Author: Rachel Cohn
Set in the future on idyllic island for the world's wealthiest people, Beta centers around a newly "born" clone, who is the first in a new class of "beta" teen clones. Due to the relaxing nature of the island's atmosphere, human workers are deemed inappropriate for servitude; fortunately, science have solved the problem by creating a race of working clones from the bodies of the recently deceased. Elysia, the newly "born" teen, is an attempt to perfect the teenage model - something that has given scientists trouble in the past (apparently puberty does not agree with the cloning process.)
Elysia is purchased by a wealthy family to serve as a plaything for a bored mother and her children. However, problems start to occur when Elysia realizes she still has memories of her "first" life, before the cloning processes. She must now guard this secret to prevent from being destroy as a "Defect" clone. She soon discovers that she is not the sole "Defect", but that there are many more out there campaigning for clone rights. In the middle of all this, Elysia develops two romances: one with another clone, and one with her "first's" true love.
The Good: The story is a fast-paced, easy read that kept my attention from beginning to end. Although I'm not usually a big fan of series books that aren't read as stand-alones, this is actually a fairly good start to a series. The dramatic plot twist at the end definitely left me wanting book #2.
The Bad: I really only have one "major" complain (and one minor issue.) First, I didn't really like the amount of drug usage in the book. At first it seems a little gratuitous, but I'm hoping it somehow serves a point in the plot of book #2. As for the minor complaint, I didn't care for some aspects of the "clones." Apparently, clones are basically robots that have been programmed with a very specific set of instructions. I might be dating myself (and proving myself to be a big ol' nerd) with this reference, but the clone's speech reminded me a lot of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Their inability to understand humor or slang became annoy after the first couple chapters.