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Strange New World by Rachel Vincent

Strange New World

by Rachel Vincent

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193825,206 (4)None
Dahlia thinks all of her clones have been destroyed, but then discovers that one still exists--Waverly Whitmore, who is teenage royalty, a media sensation with millions of fans--who has no idea that she is a clone.



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Continuing Dahlia's story, Waverly has to come to terms with being a clone and it's ramifications. Seeing clones through new eyes, both Dahlia and Waverly work to save themselves and the clones. There were similarities in actions/words to 100 Hours and I had to remind myself this was a different series by the same author. Interesting read, I liked that the author included an epilogue.
( )
  wyldheartreads | Jun 20, 2019 |
Literary Merit: Great
Characterization: Great
Recommended: Yes
Level: High School

This was actually an extremely fun read, and one that wasn't hard to follow despite being a sequel (I know, I know; I have a bad habit of accidentally picking up sequels to review). The characters are layered and have distinct personalities, the plot is intriguing and suspenseful, and the conclusion is satisfying while leaving things open-ended for the reader to fill in the blanks. My only gripe is that I wish this book were longer, as the plot seemed to go really fast and the story ended far too soon.

Strange New World continues the story of Dahlia 16, a girl who has been raised as a clone her entire life in a place known as Lakeview. Though she has been raised her entire life to believe that her life is the norm - training to provide a useful service to society as one of 5,000 identicals - she has recently discovered that the world is very different from her life at Lakeview. After escaping the prison of Lakeview, she finds herself wrapped up in drama she never expected. Enter Waverly Whitmore, an extremely famous and pampered girl who has known nothing but privilege and good fortune her entire life. What she does not know, however, is that she is not the only girl wearing her face. She quickly learns that she is actually Dahlia's clone, and that her genes were created in a lab at the request of her parents, who could not conceive a child naturally. As the two girls become friends, they quickly realize that thousands of real, breathing, feeling human beings are being raised as obedient slaves with no rights... and it's up to them to change the status quo before it's too late.

I absolutely adore fantasy and sci-fi, and this title did not disappoint. Rather than focusing on aliens or being a classic dystopian novel, this book has an extremely interesting premise: what if we got so good at creating clones from saved DNA that we were able to replace every-day labor? What would be the consequences of replacing normal citizens with clones, and what rights should clones (who are still people in every biological sense) be expected to have? This book can easily spark a lot of discussions , and brings up uncomfortable issues like mind control and modern slavery. At the same time, however, the book is highly entertaining, with characters who are easy to get invested in and root for.

Speaking of the characters, I really liked the dimensions that Vincent gave each of the characters. For example, Waverly (being a spoiled, rich heiress) could have easily been a villainous brat. Instead, she actually grows to care for her clone, and for the issues facing clones in general. What starts as a logistical nightmare (Dahlia has to pretend to be Waverly for public appearances due to a mishap involving a tattoo), becomes a platform on which Waverly begins to stand, realizing the power and influence she has over her massive audience. In the age of YouTube, I think this is an important message to spread. And, while Waverly might get a tad whiny at times, in the end she sacrifices her popularity and good name in order to do what she knows to be morally right. I was happy to see this, along with yet another strong female friendship between Dahlia and Waverly.

I also really appreciated the relationships between characters, romantic and otherwise. Hennessy and Waverly have a sweet, supportive relationship, and Trigger and Dahlia's relationship continues to develop as the novel progresses. I also liked seeing the dynamic between Waverly and her mom; Lorna might be trying to protect the daughter she loves, but in doing so is willing to do despicable things. At the same time, you can tell she genuinely cares about keeping her family together, so her struggle is at times very sympathetic. This was a woman who risked literally everything to have a child, and I felt myself sympathizing with her even when I wanted to slap her for some of her actions.

As a random note, I also thought it was very cool that this book both showed and discussed menstruation, as not many YA books bother to do so. Because Dahlia was raised as a clone, she knows nothing of fertility and the reproductive process, so there is a scene in which she discovers her period for the first time and has no idea what it is. While I think this book is skewed more towards high school girls, very few books aimed at teen girls talk about things like periods and fertility. Waverly's struggle with hormones and fertility was also unique, as this isn't usually something girls worry about when they're still young. It is, however, something that could be very important in the future, so I was pleased to see this very small addition to the plot.

As I said above, my only gripe with this book is that it felt too short and rushed at times, with things developing almost too quickly for my comfort. I would've liked to see more time dedicated to Dahlia and Waverly's growing friendship, as well as a much slower unraveling to the mystery of the clones and Lakeview. The end, while satisfying, also felt very rushed, as there were many questions I had that were left unanswered. For example, were there any legal repercussions for what the four teens did to the factory building? Does Waverly ever find a cure to both her infertility and her expiration date? How does her popularity change after the live broadcast and the information she reveals? What about the workers and average citizens protesting due to lack of jobs? I think there could easily be a third book exploring all of these things, but if there isn't, I'm going to be left filling in a lot of these blanks for myself. And, while this isn't always a bad thing, I would've liked to see more time devoted to tying up loose ends.

As a whole, this was a very well-written and entertaining book. As someone who hasn't read the first book, I must also say that this one was extremely forgiving, and it was easy to pick up the things I might've missed from the first book. I would still recommend reading the first book first, of course (it contains all of Dahlia's backstory and how she escaped Lakeview), but it's still an easy read if you decide to jump in on book two like I did. I would highly recommend this to fans of sci-fi, romance, or suspenseful novels, as it has all three elements in equal measure. The premise is interesting and explored in a fun way, and the characters feel both flawed and extremely human in their emotions and actions. I plan on reading Brave New Girl as soon as I can, and I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next! ( )
  SWONroyal | Jul 29, 2018 |
Literary Merit: Good
Character Merit: Fair
Other: Some Violence and language makes suitable to teens
Recommendation: Grades 7-10

Dahlia 16 was able to escape the Lakeview compound with the help of Trigger 17 but her cohort of clones weren’t so lucky. Now Dahlia finds out there is one more clone of her-Waverly Witmore and she is a social sensation with millions of followers. The catch is Waverly doesn’t know she is a clone. Dahlia and Trigger make their way to Waverly with the purpose of exposing the Administrator and the cloning project-that clones are thinking feeling people.

But Waverly’s parents make a devil’s bargain to keep Waverly safe-turn over Dahlia 16 and in return Waverly will get the medical treatment she needs to save her life. Dahlia knows nothing of this devious plot, she just wants to free her “sisters” and keep other clones from being treated like slaves. Waverly knows it’s wrong but she wants to live a long life and marry the man she loves. Two identical people with very different agendas- what will each girl decide and what will happen in this brave new world?

This was a fast, quick read. Both Dahlia and Waverly were interesting characters with distinct voices. The plot was interesting and there was enough action and romance to keep the pace moving. Some violence and language makes this suitable for middle to older teens. Grades 7-10. ( )
  SWONroyal | Jun 30, 2018 |
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