Friday, March 25, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Lauren DeStefano

Reading Level: YA Dystopian

# of Pages: 356 Hardcover

Publisher: Simon and Schuster (March 22, 2011)

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Today’s review is a joint review! I was lucky enough to receive two ARC’s of this one and one of my students read the novel with me. Without further ado, here is Hannah’s review…

I thought Lauren DeStefano did a fabulous job creating the setting of the story. At times it seemed like a crazy, unimaginable place that I would love to visit and then she would sneak in something that reminded me why Rhine so desperately wants to get out. I love how she developed each character piece by piece. Throughout the entire book, you learned tid-bits more of each character that helps you realize something else about them as individuals as well as how they are intertwined with the other characters. The relationships in the book are formed brilliantly. The distinction of feelings between characters helps you see each character’s perspective on everyone and their situation. It gets to a point where you can’t put it down. You feel like you are too involved to stop reading. I loved this book! Can’t wait for the next one!

~Hannah S.

8th grade student

I loved Hannah’s review because it says everything I was going to say. I could not put this one down and was lucky the students were having testing this week. Shh… don’t tell! Rhine is such a strong character and her assertiveness is quiet which I love. She is determined to find her way back to her life and will do whatever it takes to get back there. I can’t imagine being sixteen years old and being through all that Rhine has been through. Her sister-wives play such an important role in this even though one would drive anyone crazy and one has seemingly given it up on it all. I have to say that besides Rhine, my favorite character is her husband, Governor Linden. I think there is so much more to him and DeStefano did a great job alluding to these things and heightening our curiosity for the future.

It was so easy to see everything that DeStefano has going on in her debut novel because it was so very well-written. I love that she has taken a genre that is quickly becoming a favorite to many and found a way to weave current topics within this dystopian fiction (human trafficking, genetic engineering, etc.). This is an amazing debut novel and deserves all the praise it is getting. I absolutely cannot wait for the second in this series.

Visit Lauren HERE to find out more about her and even more about the series HERE. Read the first chapter of Wither HERE.

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