Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for The similars
The similars

Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Fire, [2019]
Physical Description:
386 pages ; 22 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
"When six clones join Emmaline's prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend's face each day in class"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
YA Hanover, R. Similars
TEEN Hanover, R.
TEEN Hanover, R.

On Order



Don't miss the series debut that readers are calling Gossip Girlmeets The Umbrella Academy, set in an elite boarding school, where secret societies rule, nothing is as it seems, and the genetic copies of attending students have just joined the Junior class...

This fall, six new students are joining the junior class at the elite Darkwood Academy. But they aren't your regular over-achieving teens. They're DNA duplicates, and these "similars" are joining the class alongside their originals.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about. Who are they? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? And who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emmaline Chance could care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and it's all she can do to get through each day without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi, Oliver's exact DNA copy and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper into their world. She can't escape the dark truths about them or her prestigious school. No one can be trusted, not even the boy she is falling for with Oliver's face.

This exhilarating and riveting debut by Rebecca Hanover is the next obsession for readers who devoured Two Can Keep a Secret, One of Us Is Lying, Scythe, and Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful.

Author Notes

Rebecca Hanover received a BA from Stanford University in English and drama and was awarded an Emmy for Best Writing in 2008 as a staff writer on the CBS daytime drama Guiding Light. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America and lives in San Francisco. Visit rebeccahanover.com.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-This debut novel takes place in the near-future, when humans have been successfully cloned; six clones, known as the Similars, have transferred to the prestigious Darkwood Academy after they were raised by a mysterious guardian on man-made island. They are all clones of current Darkwood students, with the exception of Levi, whose DNA match, Oliver, died at the end of the previous school year. Emma, still reeling from Oliver's death, is further traumatized by Levi's arrival and by a brutal attack on her friend Pru by an unknown assailant. She becomes determined to find out what happened. Hanover attempts to draw parallels between the Similars and refugees in our current world. The premise is interesting, but the writing is sometimes pedestrian. The pacing varies and the frequent use of hyperbolic language becomes counterproductive. Most characters are thinly developed boarding school stereotypes. Side plots involving human experimentation, an anti-clone movement, an underground clones-rights organization, the Similar's secret agenda, Darkwood's elite clique, Emma's relationship with her father, and Levi and Emma's inevitable romance are not adequately explored. The attack on Pru is unconvincingly resolved with quick exposition at the end. VERDICT Try Marisha Pessl's Neverworld Wake for a more nuanced boarding school drama with a sci-fi twist.-Judy Poyer, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Emmaline Chance returns to Darkwood Academy to begin her junior year without her best friend, Oliver, who died at summer's start. Emma is still reeling from the loss, which is compounded when Oliver appears at school in another form. Darkwood has welcomed "the Similars"-six clones of high-profile families' children, made without permission or knowledge through stolen umbilical cord blood-into the student body. One of them, Levi Gravelle, is Oliver's clone. When Emma's friend Pru is attacked, Emma begins to investigate Oliver's research, Darkwood's history, and the clones' connection, and she needs the Similars' help. Television writer Hanover authors a fast-paced thriller about identity and love, but shallow character building and a lack of sound logic may prove a hurdle for readers uninterested in suspending disbelief. Ages 14-up. Agent: Sasha Raskin, A Beautiful Mess Entertainment. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Following the death of her best friend, Oliver Ward, Emmaline "Emma" Chance dreads the thought of going back to her prestigious boarding school, Darkwood Academy.Although the grief-stricken Emma expects the worst of her school year, she is little prepared for the complications life throws at her: Not only has Darkwood accepted six new students"the Similars"who are clones of existing students, but one of them, Levi Gravelle, bears Oliver's face. To make matters worse, Emma's roommate and close friend, Prudence "Pru" Stanwick, is brutally attacked and placed in a medically induced coma. In a world of secrets and hidden agendas, it is up to Emma to discover the truth about Pru's attack and Oliver's death with the help of the Similars, although she is not sure if she trusts them. While the first half of Hanover's debut is gripping and the depiction of Emma's grief tender, the second half falls short on multiple accountsdisjointed and repetitive writing, flat and underdeveloped characters, and an implausible plotso the potential of an otherwise interesting premise remains largely unrealized. Tired tropes include the handsome but brooding love interest, dead and dying best friends, an unnecessary love triangle, and a one-dimensional villain. The fast-paced narrative and the cliffhanger ending, however, will keep fans of the genre interested. Main characters are assumed white.Yet another cookie-cutter dystopian novel rife with clichs. (Dystopia. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Darkwood Academy is an elite boarding school for the offspring of the region's most illustrious families and legacy students like Emma Chance, who is plenty smart enough to compete academically. As the new year begins, she and the rest of the Darkwoodians are confronted by six new classmates, who are illegal clones of returning students. Among them is Levi, the spitting image of Emma's best friend, Ollie, whose death she is still mourning. Once Emma gets to know Levi and the other Similars, she supports their political rights as humans, and when her friend Pru goes missing, the Similars are the only ones capable of helping her outsmart a truly vindictive man. Episodic and fast-moving, this debut novel reads like Veronica Mars set in the future (because of the cloning subplot), although without the snarky humor. There are plenty of twists and one very big turn that will delight mystery readers. Although the ending comes too quickly to be satisfying, the door is left ajar for more appearances by Emma and her friends.--Cindy Welch Copyright 2018 Booklist