Blog Tour: Half Life

Half Life

By Lillian Clark
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.
There aren’t enough hours in the day for Lucille–perfectionist, overachiever–to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren’t enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble–all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she’s intrigued.
The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it’s perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn’t take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window–a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she’d constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?
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Guest Post

The Art of Character Cloning


First, thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to talk about my sophomore novel Half Life—a near-future sci-fi YA that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli about an ambitious teen girl who signs up to be a beta tester for a mysterious company’s human cloning program—and to discuss the art of character cloning.

Early on in the writing of Half Life, people would ask me about its main character, and I’d pause. It’s a strange mix! There’s one main character who is actually two. For the first third of the book, we only have Lucille, burrowed deep into her head, her thoughts and wants and worries. Seeing the world how she sees it, even when her perspective skews the view.

Then there’s Lucy, who comes violently, gasping, to life. And both Lucille’s idea of her self and the reader’s concept of her life, is thrown off balance.

Writing this divergence was a fascinating challenge. On the surface—and even beneath it—Lucille and Lucy are the same. They have identical bodies, share the same memories and life. But they’re different people. Their interpretation of those memories and that life is different. Writing them was an exercise in the way subtle shifts in point-of-view alter perception, reaction, and consequence. For example, Lucille has a long unrequited crush on a boy named Bode. She wants him to like her, but through her lens of self-doubt he seems indifferent at best. When Lucy takes over Lucille’s life, she sees Bode and his responses to her in a whole new way. Without Lucille’s tint of insecurity, Lucy wonders if Bode’s really just shy.

From big shifts to small ones, perspective changes so much. Where Lucille secretly struggles with confidence while projecting a false sense of superiority, Lucy’s defined by her literal existential crisis. She doesn’t have time for exploring smaller insecurities because the future of her life itself is uncertain. It changes how she sees Lucille’s life, and eventually forces Lucille to confront how she sees herself. Plus, memory itself is inexact. The brain is plastic, which means it’s malleable. Which means it’s constantly changing. The very act of revisiting a memory can change it, imprinting a new perception of it atop the pre-existing one, altering details and emotions. So while Lucille and Lucy share the same framework, the emphasis and meaning of their memories differ.

Working all of that into a plot built around a three-pronged tug of war—what Lucille wants, what Lucy wants, and what Life Squared wants—was honestly so much fun. And I’m delighted that Lucille and Lucy with all of their overlapping, diverging, mirroring fears and plans and wishes are making their way into the world!


About the Author

Lillian Clark, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and going on grand imaginary adventures in the small-town West. She’s worked as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, and a Zamboni driver, but found her eternal love working as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. Now living in Teton Valley, Idaho with her husband, son, and two giant dogs, she spends her time reading almost anything and writing books for teens.
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Giveaway info below!

Win a copy of HALF LIFE and IMMORAL CODE by Lillian Clark

(US Only)

Starts: 9th June 2020

Ends: 23rd June 2020

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