Beta (Beta Series #1)

( 24 )

Overview

Elysia is 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 a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

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 induces a strange, euphoric ...

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Overview

Elysia is 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 a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

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 induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers-soulless clones like Elysia-are immune to.

At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under­current of discontent among 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 her one chance at happi­ness is ripped away 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.

The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, Beta is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor­rupted world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this kickoff to a planned four-book series, Elysia is a beautiful teenage clone bought as a companion to a wealthy family living on the exclusive island of Demesne on an Earth that is recovering from ecological disaster and global warfare. Though Elysia initially believes she has no free will, she discovers a taste for human foods like macaroni and cheese and chocolate—and, more importantly, begins to feel emotions like attraction, worry, and rage. She also has mysterious memories of the human girl from whom she was cloned, but keeps her discoveries secret, for fear of being marked a Defect. Cohn (coauthor of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) describes Elysia’s luxurious world completely and persuasively, hinting that social justice themes may escalate in subsequent books; Elysia’s evolution from robotic to real is similarly believable, as is her increasing desire for freedom. However, characters’ widespread use of 21st-century slang and idioms distracts from the futuristic setting, and readers may be overwhelmed by the dizzying acceleration of events and revelations in the final chapters, which pave the way for the next installment. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In the aftermath of global environmental shifts and a series of devastating Water Wars, a handful of the wealthiest people retreats to an exclusive island paradise where everything from the surrounding waters to the air quality is controlled. In Demense, soulless human clones replicated from the recently deceased serve the elite. Though told that they do not feel and despite being programmed to serve via imbedded data chips, the clones, inevitably, do experience feelings and rebel. Elysia is the first teenage clone-a Beta. Desperate to prove her worth and remain with her family, she represses her burgeoning feelings until she falls in love with another Beta masquerading as a human. Before long, the two begin to plot their escape to freedom on the Mainland. Because Elysia is a clone with a data chip (albeit a censored one) but no experience, her first-person narration gives a rather limited perspective on the whole sci-fi world Cohn has created. It allows for a complex setting without the need for much explanation or strict world-defining parameters. Still, the easy reading level but mature subject matter gives the book appeal to older teens with lower comprehension skills. The action-packed conclusion-thrilling if plausible only within the science-fiction genre-sets the stage for a sequel.Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Lavallette, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
When humans live in paradise, the servants must be manufactured--but are they still people? Elysia is born fully formed, a gorgeous, fuchsia-eyed 16-year-old cloned from a dead human progenitor, her First. On Demesne, an idyllic island, the humans are socialites and surfers, with emotionless clones to serve their every whim. Elysia doesn't feel emotionless, but then, she is a Beta, one of the first of an experimental new line of teenage clones; maybe she's defective. Bought to be a companion to the wife of the island's governor, Elysia finds dark undercurrents among the theoretically perfectly happy humans, but she's too self-centered to care all that much. Instead, she's more concerned with the dreamy human boy she's somehow falling for, as well as the memories of her First she knows she's not supposed to have. Elysia's robotic nature is inconsistent: She sometimes uses metaphors only to misunderstand similar terminology with humorous literalness soon thereafter. Her teenage idiom could be attributed to programmed adolescence, but it works less well for the adult clone who declares "Bummer!" in a training video or the bored human socialite who whines "Bo-o-o-ring!" The childish language and narrative outlook result in a disturbing if effective dissonance with eventual sexual violence. Though neither the villains nor the heroes make particularly sensible choices, the cliffhanger ending will still lure some into the promised sequel. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423157342
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Series: Beta Series , #1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 199,139
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Cohn

Rachel Cohn is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, including Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake and, with David Levithan, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Beta has such an awesome concept. I was drawn into Elysia's w

