Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)
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Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1)

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  29,429 ratings  ·  2,763 reviews
IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Square Fish (first published March 30th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
the fact that i can't think of a single thing to say about this book should be review enough, right? and yet, that could be misconstrued as one of those "if you don't have anything nice to say" remarks. and that's not it. it was a "good" "read," i am just having difficulty saying anything interesting tonight.

i will just sit here and hope the votes pour in without any effort on my part...

yes??

no??

okay, i will give it a go.

yes, yes, it is another YA dystopia. (half of you have officially tuned ou...more
Clare Cannon
Apr 28, 2014 Clare Cannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13 years - adults
Recommended to Clare by: Rated Reads

I cannot wait for the sequel! I thought this would be a heavy read, but I was so wrong. It is everything a gripping dystopian should be, but has wonderful characters who grow through adversity and whose experiences afford powerful insights into what is most important in life.

A dark future world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those - like sixteen year old Gaia Stone - who live outside. Gaia was trained as a midwife by her mother, and it's now her job to "advance" a quota...more
Melissa
I wanted to like this book, I really did. The premise seemed really interesting, but the book just fell flat. Gaia was just boring and the rest of the characters were flat and underdeveloped. I honestly didn't understand why everyone was risking their life to help her because she wasn't inspiring and her cause for the most part helped only her, no one else (saving her parents). I also didn't understand the need to separate the people from the Enclave and those outside the wall, since the Enclave...more
Caragh
Sep 29, 2009 Caragh added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I've read it a few times already. *smile!*
Tatiana
Apr 06, 2010 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to read about babies and birthing
An ARC of "Birthmarked" was gifted to me by my friend, so I feel kind of bad for giving this book such a low rating, but at the same time I don't want to sugar coat it either. The thing is, "Birthmarked" is not one of those horrid books that I despise for awful writing or atrocious characters ("Evermore" and "Hush, Hush" come to mind). It is not bad, but it is simply boring and unremarkable. To be honest, only a marginally interesting premise kept me skimming last 200 pages of the book instead o...more
Reynje
This book and I got on a plane together, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that we were both trapped in a small space with little else to do, we might have parted ways early on.

I didn’t step smoothly into the first few chapters of Birthmarked. My reading experience sort of tripped, stumbled, almost face-planted. At first the writing seemed quite dense and strangely... formal? I had some difficulty getting my head into the world – possibly due to some pre-conceived ideas I had about the book, w...more
Steph Su
Words fail to adequately describe how astonishingly completely Caragh O’Brien drew me into Gaia’s dystopian world in this debut YA novel. Holy cow! BIRTHMARKED is a layered and action-packed dystopian treat that just might satisfy readers eagerly awaiting the third and final installment of The Hunger Games series.

I am absolutely bowled over by how well-written this book is. Caragh O’Brien presents us with interesting characters that we want to follow through all their suspenseful adventures and...more
Katherine C.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

Gaia (Guy-ya) Stone is following in her mother's footsteps. She has been training to be a midwife for years and is ready to accept her role in the community. For as long as she can remember, life on the outside of the wall has been this way.

The first three babies of the month are advanced to the Enclave to be adopted and live their life inside the wall. While the pain of losing a child is great, the mothers know that their baby will be living in a...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
Gaia Stone lives in a dystopian society that's split in two: the rich, privileged members live inside the walled Enclave while the rest, including Gaia, live in poverty Outside. It is an acquiesced law that the first three babies born every month will be "advanced" into the Enclave to be brought up by the elite. Gaia happily serves the Enclave as a midwife, alongside her mother, until she comes home one night to find that her mother and father have been arrested. Gaia has been told that her pare...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I went into this book with a bad attitude. I seriously did not want to like it (yeah, I know why the heck did I have the book and why was I reading it if I had a bad attitude...long story). Anyways, I was ready and willing to compare every part of this book to The Hunger Games, which I did. I couldn't help it. I automatically assume that O'Brien wrote this book due to the success of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Even if O'Brien wrote the book without thinking of The Hunger Games, in my nar...more
AH
Caragh O’Brien’s book Birthmarked tells the story of a world where the state is able to take infants away from their mothers by quota. Set approximately 300 years into the future, the world is a bleak place. Resources have dwindled, lakes have dried up and become “unlakes,” and a portion of the population has difficulty conceiving.

