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Literature / Beta

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Beta is a dystopian, science-fiction novel by Rachel Cohn. Demense is an island paradise catered to the very wealthy, who breathe specially-designed air and are served by clones. Elysia is thrust into this world as one of the first ever teen Betas, prototypes to what will hopefully become a new line of clones in the future. Life on Demense seems perfect...until Elysia learns that not only does she have feelings and memories of the person she was cloned from (her "First")—things which clones are not supposed to have—but there are threats of rebellion from the "Defects" (clones that want a life free of servitude). Now she must decide whether to remain ignorant and continue serving her host family...or rebel.

The first of a four-book series.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Almost all of the characters have unusual names ('Demetra', 'Greer', 'Elysia', 'Astrid'). The only exceptions are Ivan, Liesel, Tahir, and Farzad, and even some of those names are pretty obscure.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Many of the teenage characters are described as very attractive, especially the males. Also, there seems to be special pools that can enhance the islanders' appearance and make them look younger.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The argument of the resistance.
  • Cloning Blues
  • Clone by Conversion: The clone's First's body is used as the 'template' for the clone's 'soul', with the First's soul extracted before the cloning process. Naturally, the First does not survive.
  • Clone Degeneration: Clones are disposed of upon aging past a certain point. with the exception of the teen Betas, who will automatically die before adulthood because Dr. Lusardi has yet to find a way to make them age into adulthood. To ensure that their human owners won't get attached to them, she's made it so that the Betas will undergo the 'Awfuls', a process of increasingly obnoxious behavior that will turn off said owners.
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  • Crapsaccharine World: If you're a clone, you're expected to serve the human inhabitants of the island in any way possible. (Yes, we're going there.) But even some of the humans come to dislike Demense and what is stands for (ex. Astrid), and for all its perks, it doesn't guarantee happiness.
  • Dystopia: Of the Type II variety.
  • Empty Shell: The clones are supposed to be this.
  • Expendable Clone: The humans on Demense make it very clear that only see the clones as toys.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Water Wars.
  • Happiness in Slavery:...or is it?
  • La Résistance
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Clones usually don't recall their Firsts' lives. Elysia appears to be the only exception to this.
  • Neural Implanting: The clones have a computer chip in their brains that teaches them all they need to know about serving humans. It even includes an online dictionary!
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  • Offscreen Breakup: Between Astrid and Tahir, and Elysia's First and her ex-boyfriend.
  • One-Word Title
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Another way humans view clones. One character, Xanthe, even states that she was referred to as a 'Lamb' upon her 'creation'.
  • The Soulless: The clones are supposed to be this.
  • Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Bratton.
  • The Reveal: Several. 'Tahir' is really a clone; his First had died in the surfing accident, teen Betas die before reaching adulthood.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?