Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
384 pgs.
Target audience: Young adult
Rating: Dragon

Genetically engineered perfection proves disastrous in Wither by Lauren DeStefano, a new addition to young adult dystopian fiction. Their success in creating a disease free and practically immortal humanity accidentally introduces a virus into human DNA. As a result all women live only to age twenty and men to age twenty-five. Panic, poverty and despair reign as girls as young as thirteen are farmed out to be married and turned into baby producing machines in a desperate attempt to preserve the human race. Rhine, kidnapped from her home which she shares with her brother, is sold into a polygamous marriage to a rich man, Linden. She and her sister wives, Cecily and Jenna, are trapped in a fancy prison-like mansion where they're expected to perform their new duties with enthusiasm while outside the rest of the world is trapped in poverty, crime and death. Their marriage is deemed necessary because Linden's father is a scientist bent on discovering a cure for the virus and he needs subjects. Eager to escape and reunite with her brother, Rhine befriends one of the mansion's staff and together they uncover some alarming secrets behind the experiments done in the name of science in the dank and dismal basement forbidden to all but Linden's father. This was truly a gripping book, I could not put it down. A compelling start to the Chemical Garden Trilogy. Fans of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Bumped by Megan Mccafferty and Eve by Anna Carey will eat this book up.

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