The Originals by Cat Patrick, published by Electric Monkey on 6th May 2013
I glance at the three baby portraits in thick wooden frames. I feel a familiar prickling on the back of my neck. Because I know there's another picture somewhere - and the baby in that photo looks identical to the babies on the wall. Somewhere, there's a photo of the original.
Ella, Betsy and I look like sisters: triplets, you might think. But that's not what we are at all.
We are clones in hiding. We split our lives and exist as one person in the outside world. And we've always been happy. But now I've fallen head-over-heels in love . . . and that changes everything.
Because, to let love in, I need to be allowed to be Me.
Cat Patrick is one of my favourite authors. I would read literally anything she writes. This is her third book and yet again she does not disappoint with an original plot which throws up plenty of ethical questions for readers to consider. In 'The Originals' the story centres on three girls who give the appearance of being sisters but are actually clones. What I loved about this was that Cat never takes the story too far into the realms of science and although this is touched upon, the girls are very much just like you and me and the plot is strongly grounded in reality.
Lizzie, Ella and Betsey are the three girls who have been kept secret for their whole lives. Only allowed to each live a third of a day, they take it in turns to be seen out in public. Nobody knows that there are three of them until Lizzie meets Sean and everything changes. I loved each of the girls. They may be clones but they have very different personalities and never came across as carbon copies of each other. They are extremely close and share an extremely unique bond, but you never forget that they are individuals too.
Lizzie is the focal point for the majority of the book, as events unfold from her point of view. She seemed to be the most headstrong out of the three and she is the first to really begin to question the existence that they are living. I felt like I got to know her much better than either Ella or Betsey who don't feature quite as prominently. The three of them have been content to follow the rules and do as they are told, until the growing relationship between Lizzie and Sean acts as the catalyst for them to seize control of their lives.
The science side of the story is explored but never in a great amount of detail. The girls are always portrayed as much more than just a scientific experiment; they are living, breathing human beings. Some of the ethics around the issue of human cloning are addressed and I found this an intriguing and interesting aspect of the book. It's left very much up to the reader to decide where they stand on this controversial issue.
The ending was brilliant and featured a quite unexpected twist which threw me for a loop. I never saw it coming at all! I adored 'The Originals' which was a stellar read and I'm beyond excited to see what Cat Patrick will end up writing about next.