Thursday, June 03, 2010

Birthmarked (YA)


Birthmarked. Caragh M. O'Brien. 2010. March 2010. Roaring Brook Press. 368 pages.

In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia's ready hands.

Gaia is a young woman training to be a midwife just like her mother before her. When Birthmarked opens, Gaia is attending her first birth. For the first time, she'll be the midwife--not just the apprentice. What Gaia doesn't know is that at the very time she's attending this birth, her parents are being arrested by the Enclave. When she returns home, when she learns this truth, her life is forever changed.

Birthmarked is an emotional read. Or at least I found it to be so! In the first chapter, Gaia helps a woman deliver a baby--a girl--only to take that baby away from its distraught mother. This newborn babe will never know its mother, for she is one of the babies being "advanced" that month. Gaia sees this as just the way things are. Some babies are advanced, others aren't. It's just a given that a couple will lose some of its children to the Enclave. They should just be grateful, right? Because life in the Enclave is better than life on the outside, right? That's how it appears on the Tvaltar anyway. And what reason would the Enclave have for lying?

After Gaia learns of the arrest, she's in a vulnerable position. She's forced into questioning everything. She has to reflect on her life--on her past, on everything she knows about her parents--and to begin contemplating her future. Should she continue to serve the Enclave? Should she continue to hand over babies even if the monthly quota goes up? Should she cooperate with the Enclave? Even if it means incriminating her parents?

I am fascinated by futuristic books, dystopias especially. I enjoyed this one. I would recommend it!

Other reviews: Presenting Lenore, There's A Book, What Book Is That?, Reading Rocks, Steph Su Reads, The Reading Zone, Kids Lit, One Librarian's Book Reviews, Bloggin' Bout Books.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Janssen 12:52 PM  

So glad you enjoyed this one! I really liked it too!

Marce 8:24 AM  

I tried Uglies as my first dystopia book and didn't really enjoy it so don't think I will go for this genre.

I have an award for you.

http://teawithmarce.blogspot.com/2010/06/awards-awards-awards-thank-you.html

Brandy 2:14 PM  

I liked this one, too! I'm about to start Prized. The second in the series.

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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