Series: XVI #1
Published by Puffin/Speak on January 6, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Every girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen.
Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.
Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past.
But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure...
For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet
I read this book in 2012, before I had started blogging. It was part of my very first reading challenge, the A-Z challenge (where you read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet) and if I’m honest, it’s what really started me on the road to blogging, as it was the first time I was regularly reviewing books on Good Reads. This was my “X” book; not the most detailed review, but check it out!
“Everyone knows what’s expected of a girl when she turns sixteen. They don’t call it ‘sex-teen’ for nothing. We’re all supposed to be so excited about sex and willing to do whatever with practically any guy who asks.” (23).
There were parts of XVI that were tough to read due to the topic of the book. Set in a dystopian future, XVI follows the story of fifteen year old Nina, who is dreading her 16th birthday. Once girls turn 16, they get a tattoo of “XVI” on their wrist, pretty much marking them as legally “open for business”. There are no ramifications for rape, or any other crime for that matter, as the Governing Council passes this off as ‘typical sex-teen behavior’. As horrible and unlikely as that sounds, it’s not completely improbable. I think part of why the rating on GoodReads is fairly low for this book is because it is definitely pushing an agenda that most teenagers (the target audience) are tired of hearing (although, honestly, they haven’t really been listening). I didn’t even really think it was so conservative: Nina ends up with a boyfriend, and although she certainly isn’t ready for sex now (partly because she doesn’t want to be a typical 16), she certainly entertains the idea. So I’m still sort of confused as to why that is such of big part of people’s negative reviews.
Anyway, mini-plot summary: After a horrible tragedy strikes, Nina and her younger sister Dee, now orphaned, go to live with their grandparents. But abusive, psychotic Ed, their late mother’s boyfriend, is after both of them, although Nina’s not sure of his motivation. Nina just wants to avoid getting chosen for FeLS (Female Liaison Specialists), which is rumored to be more nefarious than the government makes it out to be. And just before her mother died, she told Nina that her father was alive. Now Nina is racing against the clock to figure out the mystery left behind by her parents before she reaches her 16th birthday.
So, not my favorite, but definitely an interesting, engaging read. Much better than I was expecting.