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Beta by Rachel Cohn
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Cohn explores the theme of clones used as slave labor, while also addressing the larger questions of identity and freedom. A remote paradise for the very wealthy provides the opportunity to contrast the clone's growing awareness of self with the rampant materialism on the island. This was a very enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to the sequel, Emergent. ( )
  PeggyDean | Sep 3, 2016 |
I have to admit, I only wanted to read this book because I recently, finally, read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares...in which Ms. Cohn is a co-writer. I usually stay away from most science fiction/dystopian YA novels just because they are usually worse than I expect. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I didn't hate it but it won't be my favorite book.

I don't know if anyone else saw a moderately decent movie called 'The Island' with Scarlett Johannssen and Ewan McGregor, this book reminded of me a younger version of that movie. It was very hard for me to look past that while reading, I did try thought. Elysia is a good character but I found it difficult to relate to her.

The idea for this book is excellent, I will say that above all else, I just think it lacked a little in character believability. I also didn't enjoy Tariq's character, their "relationship" just never felt right. I think Ms. Cohn makes lofty goals with this book and lives up to most of them but not quite all. I will check out the next book in the series to make my final decision on it. ( )
  rosetyper9 | Nov 12, 2015 |
3.5 stars. The writing seemed a little stiff but it seemed to work for the most part because of the nature of the story. It got kind of violent towards the end so it's not for those who don't handle violence well or don't want to read about it. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
I love science fiction, so I am all about suspending my disbelief. But the author has to help, and frankly, the premise here demands a whole lot more world-building than it got. It has been pointed out elsewhere in the reviews that the whole idea of one human dying to enable the creation of one clone is nonsensical. I mean, why bother? Why not keep the original person and do a brain wipe and a lobotomy? Would there be legal issues in regard to their humanity? Well, yes, but creatures made out of human flesh walking around would surely raise the same issues. The whole point of cloning is that you just need a little bitty bit of person to make a new one.

And the bandying about of the concept of souls - to the point where we find out that all the clones' original Firsts' souls are stashed in little bottles somewhere - doesn't seem to make much sense. If the island or mainland society were theocratic or something, the idea of a soul might mean something, but everyone there seems totally secular and unabashedly inclined to tinkering with the environment and the genome, and I felt like the soul as a tangible entity was pointlessly anachronistic.

Elysia's clonal arc seems jumpy, uneven, and inconsistent to the point where I kept getting bounced right out of the narrative. The various romantic and/or sexual developments felt clunky and creepy.

I'm honestly sorry to be so negative. It's just that I think there was a good story here, good enough that I am disappointed that the result wasn't better. ( )
1 vote Magatha | Aug 28, 2013 |
Beta takes place in a world where humans have finally succeeded in creating perfection however, other humans are subjugated clones whose only purpose in life is serve others. Elysia is the main character born as an ideal teen begins to exhibit behaviors that she is not supposed to since she is perfect. There are some scenes of violence that could be uncomfortable for younger teens. I do not recommend the book for teens younger than 14. I would also suggest reading the book Origin by Jessica Khoury first if interested in S/F stories about Gen-Mod and perfection. It is a better written book and despite scenes of violence, Origin is a read alike that is suitable for readers 12 and up. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 30, 2013 |
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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 under­current of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations cloud­ing 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 happi­ness 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.

The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, Beta is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor­rupted world.

[retrieved from www.loc.gov (Library of Congress) 1/12/2013]
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"On a futuristic island paradise where humans are served by enslaved clones, a sixteen-year-old clone named Elysia seeks her own freedom"--

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