Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)
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Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  64,539 ratings  ·  6,781 reviews
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty h...more
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Entwined by Heather DixonWither by Lauren DeStefanoUnearthly by Cynthia HandAcross the Universe by Beth RevisDarkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Beautiful Book Covers of 2011
2nd out of 638 books — 4,238 voters
Wither by Lauren DeStefanoEntwined by Heather DixonSilence by Becca FitzpatrickDie for Me by Amy PlumAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Best Book Covers 2011
1st out of 718 books — 3,076 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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As seen on The Readventurer

Oh boy, do I have problems with this new crop of YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic lit! I am starting to think that the authors who attempt to explore this genre have no understanding of what it takes to write such books. Just making up some new horrible way people are treated in a future society and adding in some angsty love triangle isn't enough!

I don't want to sound too lectur-y, but these new, young writers probably do not realize that to create a dystopian/post-apoc...more
so this is the handmaid's tale for kids. with some new details for the modern set. premise: world is basically over. only north america survives, but barely - like one step better than the road. due to genetic manipulation and subsequent oopses, there are considerably lower life expectancies: girls live to be twenty, boys to twenty-five. then - coughing, blood, expiration.

so, to keep the population going, and to provide new babies to experiment with, many young girls are kidnapped and sold into...more
Let me start by saying that I know numerous people who liked or loved this book, and that I see why someone would and I mean no disrespect to your opinions. You have, in general, written very eloquent, expressive reviews describing why you liked it and I have read and enjoyed those reviews. I'm not here to step on anyone's toes.

Except maybe Lauren DeStefano's, because I didn't like this book.

Wither fans, I might be mean after this point. You've been warned.

The basic concept of this book is bulls...more
Jan 17, 2011 Sparrow rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Scott Westerfeld fans
This book makes so little sense that it was almost painful to read. Admittedly, I finished Blood Red Road about two seconds before I picked this one up, and it has the same basic premise, but is one of the best books I’ve ever read. They are both post-apocalyptic and about twins cruelly separated, trying to find each other. I wasn’t going to mention the twin thing because of karen’s unreasonable prejudice, but I’m kind of okay with people being prejudiced against this book because it sucks. Not...more
My grandmother was twelve when she got married. Fourteen when she gave birth to her first child. By the time she was thirty, she had given birth to seven children.

I'm telling you this to give you a little perspective on where I'm coming from. A culture where child brides are not so far in the past that we can't see their faces. A social order where things we can't imagine today were not only accepted, but natural. Indian mythology is filled with stories of polygamy — a king with three wives, a...more
Gina Denny
***EDIT: This was not in my original review, and while I did say it on my blog, twitter and several other bookish communities, I think it ought to go here as well: Lauren DeStefano is actually a very talented writer. She has the enviable ability to create beautiful sentences, and to turn those beautiful sentences into evocative and atmospheric paragraphs, even pages. Simply put: she has a way with words. I look forward to the day she writes something else, NOT related to this book, very much. I...more
Kat Kennedy
After a great deal of reflection, I can't shake off the fondness I had for this novel. For me it had a deep, rich, intoxicating quality that I don't often read in Young Adult novels and has become an increasing rarity for me.

Many reviews make a deal of the problems associated with the implausible premise. If you think that’s going to bother you then you’re best to steer clear of this one. As for me, unbelievable characters or plot holes will ruin my reading experience but I’ve never necessarily...more
Dec 03, 2013 Donna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: lulz
I'm not a chick that falls easily into hype but sometimes it can be hard to avoid, like with this book. It seems like EVERYONE absolutely LOVES this book. I have not come across one blogger saying anything to the contrary. Of course I could be missing a few but those that I do wander across, love. I had to wade into Goodreads reviews to find black sheep like myself that found serious fundamental issues with this story on multiple levels. Did I buy into the hype initially? To an extent. Books get...more
Wendy Darling
The concept of a society in which girls are forced into polygamous marriages may not be everyone's idea of a good time, but I like art that pushes boundaries or attempts to explore unusual subjects in a meaningful way. Besides, the cover is gorgeous! And on the set decoration front, Wither is a novel that seductively beckons the reader with alluring images and positively drips with atmosphere. Languid young women wander around a mansion in lacy gowns waiting to be impregnated by their joint husb...more
Emily May

Surprisingly, the worst thing for me about Wither was the boredom I experienced trying to finish it. I had previously been warned that the dystopia made little sense and didn't contain a particularly relevant message to society - unless you count trying to scare the hell out of teenage girls who may have otherwise carelessly become pregnant! But again, I'm not sure what point (if any) Lauren DeStefano was trying to make. Though that wasn't the biggest problem.

