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Book Review: BETA by Rachel Cohn


Realistically, I will probably love Rachel Cohn’s books no matter what, because her writing was one of the lures that initially built up my strong and hard faith in YA literature. It was the frank talk about teen sexuality in the Shrimp and Gingerbread series as well as  Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with David Levithan(as well as the quirky and believable voices, and the nonchalant presence of actual gay characters).

BETA takes a leap away from Cohn’s typical trope of quirky-smart modern girl meeting life head-on in a big city– and takes place in a pretty much post-apocalyptic future. Elysia is a Beta, a laboratory-born clone designed to serve a wealthy family as the perfect daughter. She has no emotions, opinions, or sense of taste, and there is a chip implanted under her skin to track her location at all times. This is the life that she wakes up into at age 16. Within a short time, however, things start to change quite radically.

Beta is well-written and super engaging. I read it in less than 24 hours. The post-apocalypse world in which the characters live  is pretty convincing, and lightly touches on some social commentary about our current times, but not as much as other futuristic teen novels such as the Hunger Games or Uglies. My only critique of BETA is that the pacing is sometimes kind of weird. The timeline and markers of Elysia’s eh, awakening– seem to all happen faster than I wanted them to. But maybe that’s how the story goes 😉

Find a copy here


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