Cate’s sister may be a clone, but that doesn’t make her a killer. Does it? Murder, morality, and a slow-burning romance fill the pages of this futuristic thriller “for die-hard fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games” (Kirkus Reviews).
When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same face. The same perfect smile. She even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.
She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.
At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.
Gaither's SF thriller derives its emotional power from the relationship between 16-year-old Cate Benson and her maddening, defiant older sister. After Cate's young sister, Violet, dies, she is replaced by a clone (also named Violet). Cate has spent the years following her sister's death torn between resentment at her new sibling's wild-child antics, protectiveness toward a family member demonized by anti-cloning protestors and sensationalist media, and the conviction that "Old-Violet" and "New-Violet" are two different people, despite her parents' insistence that they are one and the same. "I still love her. And part of me hates her for that." A clich d plot to create an army of brainwashed clones drives the action; the antagonists remain one-note. Cate's romance with an anti-cloning advocate's son is similarly rote, but her love interest's dynamic with his informally adopted brother deepens the themes of sibling love and unconventional (but no less real) familial relationships. As Cate and the brothers search for a missing and volatile Violet, they suffer real losses in chilling confrontations with eerily familiar adversaries. A solid debut whose gut-punch ending leaves room for a sequel. Ages 12 up.