Author: Julia Karr
Release Date: January 6, 2011
Pages: 325 (ARC)
Most Appropriate For Ages: 14+
Where I Got It: For review from ATWT
Challenges it count toward: 2011 Debut Author Challenge
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.
I really wanted to like XVI more than I did....
I'll start with the positive: I loved the concept of the government controlling the media and the media working to keep everyone in "their place". It's something that pretty much happens on a lesser scale today, and it's frighteningly easy to picture the future looking similar to this.
Aside from that, however, everything just fell kind of flat for me. The writing and the world-building especially... I just never connected to the story as much as I'd like. It didn't stay with me very well either; the day after reading it, the time I normally use to digest a book and appreciate it wasn't needed for XVI because I barely thought about it.
I guess I enjoyed the characters a decent amount, though. Nina was a very strong, level-headed teen in a society where other teen girls wear practically nothing and see sex as more of rite of passage. I also liked the love interest Sal...well, at first. Towards the end, he got too mushy for my tastes... I think I ended up preferring her musician friend, Derek. And Wei was pretty cool. But I didn't really love any of them.
I guess XVI just wasn't the book for me. However, I've heard some other bloggers loved it, so if it sounds like something you'd enjoy, I wouldn't tell you not to pick it up.
Plot: Loved the concept. Was unimpressed by the execution and pacing.
Characters: Most were pretty good...
Writing: Unfortunately, I found the writing to not be descriptive enough.
Ending: Kind of rushed, but it wrapped things up nicely.
Kid friendly? One of the main themes in this novel is sex and women's rights. Sex, rape and sexual slavery are mentioned, as well as some swearing.
Should I read it? If you think you'd enjoy it more, go ahead.
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