Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review ~ XVI

By Julia Karr
Published By Puffin/Speak

Summary (Goodreads): Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

Dislikes: This is more a personal thing than a problem with the book and may be how it is with teenagers now. Why does it seem in some YA books I have been reading the term "best friend" is used so loosely? If my friends were acting the way they seem in these stories I wouldn't even refer to them as friends let alone best friends. It causes me to question the main characters ability to make choices and is usually in contrast to how they are portrayed throughout the rest of the story. I will say that Nina at least seemed to be aware of how bad of a friend Sandy was at time which made it more bearable.

Likes: Excluding the above I really liked the characters in this book. I liked reading about young people still being strong and trying to think on their own in a very media/government controlled world. Nina's struggle with her feelings for Sal and not wanting to come off as a sex-teen but still interested in him. Even though I didn't like her I did understand that Sandy exemplified how most teens in this world would behave and would not see anything wrong with it. 
I also enjoyed the overall story of Nina's parents and doing what they thought was right for their family and for the people as a whole. With the extremes that this world had, it was easy to relate and agree with their points of view and root for the good guys over the bad. 

Overall: It is very easy to see the world becoming the way it is in this book. With push up bra bikinis for little girls and media/social network driven everything, it seems more plausible than is comfortable for me. The main group of characters were well written and a nice mix of different personalities that are able to stand together for what they think is right.

Rating: 4

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