XVI by Julia Karr
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Paperback): 325
Series: XVI (Book 1)
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.
This book is the first in a long time that left me disappointed. The first impression that I got was overwhelming; the world, I assume, had been like this for a while and for Nina to understand everything that was going on, I as a reader had no clue. There was so much that was thrown at me in the very beginning that I didn't understand that I didn't really even feel connected to the world or the characters.
This book had a unique concept and the idea of the exploitation of women is real; it was for this reason that I even picked up the book to begin with. But within the first 60 pages the concept wasn't appropriately executed and was nearly irrevelant to the story. Nina is seemingly afraid of sex, boys, and being a sex-teen. The impression I got from her friend is the opposite; at the mention of a boy, she gets overly excited and can't get sex off the brain.
I understand that each character is an individual but the extremities here made it hard to like either of the girls. The immediate introduction to them puts them at the forefront and to dislike Nina from the beginning means the book have to work even harder.
There may have been a deeper connection to the idea of the sex-teen and the exploitation that was revealed later in the book, but I couldn't sift through the jargon, the unexplained, and the characters to finish. I have chosen to supply this book with a rating because of the reasons I did not finish. It is in the interest of balance that readers get all opinions.
Rating out of 5: