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Home » Authors, Doll Desilula, Lauren DeStefano, Reviewers, Reviews

Tween Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Submitted by on May 14, 2011 – 7:00 am4 Comments

Post Written by Doll Desilula

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Book: Wither
Release: March 22, 2011
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy 1
Source: Simon & Schuster
Purchase: – Book Depository

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out

This is the most interesting book I have read in a while. Sure, I’ve read good books that I have loved, but this story was deeper and darker than others I’ve read lately. I’d say that WITHER impacted me in ways similar to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins-not because they are so much alike as far as storylines go, but because of the emotions both books conjured inside of me.

I read this book in one sitting-most likely biting my lip while letting the story penetrate my thoughts all the while my hands grasping the cover so tightly my palms were sweaty and knuckles white. It was so mentally intense for me. The subject matter is not a romantic one and the issues addressed in the story are hard to fathom yet, at the same time I believed the scenario full heartily.

From the very beginning readers are witness to the actions that have become everyday occurrences in the world the author writes. The world’s (future America’s) vain attempts to play God and create a super human race has backfired and doomed the next generations to short lifespans. Very short. Some people are trying to fix the genetic glitch but in order to do so they need more test subjects. What this means is that wealthy families with money and sons turn to plural marriages. The boy weds multiple girls and has children with them providing scientist new blood to hopefully come up with a cure for all mankind. However, polygamy isn’t even the biggest issue…the means that some of the families go to in order to get new wives for their sons are the real problem.

Pretty young girls are kidnapped and thrown into a truck with 20 or more girls and paraded in front of potential buyers then sold as wives. There is even more to this part of the story that is disturbing but I don’t want to spoil it for you, all I will say is that it reflects on an issue that the real world deals with and that is human trafficking. I applaud the author for going there in a young adult novel. It is a very real problem that more young girls and boys for that matter should be educated on and because it is a real issue it adds to the believability.

As I read Rhine’s struggle with her predicament I began to see that everything was not exactly as it seemed. The girls are treated relatively well, given first class lodging, great clothes and waited on hand and feet, it would be easy to almost forget that they were victims. In fact, I found myself sympathizing with one of the captures, Rhine’s new husband, despite some of his questionable actions. I also saw how the girls that were taken and forced to become sister wives to Linden (the boy that bought them) grew to actually care for one another. The whole thing was very moving.

However, despite the touching moments between the girls and their new husband, the fact that they were kidnapped and taken from families remained in the back of my mind. Especially when Linden’s father, a scientist, began to play a bigger, more villainous role in the story. It was quite the nail-biting, page turning story with really interesting characters. Prepare yourselves though-there is a bit of a cliffhanger.;)

I realize that this book will not be for everyone. It deals with issues that are difficult to think about, and though s-e-x isn’t actually described in the book, the fact that it takes place (with young girls) is obvious to readers and some people might be uncomfortable reading those type of actions in a story. That being said, I think this book was amazing! It made me think long after I had finished it and though it isn’t necessarily a “message” book, it inspired me to educate myself more on human trafficking in today’s world. WITHER is beautifully written and possibly the best book I will read this year, it certainly has one of the most awesome covers I have ever seen…and it’s the author’s debut work! How amazing is that?

Lauren DeStefano is an author I think I will automatically buy books by in the future. I really can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Also Reviewed By: I <3 Reading - –

Desilula is our resident "Tween" who helps give us insight to all the Young adult and children's books from the perspective of....well...a young adult. She loves to read and write and absolutely hates math! Her favorite books include classics like "Little Women" and "Alice in Wonderland", but she is hip with all the latest young adult books including her favorite, "Hunger Games"! She enjoys hanging out with friends and doing activities like swimming, skate boarding, climbing trees, and performing in plays or musicals. She plays a little piano, and a little guitar (mostly power chords;)) and has played in a band. She loves animals and plans to travel the world someday!
Doll Desi
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  • Day says:

    Really great review Desi! I agree and am very proud of you…ya done good kid;)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Desilula says:

    Thank you, thank you very much:)

    I can't wait for FEVER! Lauren DeStefano is another one of those authors that I have become an overnight fan of. She is really good at interacting with her fans on twitter and seems to be a real genuine type of person. Down to Earth and nice.

    Reply to this comment »
  • J.A. Saare says:

    I haven't read this book, but I have put it on my list. Very insightful, well written review. Kudos. Keep it up! ;)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Desilula says:

    Thank you so much! I hope you like the book!

    Reply to this comment »