Thursday, April 07, 2011

XVI (YA)

XVI. Julia Karr. 2011. Penguin. 272 pages.

"Nina, look." Sandy jabbed me in the ribs.

XVI is a new dystopian novel. I love dystopian novels, usually. But I wasn't loving this one. I didn't connect to the characters. I didn't believe the romance. I failed to connect with the story, with this new world Karr created.

Nina Oberon is the star of this one. Her best friend, Sandy, is unbelievably annoying--though still a few weeks from her sixteenth birthday, she's acting like a sex-teen already. In other words, she's stopped thinking and has bought into the media's belief system completely. Why is Nina best friends with Sandy? Well, it's hard for readers to know for sure. I can only assume that a few years ago, Sandy, had to be less annoying and more likable.

Nina also has a younger sister, Dee. Since their mother is murdered fairly early in the novel, it becomes Nina's responsibility to protect Dee from her father, Ed. So Nina's life is getting crazier by the day, and trying to make sense of her life, her world, what everything means, well, it could be a full time job. Nina does make a few new friends, friends that are actually capable of thinking, to help her in this difficult time, this dangerous time.

One of these new friends is a guy named Sal. Though Nina is convinced she is not ready for a boyfriend, she can't help wanting Sal in her life. She can't stop thinking about him, wanting him, needing him. Will Sal help her solve some of the big mysteries in her life? Will Sal help keep her safe?

So why didn't I love this one? Why didn't I like it? Why didn't I like Nina and Sal? I'm not sure. It just felt a little lacking. I just felt disappointed with it. It could be just bad timing. You may love this one. (I hope you do enjoy it more than I did.)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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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.

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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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