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XVI Paperback – January 6, 2011
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In 2150 Chicago, girls are walking billboards. Upon turning 16, they receive government-issued tattoos on their wrists that read “XVI.” They’re supposed to keep the girls safe, but in reality, the tattoos broadcast their brand-new sexual availability. As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Nina is increasingly disturbed by her best friend’s obsession with becoming the ideal “sex-teen” and entering the Female Liaison Specialist (FeLs) service, the only option for women from the lower tiers to move up the social ladder. Meanwhile, Nina works hard to uncover the mystery her dead mother left behind, a secret that could end the entire FeLs program. In her unsettling debut, Karr depicts a sex-obsessed future where women are the perpetual victims of predatory marketing, and other societal ills seen in our present—families trapped in the welfare system, pharmaceutical companies in bed with health-care providers and the media—have been taken to terrifying ends. At times the message goes overboard, but there’s no doubt this well-written, accessible sci-fi thriller will provoke discussion. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones
Gender politics and sexual awareness play prominent roles in Karr's thought-provoking dystopian debut, set in a totalitarian future. A solid, enjoyable story. Ages 14 up. --Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
Nina's mom is attacked. On her deathbed she lets loose a revelation that Nina is compelled to investigate. Family secrets and a community of nonconformists unfold. Nina has to protect herself, her little sister and her friends from her violent stepfather, who has an inkling of what her mother was hiding.
XVI is an amazing debut, suspenseful dystopian fiction at its finest. Even though there was a resolution, I found it to be a bit open-ended. I was so caught up with Nina and the other characters that I hope to read about them again.
Most girls buy into the Media hype that turning sex-teen is "ultra." It's hard not to when the Media, from an early age, bombards them with the message that they want to be surrounded by boys who desire them and that having this tattoo equals freedom.
Most girls cannot wait for their tattoo to proudly display the fact that they are of legal age. Not Nina Oberon. Not only does she not want to be branded, she doesn't even want to have sex. And the idea of being marked does not make her feel even remotely close to free.
When Nina's mother is stabbed and left for dead, she questions whether the attack was random. And when she finds out that her mother has been keeping secrets, Nina is dead set on finding answers.
In a society where your every move is tracked, your conversations monitored and free thinking is not allowed, searching for answers can be risky, even deadly. And as Nina uncovers truths that her mother has kept hidden from her, will they put her in even more jeopardy?
XVI is author Julia Karr's debut novel of a dystopian society set in 2150. Although futuristic, it is not outlandish to think that with the natural progression of our current society that the vision of the future the author created is a very real possibility.
In XVI, government control has escalated, class systems or "tiers" have been set up as yet another form of regulation, the Media has gotten much more powerful and influential, freedom of thought is discouraged and girls are being treated as second-class citizens while athletes are treated like royalty. Very believable and all within the realm of possibility.
XVI is an engaging, effortless and often humorous read. There are a number of original ideas, but it is the characters in this story that distinguish it from other books in the genre.
The three female main characters have very diverse personalities that work well in this story - Sandy, the media-seduced, flighty sex-teen on one end of the spectrum, and Wei, strong, independent and free-spirited on the other, with Nina, our heroine, somewhere in between, creating the balance.
Nina's mother Ginnie, while not present for most of the story, has great presence throughout. We see her character through Nina's eyes as she looks for answers and in Nina herself as she has been raised to not take everything at face value and to think for herself.
Add in the rebellious Sal, Nina's lovable grandmother and her cantankerous grandfather, and you have a wonderful new set of characters to fall in love with.
This story does not end in a cliffhanger, but there are so very many questions left to be answered in the sequel.
Most recent customer reviews
Plot: The biggest reason I decided to give this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because of the...Read more