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


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.

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 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).

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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.)

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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.

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