Wednesday, February 2, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

About The Book: Nina is going to turn sixteen very soon but right now her life is spinning out of control. The story is set in futuristic Chicago where consumer culture has finally divided the city into tiers based on affluence. Nina discovers that not only her father may be alive but there is a world that exists outside the tiers. A world where scramblers, GPS trackers, government cover-ups, secret organizations and turning sixteen for girls means succumbing to sexual objectification. Sequel? Yes, I can't wait...
Order XVI here.
One Great Line: The threat of being chosen retreated to the edge of my thoughts, hovering there, waiting to return faster than a wing beat. (XVI, 271) Poetry!!!

What Others Are Saying:   "Karr’s novel is perfect for girls who have begun to ask questions about themselves and about how they are supposed to act under the barrage of sexual influences. Our heroine Nina lives within every girl who is willing to fight to define herself all on her own." ( Bookpage)    
       "In her unsettling debut, Karr depicts a sex-obsessed future where women are the perpetual victims of predatory marketing, and other societal ills seen in our present...taken to terrifying ends. ...there’s no doubt this well-written, accessible sci-fi thriller will provoke discussion." ( Booklist)

Logline:  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.

First Five Pages: Karr quickly introduces the main character and what her public and private stakes will be. Her premise of consumer culture run a muck is, while not original, takes a fascinating tangent using sex as the focus, appealing to 14-16 year olds questioning their own sexuality. When Nina asks, "What would it be like to be able to go someplace where you were untraceable?" Karr intuitively addresses the age old question of coming of age and being free of parental constraints. By the fifth page Nina is carefully situated in the time and place of Karr's dystopian world.

Other Observations: Some have questioned plausibility by pointing to Karr's "dysfunctional gender politics". They seem unable to reconcile the fact that there are teenagers that subvert the system. Really? Name one group or country for that matter, that doesn't have minority populations that live outside bounds of accepted norms. That is why we cheer for Nina, she is fighting to live her own life free from the constraints of a controlling government. Can you say, pilgrims? I'm just saying. I love Karr's exploration of consumer culture!

 Writer Info
Twitter: @juliaakarr

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

Rating Key:
♥         Couldn't finish the book, wouldn't even give it to my worst enemy.
♥♥       Read most of it but had to skim through slow parts.
♥♥♥     Solid book with a few holes in the plot or inconsistencies, pacing issues.
♥♥♥♥   Great premise, plot and pace. Writing is engaging with a strong voice.
♥♥♥♥♥ Totally awesome ride, tell everyone to read it, give me some more.

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  1. I'm dying to clear my calendar so I can read Julia's book - I LOVE dystopian, and the premise of XVI is awesome. Thanks for sharing your review!

  2. I am reading XVI right now and thoroughly enjoying it!

  3. Good post! I agree that XVI is a great look at consumer culture and its effects on women/girls.

  4. Julia does a great job keeping the reader on the edge of her seat!

  5. Thank you for the review! I'm intrigued by this book--I've heard a lot of good things about it.


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