The Similars by Rebecca Hanover (DRC): Boarding Schools, Clones, and Mystery

3.5 stars

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she finds out one of them is a clone of her dead best friend.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. But Emma couldn’t care less, and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without Oliver. Coming face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica–is the exact opposite of what she wants, 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.

🌸 Would recommend for 13+! It might actually appeal more to younger viewers because of its more subtle and low-key nature.

Mixed feelings on this one because although I felt like it met the requirements for a Decent Book, I still wanted more and wasn’t 100% in love with this.

I mean–it was pretty good. I think the characters were interesting enough and there was nothing glaringly obviously bad about it. It was all there: boarding school, clones, mystery, secretish societies, rich people.

Yet, as much as the concept was good and even the plot, somewhere along the way, the execution kind of lost me.

And it’s not like Hanover is a bad writer. It’s just that this book honestly was just a little . . . drab.

There, I said it. I felt like it could have used more spice and atmosphere and world-building. It could have used more, emotion (?) I guess. Investment? Something that really connected the reader with the story, because I honestly felt just vaguely disconnected.

I wanted to be absorbed into the almost dark nature of the boarding school–there are so many awesome twisty, dark secret society upper echelon boarding school stories with that dark, almost sinister atmosphere.

I wanted that. I didn’t really get it. Yes, there was a hazing scene, but beyond that it didn’t really reach the atmospheric quintessential “boarding school feel” that I was looking for.

And the twists were just a little predicatable? Which in general I don’t mind, but I wanted them to still be executed in a way that really felt shocking, you know?

I think you can have something predictable and still shocking if you add the right amount of emotional intensity into the scene, and I just didn’t find that.

Overall, it felt almost like this book lacked passion. And it’s not to say that Hanover wasn’t passionate about this–it’s just that I didn’t feel that type of intensity that I was hoping to find in this novel.

However, there were still a lot of pluses. I still thought the plot was inventive and interesting.

We don’t get a lot of stories on clones in YA (not enough, anyways) and I always think it’s a really fun idea to explore. I believe Hanover did a good job in exploring this portion, and I really enjoyed what she did do about the clones.

Plus, the backstory was developed pretty well, and I thought that there were clues along the way that helped, although it did kind of feel like Emma–the main character–was doing a lot of waiting.

A lot of this book is Emma thinking about stuff, and the middle portion sagged a bit in my opinion, because that’s where the least amount of action. I could tell Hanover was trying to keep it engaging, but it did end up losing me in the middle where weeks passed and not a lot really happened.

Overall, I though The Similars had a good concept & plot, but the execution was just kind of lacking and I wanted more from this. If you do like the sound of a not 100% mystery focused mystery (something a little more low key than a full mystery), I might suggest this!

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Are you excited for The Similars? Have you read any books about clones?

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12 thoughts on “The Similars by Rebecca Hanover (DRC): Boarding Schools, Clones, and Mystery

    1. it’s definitely a really cool concept!!! for more books on clones, I definitely suggest Lauren Oliver’s REPLICA duology! I liked that one a little more (more actiony) but still has lots of interesting clone vibes!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you SO much for sharing this review, Vicky! ❤ The Similars is one of my most anticipated reads for the new year and I really like the concept of it all and the boarding school setting, too. I'm sorry to hear it was lacking a little bit and missing the atmosphere you were eagerly waiting for. I think I'll lower my expectations for that one a bit. Thank you so much! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. of course, Marie!!! I hope you still love it–I checked out the reviews and they’re all kind of meh, but fingers crossed that this ends up being that CLICK book for you! (I’ve had those–everyone is meh but it’s soooo good for you). but YES BOARDING SCHOOL IS SO FUN? I love the idea (tbh college sounds like boarding school to me)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fingers crossed! 🙂 and yesss, I love boarding school stories SO much as well 😀 (though for me college wasn’t a boarding school kind of experience at all since I never lived on campus, I’m guessing in the US it’s more like that so… that sounds fun haha)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m late to the party but this is a really good review! the concept for the book sounds awesome (boarding schools are my kryptonite lol), but i’m disappointed to hear it wasn’t super atmospheric because that’s part of what makes the whole boarding school setting great!! i hope your next read is better!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh lol it’s never too late! thank you–I LOVE boarding school books too! the atmosphere really is important, and it was a bit disappointing. if you do read, I hope you end up loving it more than I did!

      Liked by 1 person

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