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Jan 2, 2011

Book Review: Wither

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren Destefano
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing  (March 22nd 2011)
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
Series: Chemical Garden, #1
Pages: 356
Source: Won from Books with Bite

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.
My $0.02

I received an ARC copy of Wither right about the same time that I received an ARC copy of Across the Universe. I had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to read first. I started Across the Universe but then one night I picked up Wither and I flipped open the book to the first page and before you knew it, I couldn't stop reading!

Wither is surely one of those books that will stick with you long after you finish reading it. You'll find yourself wandering back to it - thinking what if, what if, what if! I absolutely enjoyed every minute of this debut! If you follow me on twitter, you would have seen my tweets about what came to my mind when I read the first page. I pictured images similar to that of the Holocaust. The images that Destefano conveyed had me pulled into the book.

Our MC, Rhine, is kidnapped and forced into a polygamous marriage along with two other young girls, Cecily and Jenna. Throughout the novel, Rhine has this anger and disgust towards what has happened to her and she wants to escape the life that was thrown upon her. I felt the same exact way, except I didn't think so badly of Linden, the three girls' husband. As you read more and more, he's in the dark about pretty much everything that is going on in reality. He's not the enemy in the novel; he's not the one who you want to direct all your anger towards.

I reserved all that for Housemaster Vaughn, Linden's father. He had such a creepy and scary aura. Even just reading about him gave me gooseflesh! He's basically the mastermind behind everything going on in the mansion. He's basically like the opposite of a sour patch - sweet then sour! Exactly that! The girls have very limited freedom, if they even have freedom at all. They're cooped up in their bedrooms all day and all night and Destefano expresses this very clearly because as I read more and more, I felt as if I was a prisoner in a cell and the walls were closing in on me.

The world in which Destefano creates is one "in the not-too-distant future" where I was still able to picture everything similar to today but still with a hint of advanced technology. You don't get to read too much of what's going on in the outside world because we're cooped up in that big ole' Victorian mansion. But this world came to be because scientists have eradicated diseases such as cancer, STDs, allergies, etc. The effect of that is that males die when they reach the age of 25 and females die when they reach the age of 20 - talk about scary!

Rhine has such a sophisticated personality and voice that had me thinking at times if she was really 16! You see glimpses of where she comes from when she describes her life prior to living in the mansion. You also get to meet her twin brother, Rowan, and how difficult life was for them when their parents died. She seems to be the only one that wants to escape; everyone else is living in this bubble of disbelief - thinking everything will turn out alright – one of those being, Gabriel. We don't see too much of him, so I'm not sure where I stand between him and Linden, LOL, but I'm more than sure that we'll definitely be seeing lots of him in the second book. Throughout the novel, there were times, I won't specifically describe when 'cause then I'll be spoiling it, when I felt disgusted - in a good way - of course - which means that Destefano was hitting all the right points! Certain events that occurred just had me feeling so like, "(shivers) Ewgh!" LOL, it might be a little hard to understand, but then again, maybe it was just me!

If you're into dystopian novels where there's the under-lying theme of our generation taking things for granted and wanting to eradicate all things "bad" then this one is surely for you! A great thriller with just a hint of "maybe everything will be alright!"
Here's my playlist for this one:


  1. Can't wait to read this one! Great review :)

  2. Awesome! Ok now I want to read this one even more. As soon as I'm done with my Cybil books I'll be looking for this one!

  3. Great review. I am so glad you got sucked into it the way I did. This book was just wow. I need the second book, like NOW!

  4. I so much want to read this book! Your review made me even more eager!

  5. I can't wait to read this book, and your review just made me want to read it more! Great blog :)

  6. I know what you mean, I read this book, too. Parts (which shall not be mentioned due to spoilers) made me so angry and disgusted. A long time after reading it, I still went back and wondered you know 'what if...'.


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