Divergent had no political or socia...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
On the first few pages of Wither, the author revealed to me, kidnapping.

On the next few pages of Wither, the author revealed to me, kidnapping and sleeping gas.

Further, in the pages of Wither, the author revealed to me, kidnapping, sleeping gas, and indentured servitude.

Deeper into the pages of Wither, the author revealed to me, kidnapping, sleeping gas, indentured servitude, and Polygamy.

Not even reaching ¼ of the way through the pages of Wither, the author revealed to me, kidnapping, sleeping...more
Aug 07, 2012 Arlene rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Arlene by: Publisher Review Request...
This is going to be one of my rare exceptions where I’m giving a generous star rating to a book that had me simultaneously cringe, confused and connected all at the same time.

My mixed feelings for Wither apparently correspond with the wide range of reactions I’ve seen for this novel. But either way, I’ll admit now that I’m moving on to the sequel, not because I was offered to read the ARC… well not solely, but I’m really interested to see how this story unfolds and hopefully comes together.

In W...more
Steph Sinclair
I sort of went back and forth on the rating for this book. I couldn't decide to give it 3 or 4 stars. In the end I decided on 4 because this book did keep me up till around 2am. So, fora book to do that to me when I know full well I have to wake up super early with my kids, it pretty much earned those 4 stars.

Let me start by saying I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. In fact, I was kind of ignoring it as it sat on my shelf collecting dust. I wasn't sure how I felt about the whole...more
Morgan F
I knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been getting. Honestly, I would have read this book for the cover alone. God, that is some gorgeous cover art. And I was prepared to hate this book. I thought it was going to be a book with a pretty cover, titillating premise (OMGzzz polygamy!), but with no substance. Overall, Wither exceed my expectations.

Let's start out with the bad things.

The world building...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
If this book were to be judged by its cover and package alone, it would be very gush-worthy -- but, alas, books are not meant to be judged by their covers but by the stories waiting inside.

What's my verdict? Well. . .this book left me feeling very conflicted. I just don't know what to think.

Now, I was really worried to start this book. You know that reality show, Sister Wives? As much as I believe in 'to each his own,' I just am not down with polygamy, and that little family (one husband with fo...more
I’ve never read such science fail in a book, ever. You know, the first thing before you write your book is to do a lot of research on the area/subject you’re writing on and to make sure that all the rules and conventions of the world you set up are logical and plausible. This is given a lot more leeway if the story is set in an alternate world (ie: fantasy) but since this is not and based after a post-apocalyptic/dystopian reality of our own world, everything falls apart.

First of all, if the ice...more
Alana Kelly
I had a lot of issues with this book from the start. For one, dystopia works because it reflects the scary possibility of horrible things to come. Even if the reader doesn't believe their world could ever turn into the author's vision, there is still a believability that all good dystopians have. Do I think I will ever live to see something like 1984 come to fruition? Of course not. But as a reader I can understand how it could happen. How fear and want for safety can convince people into giving...more
Aug 07, 2010 Brittany marked it as to-read
how does linden still have a father if men die at 25?
For such a 'scandalous' concept and for all its attempts at drama and intrigue, I found Wither to be incredibly boring.

I never really felt connected to Rhine, or became invested in her story--or anyone's, for that matter. For all DeStefano's attempts to make Linden a sympathetic character and, I assume, set him up as the eventual third point in the love triangle, I was completely creeped out by him. Sorry, maybe he didn't know everything his mad scientist daddy was up to, but he was still super...more
Mar 23, 2011 Cory rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Psuedo-Science
Recommended to Cory by: Eve Davids
Shelves: galleygrab
I'm not a squeamish person. Nor am I easily scared. I pride myself on being level-headed. But there were somevthings in Wither that I couldn't stomach.

I consider myself to be a somewhat liberal person, with a few exceptions--for example, I believe in capital punishment and lex talionis under special circumstances.

However, I wasn't able to accept the relationship between Linden and Cecily. He's a good guy that I'm supposed to sympathize with, yet he sleeps with a kid? No thank you.

I know, I kn...more
Komal Mikaelson
I hate the colour grey.
I absolutely loathe it.
I hate that it is undefined and isn't bounded by a limit. It's deeper end merges into black and on the other hand, it fades into white. It's transient and unpredictable and I hate it.

When I read novels or watch a movie, I have to have an upfront bad guy and a good guy. I need the characters to be distinct and true to their image. It makes me jittery when lines are blurred and characters are steeped in both light and dark.
No, I'm not a control freak

Lauren DeStefano is an incredibly talented writer, and her debut novel, Wither, is sure to stand out among the throngs of dystopian novels filling the shelves YA shelves, with it's unique and haunting premise and unforgettable characters.

