Release Date: March 30, 2010 (Today!)
Pages: 360 (ARC)
Publisher: Roaring Brook PressMost Appropriate For Ages: 12+
Where I Got It: For review from publisher in exchange for my honest review
Challenges it counts for: Dystopia Challenge
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.
Why are you reading this review when you should be reading Birthmarked?!
I was captivated by the first page of Birthmarked. You're immediately thrown into a completely different world that reminded me of a cross between The Hunger Games (because of the fast pace) and The Giver (because of the society) but it was a story unlike any other. I could never tell what would happen next throughout the book.
Gaia was a fantastic character. Once she set her mind to something that is was right or needed to get done, it was getting done. She's brave, tough, and a heroine who I'll never forget. As for Leon, I didn't immediately love him, but now I love him. He was flawed, and complicated, but still strong. We mostly only see Gaia's parents in her flashbacks, but that was enough to love her parents as well and root for Gaia to save them. All of the characters, especially Leon and Gaia, and so incredibly real that I forget I'm reading if only for a moment.
The writing was...just, absolutely fantastic. Caragh M. O'Brien's writing was sophisticated, descriptive, and altogether beautiful.
The ending...all I'll say about the ending is that I thought I might cry. And I never cry. That's how much I loved this book. I cannot wait for the sequel! I guess I'll end my raving here...wait, just one more sentence: Do yourself a favor and run to your bookstore and buy Birthmarked right now, you won't regret it (and if you do I can't talk to you anymore. Kidding...kind of).