Thursday, March 17, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Publisher: Speak; Original edition (January 6, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0142417718
ISBN-13: 978-0142417713
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Setting: Chicago

This is a Dystopian novel set in a futuristic Chicago. In this one "Big Brother" is not only listening but dictating how people live. Bombarded by a continuous stream of verts (advertisements), a person has little time to think for themselves. Objection is met with rehabilitation and the person who once was is no more. A shell of their former self. While many in our society consider a 16th birthday to be sweet, in this book 16 means a girl is pretty much fair game to the opposite sex. Girls are taught to be open to the advances of men and taught how to flirt and attract male attention. On their 16th birthday they are branded with the tattoo XVI which let's everyone know they are now available.

This is the story of Nina Oberon, a 15 going on sixteen year old girl. She is one of the few who is not looking forward to her 16th, aka sexteenth, birthday. Her approaching birthday is not the only thing she's dealing with as her parents mysterious past is revealed when her mother is murdered. Now she will find out about things the government would rather she not know and set a course that may just alter her destiny to one she never could have imagined.

This one left me with a lot of questions so I hope there will be a sequel. If not I will probably lower my rating. We got a taste of the world Karr has created but not a full meal of it. Feminists are probably going to cringe at this one. In a world that promotes promiscuity in teens why is no birth control mentioned? A shot for STDs, but no Norplant, pill, or other type of contraception is mentioned. I'm not sure why and you would think in the future that 99 percent effectiveness would become 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Perhaps it was just an oversight or could birthrates have declined and so pregnancy along with promiscuity are promoted? Plus equality seems to be a thing of the past.

Also, I would have liked to have seen more of what kind of effect the information which was obtained (trying to not reveal any spoilers) had at the end. Plus, we waited the whole novel to find out about Nina's father and still really have no clue as to what exactly happened with him. We get a small idea, but the big picture has yet to be revealed.

Decisions, decisions. I'm debating giving this one a 3 or a 4 stars. I guess I'll go in between and rate it a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. This is one of those books I think the majority of people are either going to love or hate with little middle ground.

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