Saturday, February 12, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

Author: Julia Karr
Series: I would be willing to bet this will be a series
Pages: 325
Published: Available now from Penguin
ISBN: 9780142417713
Source: ARC from Around The World Tours

Description: 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 Give This ...

I liked and disliked different aspects of this book which is really hard when those things clash throughout the whole entire story.
My main problem was with Nina and the whole aspect of "sex-teens".    I didn't like the idea of teens being branded as ready for sex for the whole world to know at the age of 16.  And to top it off the Media releases how to videos to attract men (or predators).  It just really didn't sit well with me.  I originally liked Nina's attitude about how she didn't want to give into the hype.  But, then she meets Sal.  And since she's never been given a proper idea of sex or love, she doesn't know that there can be a middle.  She constantly battling with herself about becoming a sex-teens or completely cutting herself off from Sal and the emotions he makes her feel.  Since this is really such an intricate part of the story, it was a real turn off for me.

Despite that I liked the characters (when Nina wasn't think about sex-teens).  Nina really shows heart and dedication, plus she seems to have a good head on her shoulders.  I think she could really change whatever is really going on.  I loved Sal, Wei, Mike, and Derek.  They seemed like a well rounded group of friends.  And even her little sister really brought the story to life.  I thought the rest of the futuristic society was interesting.  I liked the mystery of figuring out who really killed Nina's mother (which I had pegged but for different reasons).  Add it the fact that there seems to be something going on with the government (The Media) leading the society that leaves a doom and gloom feel to the entire story.  The only thing was I almost felt like I need a glossary of terms.  I didn't think some of them were really well explained.

There's not a huge cliff hanger at the end, but enough that you get the feeling that there will at least be a sequel.  If the author doesn't place so much emphasis on "sex-teens", I might read the next one.


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