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Review: XVI by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr
Published by Speak
Challenge: DAC
Source: Purchased from Amazon

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 loved the premise of this book and bought it purely because of what it appeared to be about but I was actually left a little disappointed as I didn't feel the synopsis really matched up with what the book was actually about. That's not to say it was a bad book just not what I had been expecting and anticipating to read about.

XVI follows the story of Nina a 15 year girl set in the near distance future. The old system of government has broken down and people are now living in a more controlled society. Technology is used constantly to monitor people and their movements and to indoctrinate them with government propaganda. I loved how you saw how the government manipulated its own history through the media. It was interesting to see that in karr's world people were still very much judged and had their life choices dictated by how much money they had and by what sort of family they came from

I liked Nina as a character. She has a lot of responsibility piled on her shoulders but she manages to keep it all together and do what's best for both herself and the ones around her whilst being a very normal grounded teenager.

The main part of the story follows Nina as she starts to discover more about The Resistance the part her family had played in this in previous years and the discoveries Nina makes as she starts to find out about what really has been going on in the society behind closed doors away from the public eye.

The book has a lot of creepy parts and some really sad parts but I'm not sure it was the book for me - I love dystopian books but it's only been a day since I finished this and I couldn't really tell you the finer details of it as they didn't hold my interest all that much. For me the best parts were the ideas about the role of government in manipulating and controlling their own citizens through the media and propaganda.


Anonymous said…
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy XVI. I am really looking forward to reading it, but I have heard mixed reviews.
This actually sounds like quite a difficult read with a fairly sensitive subject matter. I'm intrigued enough to want to give it a try though, although I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more.
I still want to read it. Terrific 7 honest review. Sensitive subject matter - must read :D
What a shame that you were a bit disappointed about it. I think it's still a book I'm willing to read and give a chance to though. I do love dystopian novels so much!