The Enclave is a walled city where its citizens enjoy many of the better things in life – food, running water, motion sensing lights, and an education. The Enclave is...more
Thomas
Gaia Stone's family has always faithfully served the Enclave. Her father makes his living as a simple tailor, and her mother is a midwife, delivering the first three babies of every month to the Enclave for compensation. Now sixteen-years-old, Gaia is finally able to step into her mother's lead and deliver babies on her own. There isn't any tension between her family and the Enclave until one night Gaia's parents are arrested without any explanation. Gaia learns more about what really goes on in...more
Lucy
Birthmarked is a thrilling, action-packed dystopian by 2010 YA debut author Caragh O’Brien. I was in the mood to read a good, satisfying dystopian and Birthmarked really fit the bill. This book should satisfy those looking for something similar to the Hunger Games with its intrigue, mystery and suspense.

The dystopian world is set up very well, with a plausible concept, and the characters are compelling. The protagonist, midwife Gaia Stone, is brave and faces danger at every turn. Her parents kep...more
elissa
May 28, 2010 elissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to elissa by: Captiol Choices
Definitely had a good start, but I found it to be slightly uneven. Dystopic futuristic atmosphere was very good, and reminded me of Handmaid's Tale, partly because of the reproductive aspects involved in the plot. World building good, characters interesting, plot was compelling and moved the reader along. I guess sometimes the coincidences didn't always work for me (like when the main character meets just the person who can help her in an alley--a man who she's never met before--right when she n...more
Lis
I felt like this book was such a rip-off of the Hunger Games.

The Enclave raminded me way too much of the Capitol. WAY TOO MUCH. Not too mention that half the time I didn't even know why Gaia did some things, and I didn't understand the whole code and what its purpose was and why the parents were even taken in in the first place.

The romance was super dry. Leon and Gaia = FAIL. I mean, I loved Leon, and I didn't have a problem with Gaia, and when Leon and Gaia had a few sweet moments I couldn't...more
Aa'Ishah
4.5 stars

This book should come with a warning: Heartbreak ahead

Birthmarked was a book I had been thinking about since I first knew it existed several months ago, so I was pleased to get hold of a copy. I was even more pleased to find this was a book I enjoyed hugely. Injecting the dystopian genre with some new ideas, it definitely had me glued to the pages.

Society is divided between those who live inside the wall and those who live outside. Those inside enjoy a life of luxury and privilege, whil...more
Laura
Set about 300 years in the future, after the "cool age" (which seems to represent both the time during which we were dependent on oil and possibly pre-serious global warming), this dystopian novel hits all the usual notes: babies born with genetic problems (here, due to inbreeding), a division between the haves and have-nots, babies taken from families are reared elsewhere, etc..

The Enclave's insistence on perfection is what ultimately saves Gaia (yep, the name is significant), who has a disfig...more
Steph Sinclair

I really wanted to love this book, but sadly I did not. I felt that it just dragged on and was a bit anti-climatic for me. I tried to connect with the characters and I just couldn't. Another reviewer mentioned the characters seemed more like rough sketches and I have to agree. In the end, I had to force myself to finish the book.

It seems like there will be a sequel and I'll think I'll give it another shot. But for now it's pretty far down on my list. :(
Cici
This is a story made 300 years into the future. The main character is Gaia, a scarred, 16 year old midwife, taught by her mother. They live on the outside of the wall of the Enclave. They live to serve the Enclave.

The first three babies of each month, from each midwife(I believe there is three midwives, though I'm not 100% sure) will be advanced to the Enclave to have a better life. You should feel honored to have your baby advanced.. Well, some things start to change and Gaia starts to questio...more
Erin
This is a good start to an interesting dystopian story. The concept is unique; the first 3 children born outside the Enclave each month must be handed over to live within the walls of the privileged society. Mothers give up their babies knowing that they will be living in the safety and comfort of the Enclave. But is the Enclave, supposedly the better, healthier, and cleaner version of the outside, really as great as it seems to be?

