Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.I think my favorite thing about futuristic novels is the worlds that they take place in. They’re different, they’re brutal, they’re almost unimaginable. XVI is another prime example of that. Sex among teenagers is such a touchy subject nowadays and with some people, it’s extremely frowned upon. The idea that sex at sixteen is sugarcoated to be something to strive for is a ridiculously ironic twist and I absolutely loved it.
There were a few things that I wasn’t crazy about; it was kind of unclear, to me at least, what the aim of the story was. Everything seemed kind of scattered. Nina’s trying to keep her little sister’s brutal and abusive and dangerous father at arms length. She’s trying to uncover her mother’s murder and seek out the father who she believed to be dead. She’s trying to reign in her feelings for Sal, a mysterious boy who takes an interest in her, because she doesn’t want to be like every other girl at her age: a sex-teen. It was a lot to digest and made for an anticlimactic ending, but it did keep me enthralled.
I don’t know if this is the first book in a series or anything, but for the very least, I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel. Karr sets up a taboo world that opens the door open for an immense amount of issues for Nina and the gang. I’d love to read more about Nina’s father, her relationship with Sal - which I would‘ve loved to see more of - and the rebellion of the Non-Cons who struggle to restore the freedom and values the world once had.
Overall, XVI is a fresh and exciting story that explores the dark side to futuristic ideas about sex and teenagers. I was immediately swept up into Julia Karr’s twisted world and I can only hope that she satiates our need for more with a sequel!
Other reviews for XVI:
The Compulsive Reader.
A Good Addiction.
Wicked Awesome Books.
Oh My Books!