Author: Julia Karr
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary (from the author's website): In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad...
My Summary: Nina Oberon is a lower-tier girl who knows what suffering is. Amidst the world of "sex-teens" - sixteen year old girls who are treated like their only purpose in life is to drop their pants for any guys who asks - Nina is just trying to get through her teen years, take care of her sister, and escape her mom's abusive boyfriend. She questions her mom's reasons for staying with Ed - a married man who brutally beats her - and why her mom left her high-paying job to work as a cashier, but every time she voices her concerns, her mother gives her a cryptic explanation and changes the subject.
Then, suddenly, on a night when her mom goes out to a 'meeting', Nina's whole life is turned upside down: her mother is stabbed and left for dead in the street for no apparent reason. She is rushed to the hospital, where she delivers a warning to Nina with her dying breath.
Armed with nothing but an old baby book and a mysterious - not to mention highly unlikely - secret, Nina must not only fight to keep her little sister from her father, but also somehow manage to deliver a secret to someone who may or may not be dead.
My Thoughts: I've been on a little bit of a dystopian-only diet lately, and I was a little reluctant to start this one at first... I'm glad I did, though! This book was awesome and angst-filled - just what I needed right now.
The book starts off with Nina and her best friend Sandy going to visit Nina's grandparents in a different city. Nina is the kind of girl who doesn't like to be noticed - especially by the creepy XVIIIs (the 18 year old guys). Her friend Sandy, on the other hand... not so much. Sandy is everything the Media says a sex-teen should be: fashionable and overly-hormonal. To be honest, Sandy was my least favourite character - every time she spoke, I couldn't help but think, "how can you be this stupid?!?!". The author intends for Sandy to annoy you that way, but I think it was made worse by the fact that Sandy reminded me of someone I know... Anyway, in this new society, sixteens are seen as nothing but sex-toys; even worse, if a girl is raped, her attackers almost always get away scott-free by swearing that the girl "wanted it". Disgusting, I know. Reading this book made me want to hold a feminist rally (seriously). The way girls were treated was appalling, but I think it was necessary in the context of the novel - it added to the repression-feeling of the world Nina was living in.
Onto the characters. I loved Sal, Derek, and Mike - they were such good guys, and I'm glad they were around. I gotta admit, I formed an attachment to these characters - they were just so likeable! Of course, some of them (Sandy, for example) made me want to slap them, but like I said before, I'm pretty sure the author intended for me to feel that way.
I also really liked the style of the novel. The chapters were relatively short, and the writing was smooth. Ed was a believable antagonist - I hated him from the moment I read about his treatment of Ginnie (Nina's mom).
Final Thoughts: I really liked it! I'll definitely be getting the sequel, and it's gunna be hard to wait, because I really want to know what happens! I think this book is worth checking out, and it definitely makes you appreciate your rights and the freedom to guard your sexuality. Be careful, though - it should only be read by older, more mature teens.