Replication by Jill Williamson
Published December 2011 by Zonderkidz
Genre: Christian young adult suspense with sci-fi flavoring

Abby Goyer’s not too happy when her scientist father moves her to Alaska from Washington, D.C. He’s secretive about his new job, and that bothers her too, especially based on his history of working in a lab that was trying to clone human embryos for use in cancer research. She’s a Christian, and she wishes he would see the light.

The 17-year-old boy’s name is J:3:3, but his nickname is Martyr. That’s because he’s always protecting the younger and weaker ones from the bullies in the underground laboratory where he lives. Of course, all the boys look alike, weak and strong. That’s because they’re clones. Martyr also knows he’s got just two weeks to live, because when he turns 18 he is scheduled to expire. Before he dies, he’d like one simple thing–to see the sky. He’s never seen it.

It isn’t long before Martyr’s and Abby’s worlds collide. Abby wants to shut down the lab and rescue the boys. But there are plenty of people standing in the way, not the least of them Dr. Jason Kane, who will stop at nothing to save himself and the clone who carries the kidneys Kane needs to live: Martyr.

What do I think? This book has some funny moments as well as plenty of drama. Especially unnerving is the scientists’ conviction that the cloned boys they work with are not human, but merely copies, like photocopies.  And Williamson does a wonderful job of imagining what it would be like to be raised in a dormitory bunker environment devoid of color, and suddenly finding oneself above ground in wintry rural Alaska. It’s a wonderful book for all ages, with a strong faith element and lots of food for thought. Highly recommended. This book releases in December; you can pre-order it at a discount.

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