Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Book Club: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Since this all started as a book club, we will be posting monthly about the book we read and each providing a quick review. We'll also let you know what our book is for the next month, so if you want to read and come back to discuss the book you can!

This month we read Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
Here's a brief, non-spoilery synopsis:
Science finally did it. The world's scientists created the perfect generation - completely free from disease. What they didn't know is that by doing this they condemned their children to brief lives followed by horrible deaths. Girls can't survive their twentieth year and boys die at twenty-five. The first generation watches their children and then their grandchildren die. Rhine Ellery has four years left and she just wants to live them in freedom with her twin brother. When she's kidnapped and forced into a polygamous marriage, Rhine is determined to escape as soon as she can. The complicated relationship between her new husband, her two sister wives, and her husband's father, Housemaster Vaughn, makes it easier to dream of escape than actually accomplish it. And then there's Gabriel, the servant she's starting to like more than is healthy. Will she spend the rest of her life trapped in the false comfort of the mansion or will she find a way to get back to her brother and the life that was stolen?

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If you want to know what book we're reading next, you can skip down to the end!

Below are our mini reviews - SPOILER WARNING! though there aren't too many specific details, we're talking about the book as though we've read it. Also be aware that the comments may also contain spoilers.

Albert - Wither uses a dystopian allegory to talk about real issues surrounding human trafficking and women's rights. I like that you slowly begin to sympathize with Rhine's husband; he is a prisoner in a different way. Inalienable freedom is a great discussion topic for young readers who may be more sheltered than they know.

Jenn N. - What intrigued me the most about this book was how, despite the horrific circumstances the girls were in, they each found their own way to cope. While this book was bleak at times, there was an undercurrent of hope throughout that led to a satisfying, but slightly too easy conclusion. Regardless, I can't wait for the next installment, Fever, in this captivating new series.

Jess B. - I really enjoyed this novel between the "forbidden" concepts to the character development. I felt that this book drew you in and never really let you go. I found myself turning each page with a new found excitements. While I wouldn't recommend it for the younger readers, I do recommend it for us adults who have a taste for young adult novels. I am quite thrilled to see what the next installment brings.

Jessica P. - I really liked the storytelling in this book. It was really easy to get into (even the backsotry) though it didn't seem appropriate for a 14-16 year old reader. Frankly some of the topics were a little too old for younger Young Adult readers. The twists and turns in it made for a good read!

Rachel - I loved this story because, while it is a young adult novel, it touched upon adult issues such as polygamy, human trafficking, and prostitution. These topics, while disturbing, give this story a level of reality that I really enjoyed. I also felt that the character development was excellent for a YA novel, and I came to care about and feel sympathy for the characters. Except Vaugn.

Rebecca T. - I loved the character development and worldbuilding in this novel. I really enjoy authors that can take characters you initially dislike and gradual build sympathy toward them. The ending was the only thing that bothered me a bit as it seemed that Rhine and Gabriel were able to leave a little too early. However, all that really did was make me speculate as to whether Housemaster Vaughn had some sort of nefarious purpose behind allowing them to leave or if Linden arranged things to make escape possible. Definitely enjoyed the book.

Have you read Wither? What did you think? Let us know in the comments

So what's up for January?
Brandon Mull's Fablehaven!
The post should be up on Thursday January 19th.

We had the amazing opportunity to have Brandon do a signing at our store, so tune in next month for pics from that event as well as our reviews of the book. Read along, if you'd like, and join the conversation!

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