8

Story is a YA book, involving a high-school super soldier.

Facts I recall from the story:

  • The super-soldiers were girls, IIRC all clones
  • Super soldier research project had a half moon as its symbol
  • Some genetic engineering was involved in the gene line
  • Somehow, this genetic engineering also gives the girls skills
  • Super-soldier project was shut down and some of the researchers took a couple of girls each to raise as their own. Protagonist's adoptive mother was one of the researchers.
  • The girls are all "defective" in some way, protagonist is one of them and is hard of hearing.
  • Protagonist has some (2,3?) non-super friends at her high school.

Scenes I recall:

  • First scene, protagonist is in classroom, and reflects how she prefers it when her teacher shaves, since then she can lip-read what he's saying.
  • Protagonist and other super soldiers get captured and brought together. IIRC this is the first time the protagonist meets other super soldiers, or at least the first time she meets some of them.

    The girls receive half-moon pendants from their captors, with implanted hidden microphones.

  • Someone has an allergic reaction to a metal (IIRC, in a bracelet). They get around this by coating the metal in clear nail polish to avoid contact.

    This scene gets called back to after the capture, as the protagonist recalls the trick and uses the same idea to disable her pendant microphone.

  • When escaping her captors, the protagonist unlocks her (latent) lockpicking skills.

Looking this up just for nostalgia's sake, IIRC it wasn't that good. Originally read it in Dutch in the early 2000's, but I don't recall a precise date.

  • Great question! It looks like you have everything covered, but you could always take a look at this page to see if you remember anything else. – Gallifreyan Apr 25 '17 at 17:15
  • Looking over that list, the only thing I can think of mentioning is that this story stuck in my mind because of the "coat the microphone in clear nail polish" and the "beardless is better because I can lip-read" scenes. – Gesh Apr 25 '17 at 17:21
  • I was thinking Replica by Marilyn Kaye as discussed in scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/10478/…, but that's a half-moon birthmark, the girl is not deaf, and the individual scenes don't match. – FuzzyBoots Apr 25 '17 at 17:41
  • I add the movie "Soldier" only because the theme of it is similar and with luck can prompt more memories. – Enigma Maitreya Apr 25 '17 at 17:56
  • Replica seems to fit, judging by the wiki page. Specifically, the fourth entry - Perfect Girls. Will try and obtain a copy to check. – Gesh Apr 25 '17 at 18:02
4

It's possible that you read one of the books in Marilyn Kaye's Replica series.

"Replica" is a children's science fiction series about Amy Candler, a young teenager who discovers she is one of thirteen cloned girls who have been genetically modified to have superhuman abilities. She was created in the government-funded Project Crescent, and was kidnapped and adopted by one of the scientists after a change of heart. Throughout the series Amy struggles to live a normal life as the mysterious Organisation tries to use her and the other Project Crescent clones to create a master race and take over the world. Amy also seeks to help the other clones in the project, and encounters a number of other children and teenagers with genetic modifications or supernatural powers.

Amy is indeed a clone, the result of a super-soldier project. She essentially has peak human capabilities including extreme strength and speed, and the ability to pick up skills rapidly. In particular, Amy's abilities develop in the first book in her practice of gymnastics. As per your description, her mother rescued her when the facility burned out (implied to be sabotage whether by researchers, rivals, or Project Crescent itself) and Amy finds that there are more girls like her out there. Within the first two books, she meets one who is a French ballerina and one who is a minor movie star. She does have non-powered friends in her school.

Unfortunately, none of the books I read match up to the scenes you mention, or some of the details. The girls do not possess specific flaws, and the primary protagonist, Amy, is not hard of hearing. One possible plot match, the fourth book, Perfect Girls, does described Amy and several of the other clones being captured.

"Perfect Girls" book cover

Amy thinks she has won the trip of a lifetime to New York, but she soon discovers this is a front to capture and test herself and seven other clones. Amy eventually escapes, but no-one believes her story.

I acquired a copy from the library. Indeed, she meets many of the clones. It's her friend at school, Tanya (her other friend being Eric, Tanya's older brother) who's allergic to nickel, and indeed they coat the pendants in nail polish to mute the microphones. It's not lock-picking skills, but the ability to look at a set of keys and realize which one will fit the lock. The one part that does not match is the girls being "defective" although they do all show different talents. The first chapter mentions that they'd heard about lip reading in an earlier assembly at the school from a deaf woman, and one of the captors is deaf, but none of the girls are, including the protagonist. I think that might be you conflating another book into it.

  • Looked at the preview offered in overdrive.com/media/1263546/perfect-girls and everything is there apart from the hearing difficulties and coating the metallic item in clear nail polish. – Gesh Apr 25 '17 at 21:56
  • Then again, only the first chapter is available, so the coating part could be later. Still, the narrator's remark that the protagonist finds beardless people easier to lip-read is pretty vivid in my memory, so it's probably not this. Pity. – Gesh Apr 25 '17 at 21:57
  • They do discuss lip-reading, and Amy apparently picks up the ability in the first chapter, so I wonder if it's only another chapter in... I'll see if I can't ILL this one. – FuzzyBoots Apr 26 '17 at 2:46
  • OK, thanks. Maybe it was a matter of that particular teacher not speaking clearly? In any case, this narrows down the search to any of the books starting at this one, since she only learns to lip-read here. – Gesh Apr 26 '17 at 8:17
  • Still, the fact that she has no "defects" clashes with my memory of defects existing. Unfortunately, the library where I found this book closed down in the last 8 years, so I can't go back there to find it. – Gesh Apr 26 '17 at 8:18

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