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Book Review: XVI

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Title: XVI
Author: Julia Karr
Pages: 325
Publisher: Speak
Buy it: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository

Every girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen.

Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...

For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet
I've always thought having a tattoo was cool... Until XVI. This is a world where a small tattoo of Roman numerals can get a girl raped and abused. And the rapist cannot be blamed.

This is one of my favourite dystopias this year. The XVI tattoo that turns a girl "sex-teen" is one of the best premises in a dystopia I've seen yet. The plot, however, is more complex than simply about turning sixteen, and page after page, new revelations continue to shock me. From NonCons, to B.O.S.S. agents, to old family friends, things in XVI are all connected in ways I would've never imagined possible.

Nina Oberon seemed to be a normal kind of girl at first. Then she turned extraordinary. Things are never as they seem in XVI and there is not a single boring moment in the entire book. Sal Davis, Nina's boyfriend, seems to be homeless at first, then he morphs into the cliché parent-less, super-talented, über-hot boy. But even though he seems cliché, he has more secrets than meets the eye, and like the book itself, he hasn't failed to surprise me yet.

The side characters were what really made XVI stand out in the plethora of dystopian novels today. Each and every one of them had a history, had a personality, and added something of their own to the story. From Nina's best friend, Sandy, to her new best friend, Wei, to her grandmother, each and every one of them are essential to the book, and it just wouldn't be complete if it lacked just one of them.

Although XVI sounds like a novel purely about a girl who doesn't want to have sex yet, the storyline's more complicated than that. Throw in an evil stepfather who wouldn't mind killing Nina, a bunch of family history, and *spoilers and more spoilers*, you'll just about have XVI.

I'd recommend XVI to anyone who isn't sick of dystopias already. I loved this take on a dystopia, and I'd love to learn more about how this world came to be in the sequel. Speaking of the sequel, you can bet that I'm going to make a mad dash to the bookstore to grab my copy of Truth when it's out in Hong Kong. Or maybe I'll just pre-order it...

My rating: Buy it, Keep it, Love it forever

1 comment on "Book Review: XVI"
  1. I'll never be sick of dystopias! NEVAAAH! Haha. It all depends how it's written I guess. I'm really curious about this one though and def. plan to read it soon! Great review Hikari!

    Xpresso Reads


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