A few of the things I liked about this story:
-Gaia, the heroine...more
Emily
Sigh. I love dystopian novels. I mean really love them. The worldbuilding is so intricate and unique, the struggles are so real, and the power of the human spirit is all over every page. I'd heard great things about this book before it was picked as a May Blog With Bite selection; pretty much across the board, the book didn't really live up to my expectations. Set phasers to stun, then, and read on.

Birthmarked took a long time to get going. I was totally okay with there being a lot of lead in be...more
Nat Smith
So, I liked the story-telling. fast-paced, interesting dystopia, blah blah blah. What I liked: the explanations of and general take on a post-apocalyptic future where genetic diversity is essential and a reason for the control of people both inside and outside of a barrier, combined with a slight mention of natural medicine and a focus on reproductive rights.

What I didn't like: the complete refusal of the author to do more than describe and/or explain away class and disAbility inequities, or sa...more
papalbina
I stayed away for this book for a long time based on stupid suppositions. One was the ugly cover, the other a deja-vú feeling haunting me telling that I've already read the book. Because of that I started the book with low expectations. Funny that the expectations and what I got don't have anything in common :P

One of the strong points in this book is the main character. Gaia may be innocent and naive but she's strong-minded edging stubbornness, and brave, a bit too light-headed, if you think she...more
LH Johnson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Milly
I actually enjoyed this book despite the mix reviews it garnered. It helped that I had no preconceived notions or expectations upon reading it. I found the premise and the plot intriguing and refreshing as I've never encountered any dystopian book with the same themes especially with regards to the codes and cryptology in this book. I love mystery and code breaking and I felt that the codes in this book, though not as sophisticated and intricate as the ones in the DaVinci Code, were interesting...more
Ela
Feb 24, 2012 Ela marked it as to-be-read-again  ·  review of another edition


Darn library, taking my book before I had a chance to finish it again! Three weeks just isn't enough to read a book. Especially when a book that I've been waiting for a whole year is lying around (Hallowed), and when English homework requires another book to be read (Looking for Alibrandi). Bleh. Well. You shall be finished soon, Birthmarked....
Shelli
I would give this 2.5 stars. It wasn't terrible and would probably appeal and be good for a younger audience.
For me however, I seriously wasn't even very interested until page 180! This book fit a spot in a challenge, so I was determined to finish. I started out with the audio, and the narrator did a big injustice to an already slow moving storyline. The main character was supposed to be a strong resourceful heroine but the narrator made her seem timid and flat. Her voice inflections were off an...more
Hayden Casey
I'm having a very hard time deciding whether or not this book is dystopian. It certainly has the foundations of it: a misguided government, the Wall (because every dystopian has some to have some inanimate object capitalized), etc.

I had a smooth start with Birthmarked. The opening scene shoved me straight into the action, and I got a glimpse at how screwed up the world actually was. Gaia was mildly likeable; I certainly didn't have a problem with her. The way O'Brien crafted the society was inte...more
Eleni ( La Femme Readers )
Holy cannoli! *Bowing down to Caragh* Birthmarked, was a beautifully written dystopian novel. I was stunned with her exquisite words and plot. The world she created was realistic and creative. I wouldn't be surprised if 400 years from now the enclave starts existing. Gaia and her mother were midwives. Each month they served the enclave by handing over the first three newborns. These babies were taken into an environment where education was valued, healthy living, and the chance to pro-create wit...more
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Caragh M. O'Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O'Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels. For more information, visit http://www.caraghobrien.com.
More about Caragh M. O'Brien...
Prized (Birthmarked, #2) Promised (Birthmarked, #3) Tortured (Birthmarked, #1.5) Ruled (Birthmarked, #2.5) Birthmarked: Chapters 1-5

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“There are some things, once they are done, that we can never question, because if we did, we wouldn't be able to go on. And we have to go on, every single day.” 126 likes
“Even the worst feeling, with time and familiarity, became tolerable.” 60 likes
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