Thursday, July 7, 2011

XVI by Julie Karr

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

I liked some of the dysoptianess of the book. I liked Grannie and Pops, the grandparents. I didn't really connect with Nina. I thought her sister, Dee was five-years-old the way she acted but she's actually eleven.
When girls turn sixteen in this world, they are tattooed with "XVI" on their wrist to signify their age and the legality of any man having sex with her. The government owns the media and the media tells the population sex whenever and with whoever is perfectly fine as long as they are sixteen. If the girl gets pregnant, it's up the to boy what happens to the baby. Girls are taught they are sex toys and it's fine. 
Kudos to the author for having the main character disgusted with the whole XVI and sex propaganda. 
I got tired of the "big brother is evil" scenarios. On the other hand, there wasn't much story line for how the world came about or how the resistance was going to stop the government from having so much control and I would've liked to read more about that plot.

Rating: PG 15 (max)
V: fighting
L: a little. "F" bomb toward the end
S: constant talk of it but no scenes

25% test (p. 81):
"...found out my mom was a tier-two cashier, most of them quit talking to me. I didn't let it get to me too much--when we were tier-five, I never talked to tier-twos. Besides, I get so caught up in my drawing that I'd have probably ignored Can Stacy if he'd walked in the room.
Even thinking about that move made me feel angry, and then could I be angry at Ginnie now? Then Dee came in and hung over the back of a chair, her toes skimming the floor. You think Maddie and Justin still go to Dickens?"
"Sure, I bet most of your friends will be at your old school. We've only been gone four years.  I hoped I was right. She needed something to make her feel better. She needed friends.
"Neens...I miss Mom." She sobbed quietly next to me. 
I scooped her up knocking of the container of flour with my elbow, hugging her as tight as I could, Holding back my own tears. Even though she was eleven, she felt so small, so vulnerable. Eventually, she stopped crying.
"I'm sorry." She sniffed and swallowed hard. "You miss her, too, don't you?"
"Yes, I do."
"What did they do with her body? Is it out in space with all the burial pods?" She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and looked at me expectantly.
i didn't know what had happened--"We'll dispose of the body in the usual manner..."--I had to say something comforting. "Yes, it is. They sent her body out that very morning. She's up among the stars now."
"Gran says she's in heaven." Dee looked at me. "You don't believe in heaven, do you?"

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