by Julia Karr
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date: January 6, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Challenge: 2011 DAC
Book Website: none
Author Website: http://juliakarr.com/
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.
Why I Read This: Author is a debut author and I read this for the 2011 DAC.
Plot: The biggest reason I decided to give this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because of the plot. It was somewhat unique and kept me interested until the last couple of pages. The book is set in the future, but it’s a very different future than most people write about. It made me glad that I was born in this century and not 140 years into the future. But this was probably the only interesting aspect of the whole plot. Overall, the plot was very confusing and unorganized. Things just kept randomly happening and there was really no connection between them. Also, Nina was terrified of turning 16 from page one, but nothing ever happened that really explained why she was so scared. I thought this was going to be the major focus of the book, but it was barely ever covered unless Nina was complaining about it. At the end, I was just as confused as I was in the beginning and I feel that a second book is needed in order for us to understand and know everything the author wants us to because so many questions were left unanswered; not just for the reader, but also for Nina.
Characters: The characters were all pretty cool and they had the potential to be even better, however, they never reached that potential because the writing was just not there to help. I couldn’t connect with the characters and that really took away from the book. Something tragic happens to Nina’s family in the first couple of chapters, but I didn’t really feel anything for her or her family; I knew it was a very bad thing that no one wants to go through, but I couldn’t get myself to really care. Nina also seemed to overreact to almost anything. She would randomly freak out or not care enough which I just thought was really weird. She was very confusing, awkward and paranoid. The other characters were about the same. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Nina’s new friends and we never really get to know what they know or who they really are.
Cover: I like the cover a lot which is also one reason I even chose to read this book. I am sad to say that I do choose books by their covers most of the time.
Overall Impression: Not my favorite dystopian novel, but fans of The Uglies Trilogy or The Hunger Games might find it to be interesting and a good read.
Rating: * *