Please do judge this book by its beautiful cover, because the pages inside are just as intriguing.

This is a perfect example of how I like my dystopian novels. DeStefano has created a vivid world one of the more disturbing world that I've encountered within the g...more
Jan 02, 2013 Lora rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of YA dystopias; those who are very open-minded; 15+
Recommended to Lora by: (indirectly) Stephanie Sinclair
3.5 stars

I started Wither fairly certain that I'd not like it. Please don't misunderstand — I never start a book thinking I'll dislike it, but choose to read it anyway for some reason; I usually avoid books that sound as if I'd be disappointed by them. In the case of Wither, I'd decided to steer clear of it because of negative reviews and because of some of the content it is said to have. And while there were things I was bothered by and things I wish could've been different, I'm pleasantly surp...more
I really don't think I'm cut out for realistic dystopia. I think I should just stick with my survival type adrenalin rush reads like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.

Without a doubt, Wither is probably one of the most powerful dystopia YA reads of 2011.
The plot is gripping, thought provoking and very distrubing. The writing, absolutely outstanding, but I just couldn't stomach the idea's in this one.
Not for me...

(Arc provided through S&S Galleygrab)
Also appears on Lissa Reads.

She broke my heart!

4.5 stars.

Contrary to just about everyone else, I don’t like this cover.

I like the model and her hair and makeup and dress, and I like the set decoration. What I don’t like is those stupid big circles around Rhine’s ring and the bird in the cage. DeStefano started out as a literary writer, and the stupid circles linking Rhine’s marriage to the caged bird is way too obvious for the subtleties of literary novels. I hate those circles. They ruin a gorg...more
Dystopian societies- we've seen all kinds. From post apocalyptic hell on earth to life in plastic (yes, this is an Aqua reference >.<). In Wither we fall somewhere in the middle. While trying to cure cancer, society has caused the next generations to die from an unknown virus at 20 years of age for girls, 25 for guys. Is this concept intriguing? Definitely! Everyone has a fear of dying. Since most YA readers are approaching, or are over the age of 20, this world can easily be terrifying wh...more
First of all I'd like to say that this book could have been four stars on writing style alone. However, I have to agree with most other reviewers and say that the world created for this dystopian story is nonsensical to the point that it gets score deduction on pure, eyebrow-raising wtfuckery.

I did really like the concept, the plot based around being kidnapped and forced to be a wife in a polygamous marriage along with two other wives (and an already existing dying first wife, for four wives in...more
Jun 11, 2012 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who can give up action for atmosphere
This isn't a book I can easily recommend to others. The ratings I've seen here are very scattered, and it seems like none of my GR friends are crazy about Wither. But what can I say, I really liked it.

So, let's just admit here that the world-building is crap. If the point of the whole polygamy thing is to increase the number of babiez, why shoot up all the rejected girls? And then what's the point of abducting these girls if their husband isn't even going to have sex with them until they want to...more
Sita Sargeant
Oct 07, 2011 Sita Sargeant rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People into dystopia or people looking for something good
Recommended to Sita by: Well, not really anyone. Kinda the cover. If that makes sense...
There have been many dystopia novels coming out in the last year or so, so it’s obvious that dystopia is a popular topic, everyone is talking about it. However, like all genres there have been flops and some really amazing ones. Wither by Lauren DeStefano is one of those amazing ones.

Sixteen-year-old Rhine is going to die in four years. But she is not the only one dying at such a young age thanks to a genetic flaw, all women die when they reach 20, and men at 25. Rhine is kidnapped, taken away f...more
Due to the large amount of reviews complaining of the lack of world building, I went into Wither expecting to be disappointed. And I pretty much was, until it occurred to me that I was approaching this book in the wrong way. As a dystopian it is a complete fail. Then it occurred to me how much Rhine's situation and constant literary fictiony musing reminded me of gothic novels. And, as a pseudo-gothic thriller it works. But, of course, it's marketed as a dystopian and on that note...

As everyone...more
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Lauren DeStefano (pronounced: de STEFF ano) is a lawn gnome enthusiast and New York Times bestselling author of some books, which you can find listed below this bio. For the first six years of her life, she thought she was a mermaid and still has her suspicions. When she isn't writing, she is often composing tweets that make as little sense as possible. They can be found here: https://twitter.com/...more
More about Lauren DeStefano...
Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1) The Seeds of Wither (The Chemical Garden #1.5) Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)

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“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 515 likes
“Fate, I think, is a thief.” 379 likes
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