Goodreads Synopsis:Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.
XVI is a futuristic/dystopian young adult debut by Julia Karr that introduces us to Nina Oberon and her world of media brainwashing and strange government control over society. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy XVI as much as I had anticipated. While I did enjoy the steady pacing and writing style, I thought that there wasn’t enough plot to carry the story. I would compare reading this novel to going to an amusement park and riding only the carousel. Its an enjoyable enough ride, relaxing and nice, but while you can just see the roller-coaster over the hill, you never quite make it there. Instead continuing at the same slow steady pace to the end, no ups, downs, twists or surprises.
Nina Oberon’s world almost seems like a pretty scary place with the government listening and watching everything you do, media flashing advertisements convincing you of who you want to aspire to be, and the underground resistance fighting against the status quo. But in XVI, we only get a small glimpse at all that’s going on, we never get to see the inner workings of either side and so I was left without a very clear understanding about the world. I felt the same about Nina’s friends and family, that the author just barely scratched the surface of who they were and I really couldn’t relate to any of the characters, plot, or world enough to be completely invested in the story.
I liked that the author tackled some serious issues such as teen self image and sexuality as it is influenced by the media. However, once again, I wish there would have been more to it than it just being mentioned throughout the book. There were too many things left unexplained, unexplored, and undeveloped for me to have enjoyed this. It felt too safe for the subject matter.
So, XVI by Julia Karr was simply not for me. It might, however, be just what you’re looking for! Check out Dija’s 5 star review of XVI at BlackFingernailedReviews for another opinion.
Rated- 2 not for me