XVI by Julia Karr (Book 1 XVI Series)

Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist—sixteen. They say they’re there for protection. 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.

The year is 2150 and women’s rights and the freedoms we enjoy today (at the moment) are just a memory. The world that 15-year-old Nina Oberon lives in is frightening to me. Frightening because it’s all too plausible. The Governing Council controls the populace through the Media. Through the Media girls are “trained” to become a sex-teen when they turn sixteen. There’s even a guide for this transition. How to dress and act to attract guys. Girls become adults at sixteen, identified by a tattoo on the wrist – XVI. This becomes an invitation (unwanted or not) that girls are ready for sex. Girls don’t have many choices, they either marry above them or get accepted into the FeLS (Female Liaison Specialists) program.

Nina is typical teenager by my standards in a world where teen girls are supposed to be obsessed with what comes with turning sixteen. Her best friend Sandy is your stereotypical boy obsessed teenager who’s a little too eager for being sex-teen. When a personal tragedy hits close to home, Nina’s whole world is turned upside down and what she thought she knew may not be the truth at all. She just has to be brave and strong enough to find it.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the sequel, Truth. Karr’s writing moves the story along very well and Nina is definitely a character to admire and someone teens can relate to, which makes for very enjoyable reading. This book will definitely garner further discussion, whether in school or if chosen for a book club pick.

Age 13+ (mature content)

Publisher: Speak (January 2011)

ISBN: 9780142417713

Available as an eBook

Image from www.goodreads.com

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from the local library.