ARC Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

Title: The Similars
Author: Rebecca Hanover
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Publication Date: January 1st, 2019

Summary: The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars. Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face.

I received an ARC of The Similars at BookExpo this year, after watching a panel that Rebecca was on. While she was describing her book, I found myself hooked, and I immediately knew that I needed a copy. Luckily for me, she was hosting a signing shortly after the panel, which I immediately sped on over to. Not only did I get this fantastic book, but I also got to meet the author behind it, and she's super sweet and spectacular as well! <3

Okay, okay. Enough chitchat. It's time for my review!

As the summary explains, Emma lives in a world where The Similars exist --genetically identical clones that look exactly like their actual counterparts. They aren't robots or anything like that -- they're regular kids, with regular lives, who grow up in normal situations (or so you think)...they just have more than a doppelganger out there. They have an actual identical twin. So it's strange enough for Emma when six Similars come to her elite boarding school, being that all of them are copies of another student at school. But it's the sixth one that hurts her the most -- Levi, who is an exact replica of her best friend Ollie. The same Ollie that committed suicide over the summer and left her heart shattered in a million different pieces when she found him.

What I really liked about this book was how different it was. As any avid reader knows, it can be hard to find a refreshing story that takes you on an emotional trip you haven't ever really considered before. Luckily for me, The Similars gave me exactly that. This new premise chilled me down to my core while it also made me contemplate some things about my own life, such as what makes me me -- clearly, as this book indicates, your DNA isn't the only thing that truly makes you an individual. So this book definitely messes with your head and drags you into a really intense story that you'll find yourself unable to step out of. This book hooked me from start to finish, and that's what I enjoyed most about it!

My favorite character in this book was definitely Emma. She was super headstrong and was always outspoken about what was right, which was just part of the reason that I was cheering her on throughout the entire book. Her love for her family and for her friends was so evident throughout the entire story, and when she was with Levi...*swoon* That's all I'm going to say on that topic, but you should definitely pick up the book to find out more.

There really wasn't anything that I disliked about this book. There were a few times here and there where I felt like time jumped pretty fast and I needed to take a second to get my bearings (such as during Thanksgiving Break, Christmas, etc.), but other than that, there wasn't really anything that distracted me from this story. I was completely, totally hooked, and my eyes were practically burning by the time I put this book down because I couldn't look away -- I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next, which is how I tore through this nearly 400-paged book in only a few days! (And yes, I may have stumbled on my walk to class once or twice because I was walking with the book in front of my face and didn't realize where I was going...oops.)

(Spoilers in this paragraph, so skip to the next one if you don't want the story ruined for you!) OMG, though, that ENDING. I love reading advanced copies of books and being able to share my thoughts on them with you guys, but now it's going to be so tough not only waiting for THIS book's release, but also for news about the sequel, because that's definitely something that I need. I was totally shocked when Ollie ended up being alive, but I'm sad to report that I actually was expecting the plot twist with Emma being a Similar. I can't even explain how I knew it, other than the fact that there was a large emphasis on Emma's disconnect with her father and her "miraculous" recovery was never really explained/was brushed over pretty easily, so that was the biggest hint for me. But I still enjoyed reading it, and it wasn't so glaringly obvious that it disappointed me when it eventually came around in the story!

Overall, I absolutely loved The Similars and I know that I'll be recommending this book to all of my friends and family members that love a little psychological thrill. This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster and held me hostage from start to finish, but I was honestly so delighted about that, because this was such an incredible story. I haven't ever read anything like this before, which was part of what made it so wonderful. But you can definitely count on the fact that I'll be reading the second book -- hopefully we won't have to wait too long for it! 

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