Replication: The Jason Experiment by Jill Williamson
Genre: YA, Christian, Sci-fi
Published: December 27th 2011 by Zonderkidz
When Your Life Is Not Your Own
Martyr---otherwise known as Jason 3:3---is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to 'expire' in less than a month. To see the sky. Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars. As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures---the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he's ever known.
Replication: the Jason Experiment has many different components that make it an excellent book.
The plot is intricately woven, exciting, fast-paced, and realistic. Yes it's about clones, but Williamson does an excellent job of keeping it from feeling ridiculous and impossible. She builds her world realistically and believably. The story starts off compelling, keeps you interested the whole time, and ends with potential. I like the ending because it doesn't feel like happyland syndrome (even though it's a happy ending) because it's an open ending: Williamson doesn't write everything down, but you pretty much know what happens, and it makes you feel so happy.
The characters are very complex. Abby is a Christian, but she's not perfect by any stretch. The youth pastor is a good guy, but he's not perfect either. Abby's relationship with God is realistic, her relationship with her father (who isn't saved) is hard to watch, but she tries to stay above reproach in the way she deals with his misunderstandings of her. I would have liked to know more about how Abby came to know Christ, but not knowing didn't take away from her story or her character. And maybe that's a story for another time.
Even though all the Jason's are clones, they are all very different. There are similar things about them, like their expressions (and probably their likes and dislikes) but they all have very unique characters. This story tackles the concept that yes we are born with DNA that determines a lot about us, but the way we grow up and the lifestyle we have and the influences around us also seriously impact our thoughts and choices. It's a balancing act; Williamson exposes it.
This book is a Christian novel, but it doesn't feel preachy (I call this Fictional Preaching), nor does it feel like a girl with a perfect almost sappy relationship with God. It's realistic. Abby fails, Abby sins, but she keeps going the right direction and she doesn't give up.
Lastly, the romance between the characters starts off subtle enough that you don't think anything of it, and stays real. It's not about the physical—so many teen romances start off that way. In fact, this novel says a lot about love: it's about them as people seeing examples of the love of Christ in each other! and because they love Christ, they love each other. And that's the way love is supposed to be: We love because He first loved us. It's a beautiful picture, and an excellent execution.
This novel was exciting, fast-paced, realistic, encouraging, and inspiring. On top of it all, it was totally clean. I recommend this one to anyone. Seriously. Read it. You won't regret it.
Check out the interview with Jill Williamson and the giveaway for a copy of the novel!
Replication: The Jason Experiment is on sale at Amazon for $1.99!