Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Originals

The OriginalsPatrick, Cat. The Originals.
7 May 2013, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
ARC from Baker and Taylor.

Ella, Bet and Lizzie are clones, stolen by their scientist mother when she feared they would be discarded by the lab where she worked. When they were young, they were treated as triplets, but when the scientist for whom the mother worked was sent to jail, the family went into hiding and the girls all had to live as one person-- Elizabeth. The mother has the girls on a strict schedule and makes them wear a GPS necklace so she can keep tabs on them. Lizzie, who tells the story, is assigned part of the school day. She struggles in science, and finds a boyfriend, Sean. Ella is better at science but has romantic intentions of here own with David, whom the mother approves but who is rather a creep. Bet does cheer and classes at the community college, and is a bit retiring and ready to let her sisters make her choices. The group have to wear the same clothes and keep current on what the others are doing, so life is complicated. When Lizzie wants to spend more time with Sean and make her own friends, her mother panics. It doesn't help that a stranger is following the girls around asking questions, and the girls' mother has a secret office that makes them suspect that she isn't really working as an emergency room doctor. Lizzie finally has enough, but just as she is ready to confront her mother about finding the girl she thinks might be the "original" the family spirals into danger. How can the girls ever win their indepence?
Strengths: This was a compelling, original read. Unlike The Different Girl, I appreciated that we were told up front what was going on and were more concerned with how the girls dealt with the situation. Like the other title by this author, Forgotten, there is also a nice, middle grade appropriate romance as well. Good stuff.
Weaknesses: It seemed to me that the mother WAS borderline abusive, and while this was discussed a little, the girls eventually forgive her. This was somehow disturbing. I am giving this one to Picky Reader-- I think she will enjoy it, since she likes books with abusive parents!

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