Jillian -always aspiring-'s Reviews > Prized

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
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Jul 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012-reads, amazing-storytelling, best-characters, best-endings, stories-that-challenge-me, made-me-cry, soared-above-and-beyond, stories-with-a-message, couldn-t-stop-reading-it, dystopian-worlds-hells-and-cesspits, exceeded-my-expectations, best-couples, fab-writing, forewent-sleep-to-read-it, glad-i-gave-it-a-chance, heroes-i-love-and-respect, heroines-i-love-and-or-admire, left-me-feeling-drained, love-it-for-the-characters, recommended-to-me, surprisingly-liked, swoon-worthy-book-crushes, thought-provoking, ultimate-favorites, very-nearly-heartbreaking, wish-i-could-write-a-book-like-this, wish-i-had-read-it-earlier, world-building-worth-noting, worth-every-star, wowed-me, writer-crush, writing-to-which-i-aspire
Recommended to Jillian -always aspiring- by: Pactmate (you know who you are)
Recommended for: Disillusioned dystopian and/or YA readers who want to read something deep, smart, and honest
Read on February 14, 2012

It seems fitting that I devoured Prized on Valentine's Day as if it were a box of chocolate -- but this book was so much better than chocolate to me.

I don't think a book in recent memory has made me dread or hope as much as this one did.

Prized made my heart a knotted mess, and then slowly -- painfully -- the knots began to untangle and leave me even more stricken.

This book and its predecessor Birthmarked are so much more than run-of-the-mill YA dystopian novels. They are rife with important topics (and even some criticisms): the merit of choice for women, their bodies, and their love lives; the shades of sexism that can lead to one sex dominating over the other; and the truth that difficult circumstances ultimately try who you are, what you believe, and who you will become.

I love Gaia, the heroine, for being a confused sixteen-year-old who is still more sensible, honest, and free-willed than most heroines in YA today.

I love Leon, the hero, for not being the "perfect guy," the be-all-and-end-all for Gaia. He has deep layers and dark shades, but he is not the "bad boy" stereotype many of us have come to loathe.

I love that their romance is sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, yet always passionate.

I love the story for speaking out about so many important things in quiet and subtle ways.

And I love Caragh O'Brien for giving me these books that I'll want to devour again and again. Please keep challenging me, making me ponder, making me fall in love with your characters in both their good moments and their bad. You even have permission to break my heart with your words and your characters (as you did with this installment), so long as you offer enough hope for me to piece my heart back together again.

I wait with an anxious (and dread- and hope-filled) heart for the third book, Promised, and can only hope that the characters I have come to love will reach the places they need to be.
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Quotes Jillian -always aspiring- Liked

Caragh M. O'Brien
“You make me sound like some kind of moral freak."

The Matrarc's eyebrows lifted slightly. "Isn't that what you are?”
Caragh M. O'Brien, Prized

Caragh M. O'Brien
“What boy could resist you?"
"Will's hardly a boy."
"Don't give me that. He's a boy playing a game," Norris said. "The oldest game there is.”
Caragh M. O'Brien, Prized

Caragh M. O'Brien
“You look like a decent young man."
Leon didn't smile. "I'm not.”
Caragh M. O'Brien, Prized

Caragh M. O'Brien
“It isn't always easy between us. I admit that. But it's right between us, always.”
Caragh M. O'Brien, Prized

Reading Progress

04/02/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Reynje (new) - added it

Reynje Great review, Jillian. I really like this series too - and very much agree with your last paragraph :)

Kendall [Kenny] I am so glad you liked them, love. Seriously, impossibly happy.

message 3: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole "Prized made my heart a knotted mess, and then slowly -- painfully -- the knots began to untangle and leave me even more stricken."

Yes. Yes. Yes. I loved this book for that exact reason.

message 4: by Shawyon (new)

Shawyon Shirazi This book is absolutely amazing. I found the romance in this book to be a big part of the plot. This "love square" was very interesting. Gaia had feelings for Will, Peter, and Leon, and at the end, she chooses Leon, even though it didn't seem as though she was going to choose him. Also, Caragh O'Brien did incorporate many views into this book, one of them being abortion. Although the word "abortion" wasn't used, it issue between Gaia and the Matrarc was abortion. Gaia with her pro-choice mentality, like when she helped out Peony with her abortion, and the Matrarc's pro-life mentality kind of brought up an issue about abortions, which in my opinion should stay out of books, so it could focus on more of the story than political views.

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