18. A children’s book: Amy, Number Seven (Replica #1) by Marilyn Kaye
List Progress: 17/30
My roommate and I are both big fans of the children’s series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate, the sci-fi war story published by Scholastic from 1996 to 2001. We both read them as children when they were coming out and have a full collection in our apartment. But alongside them is a collection of the Replica series, which I never encountered before but which she has fond memories of picking up on the same days that Animorphs came out (and the cover of this 1998 book could not be trying any harder to look like Animorphs). So I figured I would try the first of this 28 book series, Amy, Number Seven, telling the story of Amy Candler, a twelve year old girl starting to realize she has exceptional abilities and a mysterious past. It’s interesting, fine, but nothing that jumped out at me particularly strongly.
My opinion on this book, as a thirty year old woman, should not be taken with any sort of authority. I imagine I would have enjoyed it well enough as a kid, but when I compare it to series such as Animorphs and Everworld, those have the benefit of decades’ worth of nostalgia. But Amy, Number Seven doesn’t have nearly as rich of a hook as series such as those. Amy spends the whole book being baffled that she is suddenly smarter, stronger, and more capable than ever before, but the explanation for this change comes in a rush right at the end. This slow creeping fear does help ground you in Amy as a character, but doesn’t give a rush of adventure to propel you forward. The threats against Amy feel very grounded and real-world, sometimes to an uneasy degree, such as a sketchy photographer taking photos of her at gymnastics. The preteen characters explicitly wonder if he’s a pedophile, which is an interesting question to raise, but not a particularly exciting one. As an adult, I was skeeved out, but I imagine as a child I would have been more bored.
There’s nothing terrible in this book, and I was impressed by the direct ways the characters and the narrative talk about the puberty parallels with her powers. It is a refreshingly blunt take on a story like this. But on the whole, the hook wasn’t enough to pull me forward, and I probably won’t be reading any more. If there is stronger stuff down the line, all the better for it, but this one wasn’t for me.
Would I Recommend It: Not really, but with more of a shrug than anything