Published: Jan 2011
Published by: Puffin/Speak
Copy Provided by: Library
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 have to admit that I struggled with this one.
I really wanted to like it and I even stuck it out for about 130 pages. That is phenomenal for me...but in the end, I just couldn't finish it. There were too many things that weren't working for me. When I think of Dystopian Fiction, I think of a world that exists in the future, bordering on Sci Fi. This may have been a little too much Sci Fi for me. Plus, the terminology was starting to irk me. For about a week now I've been contemplating if I should continue with this title. Then, just a few days ago I came across a terrific post by Reading Teen that made me realize what the problem was. There was not enough background to this story to satisfy me. Why were they being tattooed? How did society become like this? What was the reasoning? Also, I was starting to feel like the tattoo was a bit like branding a cow. Kind of disturbing...
In Wither, there was background which told the reader about how gene manipulation had changed the lifespan for society. Girls were often captured and sold to men who wanted to start families and procreate before they died. But with XVI, I just didn't understand how the tattooing started. As a reader, I just couldn't let these questions go.
Don't disclude XVI from your Dystopian TBR pile though. Just put it a little lower down the list. Make sure you've read Wither, Gone, The Hunger Games and Maze Runner first. Just because I wasn't crazy about it, doesn't mean you won't be.