If you had the option to clone yourself, would you? I know, it sounds wild, but having two versions of yourself means you could do and be so much more, right? Well, that’s what Lucille Harper, the main character in Half Life by Lillian Clark, thinks. But what we want isn’t always what we get.
I remember the first book I ever read about clones. I don’t remember what it was called (I borrowed it from the library when I was in elementary school, back in the 90s), but I remember what it was about: a young girl with a seemingly great life finds out her super rich parents keep cloning her because she’s sick and they need body parts for surgery to keep her alive. It bothered me so much I vowed to never read anything about clones again. Since then, I’ve read a couple others, but figured it was time to give another book a chance.
In Half Life, we meet Lucille, who is truly pushing herself to her limits. She’s a high school student trying to get the best marks, get accepted to the best schools, work part time, study for the SATs, and do it all perfectly. On top of this, her parents recently announced their (very unexpected) divorce. That, paired with a rejection letter for a summer internship, sets her over the edge.
Lucille signs up for a trial program with a company called Life2. She’ll get a clone for a couple weeks, and then simply return it afterwards. What could possibly go wrong?
Obviously, a lot of things.
What Lucille thinks will be a routine couple of weeks quickly begins to go sideways. Her clone, Lucy, isn’t some brain-dead copy that will just follow along and listen. She might have Lucille’s looks and memories, but she has a mind of her own and wants autonomy.
This book was great because yes, it has a lot of YA themes (romance, high school drama, stress over applying to college), but it also wove in themes of morality, ethics, and identity. Lucy might be a clone of Lucille, but their personalities are not the same; at the end of the day, they are two very different people.
I also really enjoyed how many different genres were blended together in Half Life. There are elements of YA contemporary, science fiction, and a bit of mystery/thriller thrown in as well. It’s a fast paced story that will keep you on your seat and entertained until the very end.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Half Life by Lillian Clark came out on June 9, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.