Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: XVI

Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist - sixteen. They say they're there for protection. 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.

What if we lived in a world that turned a blind eye to rape? Just allowed it to happen and sometimes, even encouraged it? A society that also took away all rights a girl had over her body? What about a world where nearly everything is under surveillance? One wrong word or action, and you could end up in prison, or worse: dead. That's the society that exists in XVI. Julia Karr did a great job building a world that was both scary and outrageous, but at the same time engrossing and plausible. I can only hope our own society never turns out like the one that exists in XVI.

There were a lot of characters in this book, and to be honest I did get some of them confused. But after awhile I got used to it and was able to get all of them sorted out in my mind. My favorite character was definitely Wei. She didn't allow society to force her into being a typical sex-teen. She rebelled but in silent ways like decorating her XVI tattoo with thistles, and learning awesome martial arts to defend herself against predators. Not to mention the fact that Wei was half Japanese!!! YESH! Haha. It seems like every book I'm reading lately has a halfie character in it.

One thing that confused me about this book was all the lingo. There were all sorts of abbreviations and names for things that were never really explained. I still don't know what FeLS stood for! I don't know if that's just because I missed it or if they never actually said it or maybe if it isn't short for anything? I have no clue. It would have been nice if at the end of the book there had been an appendix or something with definitions to the new vocab words so the reader wouldn't be as distracted by it.

While I liked a lot of aspects of this story I have to say that there was one major thing that just didn't work for me. And that was the romance between Nina and Sal. Their relationship didn't really make much sense. Nina meets Sal but isn't interested because she doesn't want a boyfriend. Then all of a sudden she has a crush on him and they're kissing?! Their relationship just didn't seem to evolve naturally. And there wasn't really any reason for them to be together in the first place! So that aspect of the story was just very mehhh. Plus I thought Sal was kind of a weak character. He was a bit one dimensional. But oh well.

I felt like the storyline of XVI was all over the place. It would jump from one thing (Nina and Sal's romance!) to another (The mystery of FeLS) and there was hardly any time to process it all. I'm still trying to figure out who exactly the underground rebellion people were, not to mention sorting out all the mysteries of the government. I didn't like that the ending of the story felt kind of rushed. It would have been nice if Julia Karr had spent a bit more time explaining everything and tying up the loose ends to the story.

Overall XVI was an okay but slightly confusing dystopian. Julia Karr did a great job building a scary future society and I really enjoyed some of the characters. However I felt like some points of the story weren't fully explained and that detracted from the story. I give XVI 3 and a half out of 5 cupcakes.

5 Words to Describe This Book
Scary setting, shocking secrets, confusing

One more random thing. There was one character (Mike) who volunteered at the zoo and worked with the cows which I totally thought was hilarious! Mostly because I volunteer at the zoo. However I do not work with the cows. Not that I wouldn't like to though. Come to think of it I don't even know if my zoo has cows? I think it does? Anyway yeah that was something I just had to mention.

Julia :)


  1. Very insightful review! I actually really liked this one, but i get where you're coming from. Thanks for the review!

  2. I have this book on hold at the library, and have been looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing your honest review - especially what was confusing for you! I tend to get confused easily while reading, so it's good to know that I'll have to pay careful attention. If I figure out what FeLS is, I'll let you know... =)

    Quitting My Day Job

  3. Sad to hear that it was confusing. Maybe I'll put it on my library list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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