XVI by Julia Karr

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Publisher: Puffin/Speak
Publication Date: January 6th 2011
Pages: 325
Source: purchased
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. -- Goodreads
Nina is terrified of branding herself of the government issued, traditional tattoo of XVI when she turns sixteen. If she hadn't had enough problems, her life is turned upside down when her mom dies. Ginnie's last words were to keep Dee, Nina's half-sister, safe from Ed, Ginnie's abusive boyfriend and that Nina's father, Alan, (once thought dead) is very much alive. Nina's life take yet another turn when she discovers that her parents and their friends were NonCons, people strongly against the government. Nina gives herself an attitude adjustment, when she learns more about the government's schemes, turns sixteen, experiences a few bruises, and even falls in love.

Why am I hooked on the dystopian genre? Because books like this just blow me away.

Nina was a great developed character. I felt I knew her life within the pages provided to me and still wanted to know more. I loved how Nina would stop at nothing to watch over her sister, Dee; how Nina was so determined in carrying out Ginnie's last wishes. Wei symbolized hope for Nina. Wei was like a shining beacon, screaming that sixteen was not always what the government says it is. I think when Nina met Wei, it was the turning point- she was first beginning to realize that she could make her own choices. Sal was certainly amazing! Nina and Sal's relationship was fantastically-drawn so that every time they take the scene, you'll be holding your breath, wanting to know what will happen next.

Basically, the whole plot was like that as well. There was really never a dull moment. The dystopian genre is very popular right now, but after reading Matched in November I was very hesitant to pick this one up. I am very glad I did. The year is 2150 and the world is so unique, so fresh that I just wanted to get lost in it.

Julia Karr's writing was fantastic. Her diction flowed on very nicely in the story. I whined every time I was forced to put this book down because I just never wanted it to end. But it did, but don't worry because there will be a sequel. There are still plenty of unanswered questions left in XVI that for those who've read XVI, they will be anticipating the next one.

First Sentence:
"Nina, look."
XVI by Julia Karr, p. 1

Cover: 4
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Ending: 5
Writing Style: 5
Overall: 5
Rated PG-13 for sexual references and mild violence.

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