Kelly's Reviews > XVI

XVI by Julia Karr
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's review
Mar 14, 2011

it was ok
Read in March, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I really don't know how to feel about this book. I think that the premise is excellent, but there was far too little in terms of explaination, and way too much foreshadowing.

Nina is on the verge of turning sixteen, which means she will be tattooed with an XVI to show that she is legal and available for sex with any male who wants her. Nina is understandably apprehensive, but she tries to hide it because all girls in the future are supposed to LOVE being sluts - the constant media advertising being blared everywhere tells them so. How society got to believing that women are sex-bots and silence is illegal - Never explained.

Nina is also apparently "Low Tier" - aka "poor" - and one of the few ways out of a low teir is to be Chosen for the FeLS program. Nina's best friend Sandy is desperate to be chosen. What, exactly FeLS is, is not explained until nearly halfway through the book. By that time, we are certain that FeLS is not a good thing to join, but somehow Nina never actually gets around to telling her "best friend" this. Nor does she ever mention that her mother's government boyfriend is an abusive jerk, which is odd because her best friend BEGS Nina to put in a good word with him every time they see each other. Also, Nina's mother buys out her FeLS contract, but Nina is still worried about "someone stealing it." FORESHADOWING, anyone? Actually, since they mention SEVERAL TIMES that FeLS girls have to be VIRGINS, Nina could have just lost her V-card to her boyfriend and been done with it, but that would have been too easy, right?

Another small FeLS note that irritates me - There was ONE LINE that mentions that instead of fossil fuels, people now use some stuff mined from Mars as fuel. That's all. But apparently, FeLS girls are sent to Mars to be used by the miners there (after the government officials deflower them, of course) and many of them end up getting a virus that the miners have that keeps them from being able to return to earth. WTF? Where did the miners and the virus come from?!? What happens when you get the virus? NO EXPLAINATION.

Three-quarters of the way through the book, I was still confused by all the acronyms, the verts, trannies, and everything else that SHOULD have been explained, but wasn't.

The rest of the book is basically Nina running from a green car and acting like an idiot at every possible opportunity. (Oh, Wei's parents offer you a place to keep the super-important item safe? Nahhhh....)

If this turns into a series, I would really like to suggest a prequel. I found the stories about Nina's parents to be MUCH more interesting than anything Nina did.

Overall, the premise was interesting but the book was a difficult read. If you can look past the confusion of the acronyms (and the fact that NOTHING is explained) XVI is definitely a solid addition to the ever-growing teen dystopian genre.
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