Replica: Your Greatest Fear Lives by David Warren (Book Review)
Plot: Gary Harmon is known as the class nerd. He’s often bullied and finds comfort in his hobby of watching old horror movies and building models of their characters, which decorate his bedroom. Gary discovers a camera that had belonged to his father—who is incarcerated in a mental institution for Murder. The camera gradually becomes an obsession with Gary, who can’t seem to resist its unique powers as they are revealed to him—even when they become sinister.
My Review: Replica opens with the tale of Gary Sr. and his wife in 1993. Gary has an old fashioned camera that appears to talk to him somehow. In the end his wife ends up dead, he gets thrown in a looney bin, and their child is shipped off to be raised by his aunt and uncle.
Fast forward 17 years later and Gary Jr. is a high school senior. He’s also a loner who’s bullied constantly by the schools popular jocks and their girlfriends. Gary escapes reality by watching classic horror movies and recreating them by making models of his favorite characters.
Enter new kid Jake. He’s tough and stands up for Gary against the bully’s. They immediately become friends. But soon the girl Gary has been crushing on (one of the bully’s current girlfriends) starts crushing on Jake.
Halloween is fast approaching and while decorating the house Gary comes across his fathers camera, the same one he seemed to be talking to in the beginning of the book. One day Gary accidentally discovers that the camera has special abilities. It can take two photos, merge them, and make what is in the photos a reality. For example, one of the photos merges with a photo of one of his replicated horror creatures. The creature comes to life, and kills the person in the other photo. Gary becomes obsessed with the camera, listening to it “speak” to him and talking back to it. He’s consumed by it. He uses it to get revenge on all that bully him. And there is a final showdown at the school’s Halloween dance.
Now, this sort of book is really not my cup of tea (haunted/possessed object). I generally only read books that the plot description really jumps out at me. And usually I don’t read young adult novels unless they are given as review copies, it was something I wanted to read for awhile, or I wanted to reread it from when I was a kid. In this case it was given to me by the author, David Warren. I had read and reviewed the authors other work Jest and I loved it. So I decided to give this one a shot.
I’m not big on possession, or supernatural objects because I like something I already believe in, or something that sucks me in so much that I begin to believe what is going on in the book. But this one didn‘t really do it for me. While the writing was decent and the storyline actually interesting and unique. I just didn’t get into it as much as I would have liked. I really enjoyed that the main character was a horror movie fan and was into recreating his favorite creatures. I loved that each murder was done by a different horror villain. But what bugged me the most about this book, while it is a young adult novel, the characters are supposed to be high school seniors and instead it felt like the characters were more preteen. Which I think that’s what made it harder for me to get into and relate to.
Overall: So, while the material was interesting and easy to read (very quick read at 200 pages), I just didn’t find myself sucked in like I wanted to be. If this doesn’t sound like your type of book either, I still recommend the authors “slasher” like novel, Jest.