15 February 2011

Book Review: "XVI" by Julia Karr

XVI by Julia Karr

Published: January 6th, 2011 | Puffin/Speak
Age: Young Adult
Pages: 325
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challeng
Acquired: Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Overall: 1/2

Review: XVI is the first dystopian novel that I've read and am glad that it was my first! This book kept me interested, confused, and interested some more from beginning to end.

Nina Oberon lives in the year 2150 where being sixteen years old is anything but innocent. And for her, anything but something to look forward to. When teenage girls turn sixteen they are required, by law, to get a tattoo on their wrist of the Roman numerals "XVI" which lets the world know (especially creepy men) that she is ready for sex. Some girls become so obsessed with turning sixteen they're known as sex-teens. And Nina's best friend, Sandy just so happens to be one.
When Nina's mother is brutally attacked in an alley, her dying wish is for Nina to protect her younger sister, Dee and learns the truth about her past that throws her world for a loop.

Within the first few chapters I was seriously confused--trannies, skivs, chips, PAV's--none of it made any sense. But after awhile, things became clear and more and more interesting. But unlike a lot of books with made up worlds, whether they're futuristic or present, XVI was believable. Other than the natural progression that may occur in life, the only thing that would (hopefully) not happen is the XVI tattoos and hopefully the craziness of the government. Though, I wouldn't mind the world wide veganism. I believe that would be a very smart--and healthy thing for our lives.

After her mother's untimely death, Nina (and her sister) are forced to move in with her grandmother and grandfather. They return to their old schools and are reunited with old friends and meet new ones. Like Sal and Wei. Though I felt like we didn't get to know much about these characters or her other friends: Sandy, Derrek and Mike--I liked them and wanted more of them. I actually wanted more of Derrek even though he was nothing more than a friend to Nina... Not sure why.
But the relationship between Sal and Nina gets testy and hot as well. Loved that.
And Wei seems like the kind of friend every girl needs in their life!

I was glad that Nina looked at the "XVI" thing as negative, in part from some influence from her mother, but in reality...she just knew that the whole idea of letting teens not only have sex at sixteen but seriously encourage it is ridiculous!

The way the book ended doesn't leave much for you to need more, but according to Julia Karr's website she is writing not only a sequel to this book, but a spin-off as well. (I think it'll follow her younger sister Dee).
I think I have neutral feelings towards the sequel. I would love to see more into this world and the lives, but the way XVI ended was nicely wrapped up. No cliffhangers. I likey.

On a negative note, I felt like XVI leaned more toward MG than most YA I've read lately? I think it was the more on the writing and less on the situations, characters, and plot. This, however, will not prevent me from reading future Julia Karr books. I enjoyed this one and would love to read more from her mind!



Author's Info:
Julia Karr is a debut author this year and is currently working on a sequel as well as a spin-off to her first novel, XVI
She grew up in the small town of Seymour, Indiana and has lived in St. Augustine, Florida and Longmont, Colorado. 
Living far away from her mother, Julia would write lengthy letters to her and learned to love editing when her mother would return them back to her with corrected spelling. Poetry and drawing kept her interest and she used them to make greeting cards for friends and family.
When she was sixteen years old, she moved to Chicago and fell in love.
She now has two grown daughters who experienced her love of writing when they were younger. She would make up stories for her daughters and that's when she first started thinking of writing  for children.  And now that they're grown and out of the house, Julia is able to take writing seriously.
Check out Julia on her: website | twitter | facebook | goodreads
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