In a world constructed to absolute perfection, imperfection is difficult to understand—and impossible to hide.
Elysia is a clone, created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen year old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of teenaged clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to be created.
Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air there induces a strange, euphoric high that only the island's workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to.
At first, Elysia's new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, the most privileged people in the world who should want for nothing, yearn. And, she comes to realize that beneath its flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent amongst Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When Elysia's one chance at happiness is ripped away from her with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
Rachel Cohn’s books are like bananas-first you take some time to open it and then you get to devour the whole thing (if that makes any sense, ha!). Beta was a fantastic story about a teen beta clone who’s trying to figure out life and how she wants to live it. The cover is absolutely beautiful and pictures Elysia perfectly.
Elysia was a great protagonist and I loved how the author made it so readers could distinguish a clone from a human. We really see her character developing throughout the book and her relationships with others seemed very real. The romance in this novel surprised me because I thought at first that it would be insta-love, but it turned out to be a fairly paced relationship.
The writing in this book was amazingly descriptive. I could feel and see what it was like to live in Demesne and it seemed like the perfect utopic-dystopian paradise. The air and water was scientifically changed into “happy” air and water which made the islanders feel relaxed (which was the reason why they needed clones to work for them).
The summary says that the book is science fiction but I would say it’s more on the dystopian side because even though the clones and the islands were biologically engineered, the focus was more on what was going wrong with the “perfect” island and it’s people/clones. I wish that there would’ve been more detail on how the clones were made, why there were defects, etc.
I really enjoyed reading Beta and I think that most YA readers will too. The ending was cliff-hangery, so if you do read it be prepared to throw your fist in the air and demand the second book because that’s what I did (haha)…4.5 Stars!