Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Replication" by Jill Williamson

Age: Young Adult
Genre: Fiction

A boy labeled J:3:3, nicknamed “Martyr,” has lived in an underground compound for his entire seventeen years. This whole time a team of doctors have raised him and the other “J’s” (short for “Jason”), and the doctors have told them the air above is toxic. They are part of a project to help save those who live on the Earth’s surface, and they must “expire” at age 18 to fulfill their lives’ purposes. It is almost Martyr’s time to expire, but he doesn’t want to die without seeing something he has heard about called the “sky.” He steals security badges and sneaks out of the compound, called “Jason Farms,” stowing away in a doctor’s truck. Martyr soon realizes the air is not toxic and, with the help of a girl he meets named Abby, discovers the true nature of Jason Farms and why he and the other Jasons are there.

Replication is a multi-faceted story that covers topics including incurable disease, human drug testing, cloning, and dating violence. As Martyr and Abby delve into the secrets of Jason Farms, the mystery keeps the reader turning pages, hoping to discover why such a place exists and how the scientists keep their research secret from everyone. However the story is not all darkness and science fiction. The reader also gets to see Abby, a new girl in town, develop friendships with those around her, including Martyr, and teach others about her faith in God and Jesus Christ.  Though Abby struggles with the death of her mother, she still prays to see “how God made beauty from ashes.” She trusts “that God would take care of Marty [her name for Martyr] and the other clones” and she uses prayer to get through every challenge she faces. She tells Martyr about God and does her best to answer his questions and even helps him confess his sins and ask God to come into his life. Abby makes talking to God and telling others about him seem realistic, and her example may help the reader see ways to share his or her faith with others in life.

Between the suspense, mystery, science fiction, and teen romance, Replication has something to keep any teenage reader turning pages.

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