XVI by Julia Karr
January 6, 2011
January 6, 2011
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 really enjoy dystopian novels and while I did like XVI, I didn't love it. I really love the world that Karr created but I just couldn't connect with the main character, Nina. The plot was interesting and unique, but since I really didn't like Nina, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I should have.
Nina was just too wishy-washy for me. She was very whiny and her mood swings were all over the place. Granted, she did go through a lot in the story but that just wasn't enough to justify her behavior for me. I really hated when she lashed out at her friends, then a minute later she felt horrible and felt like they should forgive her because of the things that she had been through. I'm sorry, but you don't just to that to your best friends. I also didn't know why one moment she is all "I don't want to be a sex-teen and have a boyfriend" and the next moment she is falling hard for Sal. Their romance went way too fast for me. It just wasn't believable considering how much she was against having a boyfriend.
Sal was a bit of a mystery, but I liked him. He seemed like a sweet and considerate guy. I do not at all know why he fell for Nina. He is much too good for her. I wish there would have been much more of him in XVI, as he was one of my favorite characters. I loved his friend, Wei. She was everything that I wanted Nina to be. Confident, sweet, and not at all flighty. She was really enjoyable to read about and she brought out the "best" in Nina. Sally, Nina's best friend, drove me crazy! She is definitely trying to be a sex-teen and really annoyed me. I don't know why Nina stayed friends with her, as they were total opposites and going in two different directions.
After finishing with XVI, I had mixed feelings. I did think that the plot was intriguing and it kept me reading, but I didn't like Nina at all. If it wasn't for Sal and Wei, I don't know that I would have finished XVI. It is really hard reading a book with an irritating narrator. I am glad I stuck with the story because there was a decent ending. If you love dystopian novels, you might want to give this a try. I know many people who had a different opinion and told me that they loved the novel so you might, too.