Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world-even the most predatory of men-that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past-one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer. (from GoodReads)
When XVI was first released, I thought it sounded really interesting and had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the execution did not live up to my expectations. That and some plotting issues constituted my main problems with XVI.
Honestly, there were way too many things going on in XVI. To give you a taste of the overwhelming amount of subplots of this dystopia, I shall make a list: there's the normal government control found in most dystopias, XVI tattoo designating age of consent, an underground resistence, extreme capitalistic/consumeristic values, caste system, and a whole array of new words for simple things like TV and cars. When I first started XVI I was very confused because there were all these new words and then the dystopia was really trying to overreach itself.
Specific things I had issues with include the XVI tattoo because I wasn't really sure what the point of it was. What society would promote rape? I thought that should be explored further and more background was needed to explain how that began. Another thing that confused me was the tier system. There's ten tiers and supposedly limited class mobility, yet Nina has friends from all tiers. The author made it seem like such a big deal but apparently it's not? That's why I didn't think XVI was executed very well; it seems the author had all these ideas and tried to mash them into one book when they could have been their own stories on their own.
As I got used to the crazy words and the new society a bit, I started to enjoy XVI more. It's not an awful book, just one that lacks planning. I might consider reading the sequel, because I want to know what happens to Nina, but I'll have to wait to read some reviews first.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.