Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

“A Handmaid's Tale for the newer generation.”

Your verdict:

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.88 out of 5)
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Title:Wither (Chemical Garden 1)
Author:DeStefano, Lauren
Publisher:SimonTeen
Pages:356

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 limted time she has left.

The how I came by my copy of Wither is a quaint little story. I was at a conference for booksellers in Oakland last October. I was on a panel explaining how bloggers and bookstores can come together to build a magical relationship. When I returned to the conference the next day, I went straight to the S&S booth on the exhibit floor where I had previously (via Twitter) confirmed that Wither would be on the table. I stood politely off to the side and stroked the finished copies of so many awesome books. I asked the sales person if I could see a copy of Wither and she said no, she gave me Elixir and gave me a be-gone look. I came back later and procured Wither from a rep who recognized me! So this review comes to you by manner of a covert book-ninja operation.

Wither is such a refreshing addition to the YA genre. Actual problems other than lip gloss and hair are dealt with. Mature subject matter is handled and can I just go a bit fangirly on the character development in this book?! There is not one character in this book that you will leave you without feeling some strong emotion.

Rhine is everything I would hope that I could be set in a dystopic environment. She is strong, smart and she knows how to play the game. Her sister wives lack her ability to play and are sidelined as Rhine becomes head wife. She is four years away death and so is her husband. It should be a match made in heaven. Probably would have been if it wasn’t a forced marriage.

For males twenty-five is the fatal age. For women it’s twenty. We are all dropping like flies. page 8 of the ARC

Rhine learns that her new husband The House Governor already has a wife, and only one. She wonders why he would want new wives:

“”That’s Rose,” he says. “The House Governor’s first wife.” All Governors take a first wife: the number doesn’t refer to the order of marriage, but it is an indication of power. The first wives attend all the social events, they appear with their Governors in public, and, apparently, they are entitled to the privilege of an open window. They’re the favorites. page 16 of the ARC

This book is full of problems, love and so much more. If you enjoy dystopic story lines and love stories then in March remember to pick Wither up you will not be disappointed.

Why Teens Will Love It:

Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s tale is updated for the new generation with much more information, more description and fantastical characters. This is the book to begin a dystopic journey through forced marriage and medical induced malady.

Why Adults Will Love It:

Wither is perfect for any adult. While the story line follows teens, there is a very mature arc of character. These teens have to grow up fast because they will be dead before they reach their mid twenties.

I picked up this ARC very stealthily from a conference.

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15 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I feel like I’ve seen this book all over lately – I regret not requesting it on Netgalley! I’ll have to buy it now but it looks like a worthy purchase.

  2. Gravatar

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pam van Hylckama . Pam van Hylckama said: Review of Wither by @LaurenDeStefano http://bklc.us/31 5 stars "A Handmaiden's Tale for the newer generation" @SimonTEEN @MissDawn_ [...]

  3. Gravatar

    This book looks fantastic! I can’t wait to read it!

  4. Gravatar

    You are one awesome book ninja! :) Great review!

  5. Gravatar

    A comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale? Now I really want to read this. :)

  6. Gravatar

    Not sure I’ll be able to wait until March now! :) Great review!!

  7. Gravatar

    Thanks for the great review! Now I’m dying to get my hands on it. :) I have been greedily gobbling up dystopian fiction lately. So glad to see so many new titles in this genre!

  8. Gravatar

    Oh, I’m so proud that we share a name, what with your book ninja(ing?) skills! Super stealth. This looks really good. I’ve never been a lip gloss kid and love the darker commentaries that focus away from angsty drama.

  9. Gravatar

    Looking forward to this one!

  10. Gravatar

    Yay glad to hear you enjoyed this! I’ve downloaded it from S&S Galley Grab, looking forward to reading it!

  11. Gravatar

    BTW saw your tweets sorry to hear librarians gave you a hard time at ALA. I’m a librarian but haven’t had the opportunity to go to ALA yet :( Hoping to get there one day though! I’ll elbow any elitists I come across! :P

  12. Gravatar

    I have a feeling this book is going to be huge. I don’t read tons of dystopia, but have been known to enjoy it when the characters are well developed, so I have a feeling I’d enjoy this book.

  13. Gravatar

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  14. Gravatar

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