Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge 1: XVI by Julia Karr

I read this book as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge being sponsored by Kristi over at The Story Siren. I've really gotten into the YA books lately. In fact, it's almost keeping me from reading books by my favorite authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz. But anyway, on with the book review.

XVI, or the Roman numeral for 16 is set in a futuristic world. After we have settled on the Moon and Mars, and we have a government that keeps us from having wars. The 16 is for the age when a girl gets a tattoo, the roman numerals, that tell all men she is 16 and able to have sex. And they call it "sex-teen" in that it is the age when girls WANT to have sex supposedly, and all the ads make girls think that will be cool. There is an organization that virgins can get chosen for, and it is hope for girls who are in the lower tiers, or really the lower class girls. Our main character is Nina. She doesn't buy into all that sex-teen stuff. In fact, she doesn't want to have sex or become available for this program. Especially after seeing some perverted videos her mother's boyfriend left at the house. This is a world, similar to in the movie Minority Report, where as you walk past stores, you are constantly getting an audio of sales and such directed at you. There is a constant program, unless you listen to music, or are talking to a friend. Until girls are 16, they also have a GPS inserted under their skin.

The story starts out as Nina is going to visit her grandparents and some old friends in Chicago. (Which, as some may know, I love Chicago! The novel I have gotten the farthest with writing myself is actually set in Chicago.) There is a stop in this constant noise by some rebels, or NonCons as they are called. Then she sees a homeless boy getting beat up by some 'Letes, or athletes. Turns out this boy isn't homeless, his name is Sal, and his parents were friends with Nina's parents. Nina's father is dead, and at the beginning of the story, her mother Ginnie is killed. This leads to Nina and her younger sister going to live with their grandparents. Ginnie told Nina in her dying moments to keep her younger sister away from her boyfriend, Ed, who Nina believes to be her sister's father. Moving to the city, back to where Nina had lived until 4 years ago, she is now embroiled in a mystery, as one other thing her mother said to her, was that her father was still alive, and Nina should find him.

There was a lot of suspense in this book. Once I picked it up, I constantly wanted to keep reading it to see what was going to happen next. I don't know that I believe we could ever go back to a society where women were treated like sex slaves, or that 16 year old girls were treated that way. I just don't see that. But it is a different story line for a futuristic world, and I think that it left off that there could be a sequel. I hope there is anyway, I want to know what happens next.

This was the 1st in my 2011 Debut Author Challenge list of 12. And I'm really glad I chose to do this. I may even go back to read some of the other books that I didn't choose after I get my first 12 done.

Now, if I could only get my borrowed Nook to work one more day before I have to take it back to work tonight. I really wanted to read Unwind by Neal Shusterman tonight, especially since I have a snow day tomorrow. Oh well. I'm reading another really good book right now that I can't wait to blog about either.