Young Adult novels: a relatively new genre that has been gaining popularity rapidly through the last few years… but mainly among it’s intended audience. Young readers have finally been given a genre for them alone. Plot, character, and themes are predictable–but not in a bad way: Adult Crime Fiction readers know what to expect in their novels. Now, kids have their own world of literature populated with characters who are sassy, shy, or super-smart, but mainly and always: relatable. Their stories involve questions of love, legacy, friendship, and responsibility. Choices are made. Battles are won.
While this is all good in it’s own right, it is about time (already!) that the genre was shaken up a little bit. Lauren Oliver’s Replica has done just that, drawing the attention of not only young readers, but also adults. Come on in, adults, the water’s nice.
Replica might have those beautiful, familiar themes and characters from YA fiction, however, this author has challenged the form. She has given young readers art. She is doing what all YA (and most other) fiction strives to do: not just tell a story, but get your readers involved. She is making her readers actually invest and connect with the story instead of just absorbing it. She did this by, yes, writing well, but also by her innovative approach to YA form and structure: she has written her YA novel as a flip book.
Two stories, told separately. You don’t read this book cover-to-cover, you read it front-cover-to-middle, back-cover-to-middle, middle-to-front, back-to-front, here, there, and everywhere. As Bustle wrote, “There’s no wrong way to read this book.” You now can make choices in how you understand the story.
Lauren Oliver has brilliantly found a way to allow young readers to understand this concept–the idea that they, the readers, are in charge of their own understanding of literature. By giving readers the chance to read the story various ways, Oliver is showing readers that literature is a deeply personal experience: you read and understand someone else’s words in your own terms, in your own way. You apply someone else’s wisdom to your own life through your personal worldview. No one will read any literature–especially Replica–the same way as anyone else.
YouTube Channel: Lauren Oliver
Featured image via Amazon