Let me tell you why the first thing I thought about Beta was: 'Oh god, this sounds so amazing!'
Not only did Rachel Cohn do a good job with the world setting and with the clones and the overall idea sounded good.
The world has been changed by the Water Wars, and the richest people now created an island, Demesne, to live on. The air on the island has been scientifically changed to have a similar effect like a drug called 'raxia, that makes the people feel better all the time. The same thing's happened with the water around the island.
Clones are used as servants, although the firsts of the clones had to die before the clones could be made. They don't have emotions or an own opinion, they are soulless vessels.
The protagonist Elysia is a teenage beta, not yet perfected although she looks like it. She's bought by the family of the Governor, his wife and the two children on the island. Elysia kind of replaces Astrid, the third child who's on the mainland to study.
Elysia soon notices that she has her own opinion on a few things, and also has feelings. She falls in love with the son of the wealthiest family, Tahir, on Demesne and finds out his secret.
But there's another guy who appears in visions whenever she dives in the water and she finds out that it used to be her firsts first love.
I loved the first half (or a little more) of Beta. Really, I did. It was well written, the story seemed interesting and you could understand why Elysia felt or thought something. Even the many physical descriptions of how Tahir or her firsts love didn't really bother me that much, but I can understand that it's just too much at some points.
Why did I give Beta only 3/5 if I thought it was so good?
Well, first of all, Elysia fell in love with Tahir because of how he looked and only later found out how he really is. Not to mention that he also seemed to immediately love her just as much as she did.
The next thing was the last few pages. It was just rushed and unbelievable. Rachel just used one plot twist after another, and not those plot twists that make sense but really unnecessary plot twists.
Ivan, Elysia's 'brother', also used to be a well written supporting character, but at the ending, his actions were just... no. I can't even explain it. And Elysia's reaction... Nope, I can't.
So why did I give it 3/5 instead of 2/5? Because I still want to read the next book and I really believe it can be better then this one. The concept is good. Also, I hate cliffhangers, so that's another reason why I'm going to read the next book.