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Grade 7–10—In a dystopian world of the future, apprentice midwife Gaia, who has served the Enclave faithfully along with her parents, is thrust suddenly into a crisis. She delivers her first baby independently of her midwife mother and takes it to the Enclave inside the Wall as the first of her monthly quota of three newborns. Then her parents are arrested and she learns that they will soon be executed. Gaia springs into action and smuggles herself into the Enclave to rescue them. What follows is an exciting, almost breakneck adventure, as Gaia tries to discover what information the Enclave wants from her and her mother and tries to save both of them from prison. Along the way there is a mildly romantic turn to the story as Gaia develops a friendship and attraction to one of the soldiers, a man with a mysterious past. This world is one in which a small society, composed of an elite inside the Wall and a subservient class outside, is completely cut off from knowledge of anyone or anything outside of its borders. The rulers are authoritarian and mysterious and resemble a monarchy rather than the strictly ideological communitarian system in Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993). The cliff-hanger ending sets up the action for a sequel. Readers who enjoy adventures with a strong heroine standing up to authority against the odds will enjoy this compelling tale.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s been 300 years since Lake Michigan became Unlake Michigan; the “cool age” is only hazily known to residents of Wharfton, a small village that sits alongside the walled city of the Enclave. Gaia is 16 and works in Western Sector Three with her mother delivering babies, “advancing” the first three per month to live a better life inside the city. It’s a wrenching routine Gaia doesn’t question until her parents are mysteriously arrested by Enclave authorities. Gaia’s rescue attempt is fraught with peril—the burn scar on her face marks her as a “freak” who would never be allowed into the Enclave’s exclusive gene pool—and soon she herself is tossed into a cell with other female physicians. Although the setup suggests speculative fiction, O’Brien’s concerns are corporeal; her impulsive and spirited heroine (who even resists, yes, romance) is the kind readers adore. The facts behind inbreeding and the numerous birthing scenes will give this an added appeal to science-minded teens. Continual revelations push this toward an ending that hints at more to come. Grades 9-12. --Daniel KrausSee all Editorial Reviews
Birthmarked wasn't bad it was just slow and hard to stay with. I did enjoy the multitude of unusual words that I had to look up because I had never seen them before. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Amanda H Gillespie
I am obsessed! What a great book. Hoping they will make a movie!Published 1 month ago by Jordan Haris
The book started out interesting, but once she breached the wall it became increasingly boring to the degree that when I got to the climax I and was too bored to continue.Published 2 months ago by M. Tolles
I really liked this book. It is set in the future where we are left with an earth that is barely habitable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by steamy book momma
I am an adult who enjoys YA dystopian series. So far I am enjoying this one.Published 3 months ago by Margaret Richards
This is an amazing book. The plot is intricate, exciting, fast moving and futuristic. The characters are so real that you feel like you know them personally. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kim Hoyt McGennis
In a future where the world has been baked dry and the Great Lakes are empty craters, sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone's world is divided by the walls of the Enclave. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Miss Print