Book Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Posted August 25, 2011 by Melissa in Book Review | 10 Comments

Title:  Wither
Lauren DeStefano
Reading level: 
Young Adult

Hardcover, 358 pages
Release Date:  
March 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 
The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1
Borrowed from Library

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden‘s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden‘s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Favorite Line:

Life is much different from the days when there were lilies in my mother’s garden, and all my secrets fit into a paper cup.

My Thoughts:

This was my first venture into YA fiction since I was a teen and I was beyond surprised. The writing style was smooth and beautifully descriptive; evocative in and of itself on many levels. It certainly didn’t feel as if it was geared toward teens.

The emotional depth of this book also blew me away. The character development and the intricacy of the relationships within the book were amazing. And in my estimation, character development is 8/10ths of the battle in good storytelling. In no time at all one is drawn into Rhine’s story and into her world. The sister wives and Linden serve as strong secondary characters and are all easily believable.

I had a hard time putting this one down…it flowed so smoothly and had me so entranced that I just needed to read and read and read. My only criticism would be that the setting, the world itself was not really fully explained to my satisfaction. I am hoping that now that Rhine and Gabriel are out of the compound and in the “real world” that we’ll learn a lot more about it in the sequel Fever.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who read YA and Adult fiction alike. It’s a great mix of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and a very small smattering of Romance. My only caveat would be not to expect a Dystopia despite the hype to the contrary. DeStefano in no way paints a picture of a controlled society masked as a Utopia. This world is real and gritty and far from perfect in reality or image.

My Rating:

4.5 Stars

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10 responses to “Book Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

  1. YA fiction certainly has changed since I was a teen! I’ve reread some of the stuff that was out then and it just seems cheesy. YA these days is definitely more interesting for adults to read as well as young adults.
    I really enjoyed this book as well and I agree that we should see more of the world in the next one. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I’m glad you liked this one, I think I was in the minority and I just didn’t love it. It wasn’t the writing or the story, but I just didn’t like the world building, I thought that there were just too many holes in it.

    I hope to read more of your reviews! 😀

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