Title: Replication: The Jason Experiment
Author: Jill Williamson
Date: December 2011
Reviewed by: Lisa J. Lickel
In Fishhook, Alaska, Jason Farms doesn’t grow your typical crops.
Seventeen-year-old Abby Goyer is half-orphaned; though with a dad whose work consumes him after the death of Abby’s mom, and she feels truly alone. A sudden move from Washington DC to a tiny city in Alaska doesn’t change much. She’s curious about her dad’s secretive work in the molecular biology field, and one morning, follows him to a farm that looks abandoned but for a full parking lot.
Abby seeks friendship at her new high school and finds Kylee, who helps fend off the mostly unwanted and unnatural attention of the most popular boy in school, JD Kane. When Abby learns of the mysterious disappearance of a former teacher, her curiosity goes into overdrive.
A young man, who lives at the Farm, nicknamed Martyr for his protection of younger, vulnerable boys, has one desire: to see the sky, even though he would be exposed to the toxic atmosphere above ground. But if he’s expected to fulfill his purpose in providing an antidote to the poisonous outside in 18 days, what harm could it do? Martyr risks terrible punishment when he steals kind Dr. Goyer’s keycard in order to see the outside, just for a minute. The minute gets longer when he winds up at the Goyer home.
Desire, lies, murder, and faith blend seamlessly into a fantastical tale of conspiracy in a madman’s dream to find a cure for a rare disease. Since the author was raised in Alaska, the setting feels like home. Williamson’s characters never slip in dialogue or internal thought, and the amazing story line never strays out of bounds-though there’s always a feeling that if the reader leaves the book too long, the characters will keep going without you. Williamson’s natural ability to make the oddest of events feel like the perfect puzzle piece, her attention to detail, and her faith talk makes Replication a truly exciting read for junior-high to adult readers.