining, and it did fulfill me in its own way. The clone concept isn't one that's around much which made this more engaging than your regular read. The Originals is basically how three cloned girls try to distinguish themselves from each other. They are doing this at a time where we are all trying to find our own identities - their struggle is just a bit more troublesome.
You would think that there would be three POV's but there is actually just one. Now is when I realize that, that could have made the story a little more interesting but at the time I was okay with it, still am, because with Lizzie I felt like she was finding herself the most. She's the one who feels like she isn't really anyone. She's just a third of a person. Ella is amazingly intelligent and flies through her classes and Betsy is this tough-take-chances type of girl. I actually really loved Betsey. Whenever she talked or did anything I had to admire her. She was really strong as was Lizzie. Lizzie was just coming into herself while Betsy always was the first to act. Lizzie was learning to be more of that person.
They have this really complicated relationship with their mother. I don't want to get into how they are who they are and the government agency because it's better to discover it yourself and nothing really big happens with it except well... you can figure it out on your own. Anyways her mother has them on a tight leash and I know that others have questioned why they didn't rebel sooner. Well, I understand where they are coming from. I honestly didn't think about it too much while I was reading it but I feel like now is when they are rebelling because they discovered that they can't live like this forever and that they don't know who they are. They are this one singular person and all that changes when boys get into the mix which is what boys do. Complicate things.
Lizzie's love interest is Sean Kelly. He's this super cute artist and superman-esqe look alike. He also has those superman moves in that he's the hero but Lizzie isn't a damsel in distress. He's just the overall good guy that is friendly towards anyone but he has his own twist to him since he's a writer and photographer. Him and Lizzie work well together. I wasn't anxious or doting on how adorable they were but they were cute together and they brought out their real selves with each other. They did have some moments where they got jealous of other people (naturally because people flirt and you can't control what your sisters do when they are essentially the only you the world knows about) and it was kind of like you just met each other you shouldn't be that jealous to give someone the stink eye or ask them abrupt questions. But, it was just tiny moments a couple of times so I wouldn't worry about it. Other than that they were fun to read about.
There is a little mystery and some events happen to them... (of course). It did keep me interested and guessing some about what was going on or what was going to happen to them so I liked that addition to the story. There is one other thing I didn't particularly like about the story other than the jealous moments and it was that the book ended a little weird. I mean I wanted to know what happened next and I think this book could have benefited with either a sequel or a less... let's just say weird ending.. but it's not quite that. It just ended a little too soon or not in the right place...I don't know it just was a little off for me but it didn't deter me from liking the overall ending of the story.
Overall: This was a fun read that provided me with a great reading escape. The twist of the main characters being clones and finding out their personalities and what was going to happen to them really made this story what it was - a wonderful, relaxing read.
And while this may not have been as well put together mystery wise as some of her stronger books, it was still every bit as engaging and entertaining and all of her work and therefore, still a winner by my score. This really was a fun read that took no time at all to plow through and enjoy.