Review of XVI by Julia Karr

Every girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen.


Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...

For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.


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The idea behind this book is quite a clever one, with your typical Dystopian themes - different classes of people, called 'Tiers', a controlling Government, a Resistance rebelling against the Government and right in the middle of it all is the main character, getting caught up in the politics of her World whilst falling in love and dealing with that.

This story should be perfect for me, I am a Dystopian junkie after all. But I just couldn't connect with the story at all. The writing was okay but I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters exept for Wei and I couldn't picture the world at all.

The back of the book is quite misleading, the XVI tattoo and all that it means is pushed to one side (at the same time as being brought up often) in favour of playing Fathers For Justice. Indeed, most of the book is about Nina keeping her little sister, Dee, away from her Mother's crazy ex, Ed. Which bored me to death. I thought the book was slow going when I started it but once it stuck itself in the rut of Nina narrowly escaping Ed, it really stuck itself there.

Sex was also covered. Nina is terrified of becoming sixteen because she expects that as soon as she does she'll get gang raped. She decides she never wants sex due to watching Ed's Sex-Teen tapes when she was younger, the details of which aren't really mentioned. Actually, for a book so heavily centered on sex, the Author does a great job not mentioning it. Anyway, as soon as Nina meets Sal for around the third time she immediately notices how hot he is and spends a lot of time wanting to hump him. But she can't hump him, she's too traumatised! But she wants him! Oh dear.

Characters wise, I have no idea why Nina and Sal are together, I have no idea what Sal looks like or what his personalities like, I couldn't care less about him. Wei was the only character I cared about as she actually had a personality. Strangely enough, the thing that annoyed me the most was the constant reminder that Nina takes the 33 bus. I think it must have been mentioned at least 10 times.

2/5

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