Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Description from Goodreads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did.  I never really connected with the world in the story and I had a hard time feeling anything for the characters.  I was occasionally confused by exactly what had happened to cause everyone to get the virus at a certain age and why some people didn’t get it.

I found Linden interesting.  I wanted him to be good, and he was sometimes, but he also wasn’t good sometimes.  It made him an interesting character.

I didn’t like any of the girls that much.  Cecily seemed to be about 8 instead of 13.  Jenna just wasn’t likeable.  I never connected with Rhine.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but she just seemed too whiny, I guess.

I think my biggest problem with this book is that it was slow.  I’m used to dystopia coming with a lot of adventure and action.  This book didn’t have that for most of the book and I think it suffered because of it.

Wither is well reviewed on Goodreads, so maybe it was just me, but I don’t see myself continuing this series.

Read as part of the 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge.

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