    Beta has such an awesome concept. I was drawn into Elysia's world and mind, wondering what would happen next, what she would feel that she wasn't supposed to and how her world would change.
    I could connect with Elysia because she has the bursts of human emotion, taste, and memories, and her thought patterns really don't seem like they are automated or anything. I know that she refers to the chip alot and trying to process slang or terms that are unfamiliar, but I think that adds to the charm. It was a new experience though being inside the head of a clone, because you can go along and forget until the expectations that are on her sneak up on you and throw a wrench into things. She isn't supposed to feel, to taste, or to remember things that she does, because she is a clone, and her "first" the teen that died, the soul "removed" and then programmed with computer chips to act in response to emotions, but be immune to the happy and relaxing effect the island has.
    Rachel Cohn writes with such vivid imagery it feels like I was there, looking at the constructed paradise with a purple hue. I wish that I could breathe in some of that oxygen to see what it means to be on such an island, but then as I see the turmoil under the surface I wonder, would it be worth it even just for a visit.
    The story is definitely layered, with Elysia's story, the dynamics between the Governer and "Mother" as well as Liesel and Ivan the brother and sister she's adopted to. And then I didn't know what to think when Tahir came on the scene, but I loved every minute of it. From
    I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what twist would come next, and which character would surprise me in ways I never saw coming.
    This is a fast paced, yet dark and chilling story about what it means to be human, the constraints of that humanity and what can happen when the world goes into chaos. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can't wait to find out what happens next in Elysia's story.
    Bottom Line: Beta breathes a breath of fresh air into the dystopia genre with this unique main character that I felt for and want so much more of.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    I just finished this book, quite addicting. This book reminds me

    I just finished this book, quite addicting. This book reminds me of the movie The Island, where clones are made to serve humans, wealthy ones, until they discover that something is not right. The book has romance and adventure. I really recommend this book! I hope there's a sequel!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Oh man I wanted this to be good. I loved the idea of robot clo

    Oh man I wanted this to be good. I loved the idea of robot clones created from a human counterpart upon their death. It just sounds awesome. But sadly, I was extremely underwhelmed by this book.

    I think my problem lies with Elysia. She's not an annoying character, but she isn't exciting either. She's just dull. She's created to be soulless and blindly follow all orders given to her. Sorry that I don't get all wound up because she likes the taste of chocolate when she shouldn't have any feeling about it at all. I felt like so much of her actions lack any heart and soul. Which really makes me wonder if she was rogue at all. I guess if she's was completely robotic, she wouldn't question every little around her. But sometimes her questions seem idiotic. I think she would have given herself away as rogue long before she did.

    I never really latched on to the secondary characters as well. Elysia latches on to Tahir instantly, while it too me almost as long to figure out his secret. I found the family Elysia lives with to be shallow and a little appalling when it came to their treatment of their clones. They definitely don't seem them as people.

    The only think that kept me reading is that I was curious how this island worked. Why would people want clones based off a human counterpart? Why are so many of them going rogue? What secrets is everyone hiding? While I did get some answers, I'm not sure I'm invested enough to read the next in the series.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Awesome read!

    I thought it was very unique, it wasn't like most stories where the clones want nothing more than to take over. It's like the humans made them to be alive, why can't they live and love? Rachel Cohn writes from the Beta clone's perspective; Elysia. Elysia changes from what the humans wanted her for; serving, to a real girl. Her First is coming out of her, do the humans really want that?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    ......

    HE ISNT THE ONE I LOVE BUT I GUESS HE WILL DO!

    One of my biggest problems with this book, besdies a few questionable moments,was how after deciding to risk her LIFE for the boy she loves, she suddenly decides to settle for someone else and take the easy way put of her problems.where is the loyalty? Or self respect?

    Honestly, there was nothing brave or exciting about the Beta. Her little rebellions were so boring. The only reason i even gave it three stars was because the plot twist at the end was PERFECT!

    The story was slow, predictable, and dull. Thecharacters were either bland or annoying and there were things in the book that are innapropriate. The worst part is, it is such a great concept and it could have been an amazing book but for major character flaws. Without a strong main character what is the point? I was hoping for something more rebellious than jumping into the ocean. Big whoop.


    Basically it comes down to poor writing on the oart of the author. It was an ok book but it will never earn the right to be in my collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    I was hoping this book would impress me. Generally I adore ficti

    I was hoping this book would impress me. Generally I adore fiction involving robots or clones, because seeing something not quite human struggle in a world full of humans. However I was very much dis

    I wasn't really connecting to any characters, the in-book relationships seem exceptionally weak, and I found more apathy than sympathy for anyone. The few points I did read onward for were never brought up, and overall it just did not to a lot for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2014

    Beta, by Rachel Cohn.  Great debut into a dystopian setting.  I

    Beta, by Rachel Cohn.  Great debut into a dystopian setting.  I won't get descriptive because the synopsis and other reviews pretty much explains it all. But...overall I am quite hooked and I can't wait for the new book.I live to read but it isn't often I get so excited about what comes next that I start googling authors to find out how long I will have to suffer. I read this over three days, approximately 5 hours. First day = Mild interest in where this was going, and excited. Second day = Slight disappointment and the thought  that I may be getting bored. Third day = Wow, was Not expecting that and Where Is The Next Book????  Try it, give it an honest chance. You will not be disappointed.  PS - minus my agreement that the slang seemed outdated based on the "future" year...the speech patterns made complete sense to me, being that this story was "told" by a teenager, so of course the  "Adult" words and conversations would be altered by her  perceptions and retelling of them.  I thought it blended quite well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Too good to be true

    The concept- spot on. The ending- not so much.

    The feeling you get is comparable to being ripped off. The first thing i thought was "thats it?" The book was great, but stop at that point, when you can write about so much more? I do have to say it was a VERY unexpected twist, i was blindsided. All i am saying, is that there better be a second book.


    On that note, i did not want to put the book down:) It pulled to in to a some what complex plot with some major twists and turns, everything unraveling page by page. The poor little girl,(is bad i already forgot her name?) i have to admit, ruined every, which made it a good read. I did find "mother" to be extremely anoying. A little dragging in the middle of the book,but overall a great read.

    Like us, books have their flaws. But we have to look past them, into the intriging plot. Hope i was somewhat helpful ans not a complete waste of time,


    -A

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I was immediately sucked into Elysia's world. The writing was be

    I was immediately sucked into Elysia's world. The writing was beautiful and descriptive, you really felt connected with the characters. The ending was not what I was expecting at all. It's very rare that a book can completely blindside the reader and throw a total curve ball like that. Simply amazing. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Wonderful!

    Loved this book, great questions brought up in the text. Lags a little at times but is still very good.

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  • Posted May 12, 2013

    Have you ever awoken from a bad dream only to later realize you'

    Have you ever awoken from a bad dream only to later realize you're still inside a dream?  Well that's where it seems Elysia is in Beta by Rachel Cohn.  Unlike most dystopia YA books, Beta opens in an almost utopian society Demesne, playground for the wealthy and elite.  Elysia is a beautiful, first generation (BETA) teenage clone, designed to serve as a perfect family member - plaything for the other teens and perfect "replacement" daughter for her new owners.  

    Everything is going along perfectly until Elysia starts having "emotions" and "feelings," something that souless clones should not have.  Could she be a defect?  Will they come after her?  Is she alone?  The answer, is no.  She is not alone in her feelings.  Other clones on the island are feeling rebellious and there is revolution on the minds of many.  Who can be trusted?  

    Beta, is a very well-written novel and Rachel Cohn's style is a fast-paced page turner, laced with humor, a little romance, unexpected plot twists and suspense.  There is a HUGE revelation at the end of the book and I CANNOT wait for the next in the series! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 4, 2013

    Must read Dystopian future book. I can't wait for the next book

    Must read Dystopian future book. I can't wait for the next book; this is a fast pace well written book with twists and turns that are seamlessly integrated into the storyline.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Slow at first but gets better.

    It's slow at first with the introduction of Elysia and the new biotechnology but it gets better later on in the story. There are a bunch of twists and turns and an absolutely HUGE revelation at the end of the story that had me shouting S-H-I-I-I-T! The one thing i didnt like was that Elysa was all about "I want my own life, not one that someone crafted out for me and not my First's life" but then at the end she's like "well, he is not my love but he will do." Like, really Elysia, you're going to him? After you said you werent like your First. Oh well. I think I'll check out the second novel when it is released.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book started out OK but it moved a bit slow for me. It desc

    This book started out OK but it moved a bit slow for me. It described all of the island ALOT. I just wanted more action. It came in the last 20 pages.I'll read the next book but I CAN wait. Hopefully it will flow a little faster.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2013

    Thought the beginning was a little slow, but as the book went on

    Thought the beginning was a little slow, but as the book went on got better. I loved the ending, was shocking and really good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Gbooks

    This book was AMAZING. The whole concept and idea was creative and the ending left me wanting more

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    OH.MY.GOD

    Just finished this book and my mind has just exploded. I don't even know where to begin. O_O

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    Awesome!

    I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next! Beta has a unique style that I really enjoy.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Looking for a GOOD YA novel!

    This is it! The writing is brilliant, simple, but pulls you in. No overly long explaining of the history/background, but there is enough that you're not scratching your head going "Huh?". I can't wait for the next book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews

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