Tuesday, March 1, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

"In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad."
--from Julia Karr's website

I really looked forward to XVI. The idea that girls are branded with a tattoo that announces they are old enough for sex -- to keep them safe, of course -- Well, I just had to read it.

I loved Nina's interactions with each person. Her care for her sister, juggling her new and old friends, dealing with her sex-teen obsessed best friend... you just have to root for her, and that kept me racing through the pages.

However, I wish that Nina's dystopian world was more developed. For all the alluding to the XVI tattoo, we never really understand the government's reasoning behind it. How is branding you supposed to keep you safe?? And even though Karr had some impressive futuristic technology (for example, all of our gadgets have been reduced to a Personal Audio/Visual and a Family Audio/Visual), I felt like she kept throwing tech at us just to prove it existed.

XVI was a worthwhile read, but not an ohmigosh must read. Karr has a great message and strong characters to support that message, but her world needs just a little more work before it blends into the story.

This review is for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge at The Story Siren.