Roxy's Reviews > XVI

XVI by Julia Karr
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's review
Jan 07, 2011

did not like it
Read from May 16 to June 05, 2012

Wow. This book was so, so poorly written. There were so many problems, I'm surprised it got published this way.

First, the world building was completely terrible. All these horrible dystopian concepts were poorly explained, so much so that I'm still not clear on this whole XVI tattoo. The government mandates it for the "protection" sixteen year old girls, but really it's a sign of a free pass for guys to force girls to have sex. Or something like that. So where exactly does the government start failing to protect the people? I got the idea that girls were fairly safe without their tattoo, somehow older guys looking for sex have learned to stay away despite any interest, so... if the tattoo is for protection, what gives guys the green light to ignore that idea? I don't really get it.

Second, it's also ridiculously unbelievable that people like Nina's Gran and Pops are alive and that there's all these losses of basic rights to human beings. It's really hard to imagine that their generation would've allowed so many radical changes to happen (like the erasure of real history), it would've made more sense not to have had people of that generation around to rant about how everything's so terrible now. So many of the dystopian concepts made it very hard to suspend my disbelief. That whole Cinderella girl thing? C'mon, Karr, that was just lazy. Oh, and entirely getting rid of religion? I honestly cannot believe that any society would allow their government to get rid of religion because it caused too much conflict. Religion's been causing conflict since as far as mankind can recall. People are deeply devoted to their beliefs, there's no way a large government could be like "Look y'all, this is causing too much drama, let's just set it aside okay?"

Third, the whole thing with domestic abuse between Ginnie and Ed was handled poorly. I can't really see how the hell Ed would choose to carry on a relationship with the woman who was married to the man he wanted to track down. Stalking her and hurting her I would believe, but c'mon, it allowed her to get info on him and that whole sex slavery thing with FeLS. That's just lazy villainry. I also found it unbelievable that through all the years Ed and Ginnie were together Dee never realized Ed was beating her and so still totally loved her daddy. I say to you again, c'mon, kids aren't stupid, she would see Ginnie's bruises all the time. She'd put two and two together, any kid would. And I'll admit the whole thing about Ginnie essentially undercover felt like such a cop out, as if the author wanted to introduce the gritty topic of domestic violence but couldn't really go all the way. If you really don't know how to handle it, you should probably leave it alone.

Fourth, "trannie" makes me think of Christian Siriano.

Fifth, I hated the lazy ways in which we were told about the past. Like, "Oh of course you all know about that hurricane that wiped out that city called New Orleans back in 2025." "Oh, was that when they started looking for alternative energy sources?" "Sure is." No one talks like that! Especially not teens, and especially not a group of people who agree upon one narrative for the shared history of their society. It was just lazy exposition through dialogue, and it's one of my biggest pet peeves.

Sixth- Sandy's whole storyline. I CAN'T EVEN. The way the author portrayed her to show us just how good Nina was in contrast to Sandy, because Sandy's essentially such a slut in training. I hated, hated that a character existed to basically send the message of, "SEX IS BAD IF YOU'RE A TEEN GIRL. BAD BAD BAD. SO BAD YOU MIGHT BE MURDERED BECAUSE YOUR VALUE AS A HUMAN BEING IS BASICALLY NON-EXISTENT. I MEAN YOU WERE SO DUMB FOR WANTING ALL THAT SEX, WHAT ELSE COULD HAPPEN TO YOU IN THE END, AMIRITE?" Ugh.

Finally: My god, Dumbest Protagonist Ever. I mean just dumb, dumb, dumb. Whining about how horrible it is for anyone to want to be a sex-teen (ugh, virginity and being sexual, another topic handled horribly here) and looking down on her friend but then talking about how much she loves her, bla bla bla. Then worrying on and on about Ed getting Dee, but then leaving Dee alone or taking walks across the park by herself. There were so many times that her friends asked her, "Are you sure you don't want us to come along?" and she kept saying, "I'm fine" and then something terrible would happen. No person with an actual brain would behave like this girl did.

I will definitely not be reading the sequel. I don't see the point, this story pretty much went nowhere and I wasn't ever remotely entertained or intrigued. It was barely even good for the lulz.
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05/22/2012 page 98

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