Sunday, January 9, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Title: XVI
Author: Julia Karr
Publisher: Puffin/Speak (Penguin)
NOOKbook, 262 pages
Date Published: January 6, 2010
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
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.
XVI is one of those books that stick with you. Not just because it is a well-executed and thought-provoking dystopian, but because it has so many components that lend to its greatness. Nina, the MC and a 15 year old girl who is terrified to age that one year and become a ‘sex-teen,’ is strong, but fragile at the same time; she’s far too grown up for her years, but still just a child. Her life is dictated by the world around her – which isn’t a great one.

Julia Karr has created a Chicago of 2150 that is eerily reminiscent of the world of 1984 (one of my favorite books of all time) and she constantly reminds the reader just how much control the government has over its inhabitants. The technology is believable, at times it’s incredible and I wish I could experience it, but other times it just shows how much the government interferes in everyday life.

Nina, her sister Dee, her grandparents, and all of her friends truly have very little control over their own lives. The tier system is very much the same as a caste system and with little hope of moving up in tiers, the girls who turn sixteen sign themselves up to literally become sex slaves, only they believe they’re signing up for a better life, just with a few strings attached. Even Nina’s best friend, Sandy, is convinced that joining the FeLS (Female Liaison Specialist) is the perfect way to move up in life.

Karr throws Nina into the world of The Resistance and forces her to question all she has ever known, while introducing her to the mysterious Sal too. Nina’s only hope at escaping a life of forced sex and possible death, is in the whispered words of a dying woman. Those words drive Nina to become a stronger person, with an unbreakable determination.

At times an emotional thriller, XVI touches on many aspects of the society that we live in and pushes the limits on what could be. Tense, horrifying to imagine, but impossible to put down – I was enthralled in this future world, the technology, and the characters. All the characters are developed and no one felt flat to me. My only complaint is that the ending is rushed. I  would have liked to see all of Nina’s struggling and worrying pay off in a more fleshed out way, instead of the quick wrap-up. But still, this is a dystopian that cannot be missed.

Opening line: “Nina, look.” Sandy jabbed me in the ribs. ~ pg. 12

Favorite lines:
I’d choked back so many tears, they’d become a lake of sadness in my belly. ~ pg. 36
And this one:
 “Personal sacrifice lies at the center of change for the better.” ~  pg. 189
4.5 for sure
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Julia Karr online:

Buy it online:


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

To be honest, I didn't even really know what this book was about, so I'm really glad I read your review. It sounds powerful. Excellent review, Nikki! :)

Khadija said...

I've really wanted to read this one...and your review has only made me want to read it all the more. I really enjoyed reading your review! ^-^

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Reading your review has made me glad that I ordered this book last week. Im looking forward to reading it now. Lovely. Thanks!

Can I ask, how do you get your Goodreads synopsis inside that nifty dotted box? It looks so great!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

@Melissa - I wasn't really sure what it was about until I visited The League of Extraordinary Writers but then I had to read it.

@Khadija - I hope you read it!

@The Slowest Bookworm - Yay! And the nifty box was all thanks to the help of the Brandi at Blkosiner's Book Blog and these two sites:
6 ways/style blockquotes
customize blockquotes

Kylie1403 said...

This Review is GREAT!! It is now on my wishlist!

brandileigh2003 said...

YAY! Thanks for the review. I want to read this one!
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

~The Book Pixie said...

This book sounds utterly amazing and fairly original compared to other dystopian I've read. Your review has really got me wanting this one even more now. So glad you enjoyed it. :D


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