Monday, July 11, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Grade: A


Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen. They say they're there for protection.

Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal life is shattered; and she discovers hat nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...for Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.


Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 7/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 56/70

Age Appropriate? PG-13

Cursing: Some.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some references to drug use, I believe, especially drugging by the government.
Sexual Content: Sex plays a very big role in this book, especially where teens are concerned. Also, rape and references to porn and sex slavery.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Domestic abuse, murder.


While I very much loved the author's dystopian perspective on our future--a future filled with advertising manipulation, a "tier" class system, and a corrupt government hiding behind a facade of protection--I simply could not connect with the main character, Nina. Her emotions were wild and unformed, and I did not believe her motivations. On the one hand, she would rant to herself about how obviously spoiled the government was and how she knew that free speech was being tamped down, but then she would passionately defend it in a conversation with another character. Also, the way she handled sex was whiny. Sex, particularly the teen variety, played a big role in this book, and while, yeah, the government of the future stamping girls with tattoos that  make them free game for guys is totally conceivable, but the way Nina dealt with it was totally beyond me. All in all, she didn't really come across so much a strong heroine as an angsty, feeble-minded child. But that's just me.

That aside, I thought the author's concept and execution of the future was great and totally unique--definitely something I was interested in reading about. She wove enormous amounts of mystery and intrigue into the exposition of the story that is gradually revealed as the story progresses--marvelous! Because of this, I will most certainly be returning for the sequel.


Julia Karr (read the first chapter here!)
Truth, the sequel, available 1/19/2012:

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