Nina is almost sixteen, and in her world (a futuristic Chicago amid a large nation run by the Governing Council), that means she is about to be branded and labeled legal… for sex. The XVI tattoo is mandatory for all girls and it’s only one of the many things the GC uses to control its citizens. When “Media” and “Government” are synonymous and the real fears of rape and abuse for teenage girls are socially accepted, Nina must struggle to find out who she is and what she wants in a world that’s been deceiving her. A coming-of-age story set in a very realistic dystopian landscape, XVI demonstrates what could happen to our society in a 1984 fashion. Nina tells us her story as she discovers that she might be the key to bringing her corrupt government to justice, but will she uncover the truth in time to save herself and her friends?
I love dystopian lit, and YA fiction has been doing a good job of it (e.g. The Hunger Games.) XVI did not disappoint me. Although my copy had a lot (meaning more than a dozen) errors in it, which always irks me. I can’t solely blame the author, but I figure the editing and publishing system should have caught most of them, if not all. (The only book I’ve read recently that was worse was Vince Flynn’s American Assassin, which I talked about here.) One bonus of XVI is that it’s the first in a series, and the next installment, Truth, will be out in January of 2012. I’ve already pre-ordered it.
Do I recommend this book?
Yes. For the same reasons I’d recommend 1984 and similar stories. It’s fiction. It’s far-fetched. Or is it? These kind of novels aren’t just entertaining; they help shed light on the flaws in our culture.