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 am such a slacker! I really should have written this review right after I read the book, but I didn’t and I’ve read 20+ books since then and honestly, I can’t remember details anymore! Bad Jenna.
But I do remember liking it, so let’s start there. I thought the world was really interesting, especially the Media, which reminded me a lot of Feed by M.T. Anderson. It was pretty believable as a future to our society. I also found the tier system really interesting and believable. I did have trouble deciding how far in the future the book was supposed to be set. At times, I thought it was only a short amount of time in the future, but then other times it seemed very far out. It was a little distracting. I would have liked to have find out more about what drove the society to have such a rigid tier system… how did we get there?
Overall, I like Nina. She was occasionally kind of boring, but also pretty interesting. I liked how protective she was of her sister. I really liked her grandparents. Her friends… hm. I loathed Sandy and was pretty annoyed every time she showed back up. I didn’t like that Nina used … guy friend whose name I can’t remember … a lot. I was kind of annoyed when Sal and … girl whose name I can’t remember … knew things about Nina’s parents and wouldn’t tell her stuff. But I liked their little band (minus Sandy) for the most part.
I guess the end was setting up a sequel, which has the potential to be interesting, so I would give it a shot should it happen. If there isn’t a sequel, the ending was definitely disappointing!
Read as part of the 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge.