Start reading Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
Wither: The Chemical Garden Trilogy Narrated by Angela Lin $27.99 $3.99
Enter a promotion code
or gift card
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Lauren DeStefano
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $9.49
You Save: $0.50 (5%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.99 when you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.49  
Hardcover $14.04  
Paperback $9.99  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $23.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Audio, CD --  
Unknown Binding --  
"Shadow Scale" by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny? See more

Book Description

What if you knew exactly when you’d die? The first book of The Chemical Garden Trilogy.

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive: Cassandra Clare Reviews Wither

Cassandra Clare is the author of The Mortal Instruments series. The latest addition to the series is City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments, Book 4).

Lauren DeStefano’s new book, Wither, heralds the coming of a promising new voice in young adult dystopian fiction. Wither introduces us to Rhine Ellery, age sixteen, who lives in a world decimated by the results of genetic engineering. In an attempt to render humanity almost immortal and disease-free, scientists accidentally introduced into human DNA a ticking time bomb — all women live only to age twenty and men to age twenty-five. In this world, riddled with brutality and stricken with poverty, girls are married off as young as thirteen and forced to bear children in a desperate attempt to keep humanity ahead of the wave of disease that threatens to eradicate them.

Lately readers have been seeing an influx of books handling new and old topics in a different, more female-centric way. Part parable, part warning, Wither puts women and girls at the heart of a dystopian tale mixing progress and disempowerment, science and secrecy. After being kidnapped from the home she shares with her twin brother, Rhine is "sold" to a rich man, Linden, along with two other girls, Cecily and Jenna. Their polygamous marriage is seen as necessary, for Linden’s father is a scientist trying to find a cure for the "virus" that strikes down youth, and he needs new subjects for his experiments — subjects in whose DNA, he hopes, a cure can be found.

The day-to-day lives of Rhine and her sister-wives — parties, pregnancy, babies — contrasts starkly with the shadow of death that looms over every action. Even Rhine’s growing romance with a servant, Gabriel, could lead to vicious punishment for them both — as could her repeated attempts to escape her gilded prison. This story, the first of a trilogy, leaves us with a glimmer of hope but no easy answers.

From Booklist

When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden's manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile, until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine's poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano's evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular. Grades 9-12. --Krista Hutley

Product Details

  • File Size: 1879 KB
  • Print Length: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,568 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Lauren DeStefano's debut novel, Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy), opens with a harrowing scene: young women have been plucked off the streets and forced into the back of a van. Some will be killed, and others will be sold into polygamous marriages. Ever since geneticists made a mistake, all women die at age 20 and all men at age 25. Along with two other women, Rhine is sold to a wealthy man as a replacement for his dying wife. Locked away in his mansion, Rhine must decide whether to accept the life of luxury she's been provided or whether to risk everything to escape back to a world of freedom and her twin brother.

WITHER opens with the best first chapter I've read in a while, and the story's hook will grab readers immediately. The book excels in its chilling depiction of the realities of Rhine's world, and the writing doesn't shy away from descriptions about sex and sexuality, the inner workings of the polygamous marriage, and how different people would adapt to the situation. Through its story, the novel also touches on hot issues like assisted reproduction and genetic engineering. Rhine and her two sister-wives, Cecily and Jenna, are sympathetic as characters in their own unique ways. I found their complicated relationships with one another to be the most compelling in the book. The novel also finishes with an ending that can stand on its own, even with the known sequel forthcoming.

Despite the extremely strong opening, storyline, and created world, the book faltered a bit. The mythology and world building regarding the "virus" and the resulting society was not always clear and had some plot holes.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
60 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The premise around this story is really interesting. Polygamy in a post-apocalyptic world? Very intriguing. I was excited when I sat down with this book.

It starts out well, and the horror and fear rippling through the girls is tangible. I started out liking Rhine a lot, and empathized with all three girls as they were forced into a marriage that they didn't necessarily want or understand. I really love the friendships that blossom between them, too. By the end of the story, they were close enough to be sisters, and something that affects one of them affects all. That was really well done.

I wish the world-building had been clearer. What is this virus? Why is North America the only continent left? Even if we don't get the full answer, something is better than nothing. Also, if the human race is dying, then a woman's womb would be a very precious commodity. Girls with no means would be lining up to have babies in exchange for room and board. There wouldn't be a need for Gatherers. If anything, there would be so much competition to get pregnant that the wealthy would be able to pick and choose and run any kind of genetic test they want in order to narrow down the list. The Gatherers would only be needed for dangerous or fatal medical testing--the kind no one would volunteer for. These are all very interesting concepts that I hope are explored in future books.

As the story progressed, I had a lot of difficulty with Rhine. She goes on and on about being free, and, at first, that makes sense. But then we learn more about how Linden's house works, and that Vaughn is the real villain. It's made clear that Rhine will never be harmed because she's too valuable, even though others aren't so lucky. Her reaction to this is to run away instead of trying to help.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING STORYTELLING February 24, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Every now and then, I try reading a new author and hit pay dirt. This was definitely one of those times. This book keep me turning pages until the end and I don't think it gets any better then that when reading.

The opening quote by T.S. Eliot ("This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper.") is a very fitting start to this story of a dystopian future. A future that is not so far away and could happen. The first paragraph is chilling and the author certainly has a way with words ("They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids"). Seventy years ago, scientists engineered super embryos that became favored over the old fashioned method of having your own. This was done to help society as the population was decimated by cancer but of course there was a price to pay. The first generation of super embryos were fine but all of their offspring have a life expectancy of 20 (females) to 25 (males). Science running amuck is nothing new and has been done plenty of times before (Logan's Run) but this author succeeds in making it fresh. Our heroine's world is much darker than any Hollywood movie.

I liked how the characters and situations in this story were not simply good or bad but various shades of grey. Housemaster Vaughn is a villain but the purpose behind his horrific acts is to find a cure, an ends justifies the means kind of guy. Even though Rhine was forced to become part of a polygamous lifestyle, she uses Linden to make her own life more comfortable. It was interesting to see how inner morals either bend or break when survival is at stake.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book wasn't in as good of shape as I thought it was going to ...
Book wasn't in as good of shape as I thought it was going to be... Its very rough but still readable so happy with it.
Published 9 days ago by Beth Adams
1.0 out of 5 stars Meh....
Hard to stay interested.... What should have been an interesting book dragged on and on and on and on... I couldn't finish it.
Published 23 days ago by MtP
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 23 days ago by Tori
3.0 out of 5 stars A really lame heroine who wasn't very heroic or believable...
The idea behind the book was great, I was really intrigued by the whole world the story was set in, but unfortunately we learn less about the world and focus all our time on the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda A. Naquin
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling journey
A fiction story about a futuristic society where personal liberty and self determination are taken. If children only lived to 20, is it right to hold them for breeding and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Very good book, and it really hooks you into it. The first paragraph is,

"I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose
sense of our eyelids. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Emmie ORourke
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
I usually love dystopian novels, and this one did not disappoint me! I've re-read it several times and love the world and the depth given to the main characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cindel Mason
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
gift-nothing to add
Published 2 months ago by 4248Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read due to the great writing style
Great read due to the great writing style. Very articulate and creative. Can't wait to read more. I knew within the first 2 pages that I would love it.
Published 2 months ago by C.K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic love
This is my third time reading this book it gets better every time! The beauty love and danger you develop a fondness for the characters and hope for the best
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Lauren Destefano earned her BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut in 2007. This is her first novel.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Topic From this Discussion
When is the second book coming out?
February 2012 :)
May 15, 2011 by M. Rubright |  See all 3 posts
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for Similar Items by Category