Tuesday, January 11, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr
Puffin/Speak, January 6, 2011
read for A-Z Challenge & 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Summary from 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.
Not just your everyday dystpoian novel! Julia Karr makes her debut with XVI, which follows Nina as she approaches her "sex-teenth" birthday. The world she lives in is in many ways similar to ours; Karr has just tweaked certain elements to the extreme. Nina's world is made up of constant 'verts' (advertisements--sound familiar?) and not-so-subtle government propaganda. There are definite class divisions, as well, with higher-tiered teens getting the good jobs and scholarships while lower-tiered teens are faced with the prospects of menial jobs requiring little to no education.

So far none of this stands out, right? Well, that's where the XVI comes in. When a girl turns 16, she's given the government-ordered XVI tattoo (and a series of STD vaccinations) and is now considered to be "of age" for sex. Turning 16 is treated with great importance in Nina's world and the media spews out endless propaganda encouraging girls to embrace their new status. Some girls take this to the extreme and become promiscuous, while others choose not to. But that doesn't really matter, because the XVI tattoo is kind of like a free pass for men to do whatever they want to these girls. There are very few repercussions for those accused of rape--indeed, in most of these cases it's determined that the girl asked for this violent act.

Arghh...I don't want to reveal too much, you definitely have to give this book a try! Nina is NOT a "sex-teen" but a girl with a sound mind and heart, and a wonderful group of friends and family to turn to (I'm LOVIN' Gran and Pops!). Of course it's not enough for Nina to have to deal with all this sex-teen stuff; no, she has to figure out who murdered her mother and why. And what really happened to the father who died all those years ago--or did he? And trying to protect her best friend Sandy from joining FeLS, an elite all-female training program that Nina suspects is more harmful than helpful to its participants.

And...but perhaps I've already said too much; you just need to read this book. Karr has created a futuristic world where women are treated as property, but what's worse is that very few of them realize they're being treated as such. I am very anxiously awaiting more from Julia Karr, and definitely give this 5 out of 5.

Purchased eBook.

Enjoy your reading!

1 comment:

  1. Aaah, I would so much like this book to be available in my country! It sounds promising. So far your review was the only one with just enough details to make me want to read it. Thanks!


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