Thursday, April 07, 2011


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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