Thursday, September 1, 2011

XVI by Julia Karr

(XVI #1)
by Julia Karr
Summary from Goodreads:

"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."


Wow! Definitely a book worth reading.

When I first heard of XVI I was a little skeptical about it. Being the fantasy junkie and my rave for action-packed books, I thought that this just wasn’t a book I see myself reading. But when I saw this on the shelf of a bookstore I was visiting, I felt the urge to give it a shot… and thank goodness I did!

My impression of XVI was that it would be all about sex and all things slutty, little did I know that this simple dystopian novel was actually a book that not only was about rebellion against a dictatorial government and media manipulation, but also about fighting against the growing business of teen sex trafficking.

I have to admit though; there are things that bothered me. I feel that this book lacked the explanations about how Nina’s world was, for instance, it kept mentioning “trannies” and numbers like “33” that they’re waiting for, it took me a few seconds and rereading of the certain part to realize that those were their means of transportation. I also didn’t understand the tier-based life they have. I get that the lower the number the lower their tier and lifestyle would be but how exactly did the government start that and what’s the basis of it all?

I also question their way of expressing rebellion against the government and the media. It’s said that everywhere they went there would be surveillance and their conversations where recorded all the time. But most of the time, they get to find a Dead Zone where their conversations cannot be heard or they have rare devices that can alter or disrupt the surveillance and they pretty much talk a lot about their grudges against the government. Add the fact that Sal, Nina’s love interest, admitted he was a Non-Con to all their friends and none of them seemed surprised or afraid, considering that the government was supposedly over-controlling.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering: if I liked this book how come I’m lashing out on it? Well, I’m not. I just did notice flaws but that didn’t mean I didn’t like it so I will explain why.

What got me to like this book was the strong sense of it being close to real life. It showed us the issues of the corruption of government, the unavoidable growing world of sex trafficking, the struggle for a better life, and a lot more.

I also admire Nina. Despite getting all confused with what her personality truly is, I totally empathize with her. I get her confusion, fear, and her wanting to be the one to control when she’s ready to get intimate with a guy and not be a walking object men can claim to take pleasure on anywhere, anytime.

Another thing I liked was Nina and Sal’s relationship. Yes, it’s a little shallow and I kind of didn’t get how they fell in love with each other, but I like them together. I like that Nina’s all too steadily and hidden emotions pore out whenever she’s with Sal, and that Sal has become her shoulder to cry on and that certain someone who stood by and supported her whenever she felt like giving up.

This book may’ve not been perfect, but regardless, it was beautiful and I definitely got my money’s worth.


  1. yay! so awesome to meet a fellow filipino blogger. this book sounds awesome. thanks for the wonderful review.

    and also thank you for deciding to follow us. you have a great blog. i'm a new follower too. :)


  2. Hullo there, Janus!

    Nice review and I like the lay-out of the blog and I love those rating logos you made; they're cute as well as you. ;)

    Keep up the good work!



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