3.55 (7,499 ratings by Goodreads)
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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. Praise for Beta "A terrific premise that is equally well executed...Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff."--Los Angles Times "
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 331 pages
  • 155 x 231 x 28mm | 590g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1423157192
  • 9781423157199
  • 581,793

Review quote

3Q 4P J S Beta chronicles the emergence of Elysia, a Beta clone born in a laboratory on a high-end, bioengineered resort island called Demesne. Elysia is special not only for her beauty, but also for her age. She is one of the first teenagers cloned from a First, the human who had to die for her to exist. While her new clone life seems to be idyllic, after a wealthy family purchases her to be their servant, Elysia soon realizes that it is not enough. This simple act of desire is a terrifying one, as it means that she is not normal and may, in fact, be a dangerous Defect: a clone who can think and feel for herself. This is a dangerous secret because clones who rage and resist and love are tortured until their last breath. For Elysia, it is not a question of when she will be exposed, but whether she will fight for her life when she is. A compelling and fast-paced read, the novel offers well-developed characters and a fresh spin on a favorite science-fiction plot. Concerning, however, is the treatment of rape and teenage pregnancy in the final chapters. Elysia, pregnant by rape at sixteen, is offered no other option than to keep the child and be the mate of a man who, while she does not love him, is willing to care for them both. These issues deserve more than a handful of pages, a didactic resolution, and a distracting plot twist.-Courtney Huse Wika. VOYA"
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About 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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Rating details

7,499 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 25% (1,870)
4 29% (2,192)
3 28% (2,066)
2 12% (899)
1 6% (472)

Our customer reviews

Elysia is a beta, one of the first teenage clones. She is programmed to have the same thoughts as a real teenager, but has no actual feelings. Sold to the Bratton family as a replacement for an older child that went off to collage. They seemed nice at first, but soon finds out that something is not quite right. Elysia starts to have her own feelings, which then lead to rebellion. The beginning was promising, but for me it didn't live up to my exceptions. The book was a little slow in the middle. Elysia was a interesting character but she seemed cold and I could not relate to her. There is some disturbing material in the book.The book reminded me of Glitch, in a way. Overall it was an enjoyable book, I'll be checking out the second book for sure! Thank you to Disney Hyperion and NetGalley for the ebook in exchange for an honest review!show more
by Sarah
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 more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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