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XVI by Julia Karr

XVI (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Julia Karr

Series: XVI (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
358None30,334 (3.46)9
Authors:Julia Karr
Info:Speak (2011), Edition: Original, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:read 2011, young adult, science fiction, library

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XVI by Julia Karr (2011)

2011 (3) ARC (3) coming of age (3) conspiracy (4) dystopia (36) dystopian (15) ebook (8) fantasy (6) fiction (13) future (2) government control (2) Kindle (3) media (2) mystery (6) novel (2) own (5) read (3) read in 2011 (10) romance (13) science fiction (19) series (2) sex (7) teen (7) thriller (2) to-read (26) unread (3) wishlist (3) YA (17) young adult (25) young adult fiction (3)
  1. 20
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (LAKobow)
  2. 10
    Insurgent by Veronica Roth (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: Both are well-written dystopians with complicated and developed female protagonists and excellent plotting.
  3. 00
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (JoriPie)
    JoriPie: Very similar plots.

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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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!
( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
Dystopian books are all the rage right now, and there are a crop of them popping up this year. Some of them are better than others. Overall, I really enjoy this genre and ever since The Hunger Games I have been devouring these books. XVI is an exciting new dystopian novel by debut author Julia Karr. XVI paints a dark picture of the future, and makes you wonder if this is where we’re headed.

The year is 2150 and the world is a dangerous place, especially for young girls. At the age of sixteen, girls are tattooed with an XVI on their wrist to show that they are legal and ready to have sex. They are called sex-teens. These girls have been taught by the media to look, dress and behave a certain way to attract the opposite sex. Men basically feel like they have the right to have sex with any girl with the XVI marking.

The protagonist is Nina Oberon, and it is her worst nightmare to become a sex-teen. Nina is a smart, thoughtful, responsible girl. Nina’s mother Ginny has encouraged her to think for herself and not trust the government. Ginny has encouraged Nina to be an artist to carve a different path for her. Tragedy strikes when Ginny is murdered, and with her dying words sends Nina off to discover the clues of her mother’s secret life. Nina also must protect her little sister Dee from being abducted by Ginny’s evil ex-boyfriend.

Nina and Dee go to live with their grandparents, and attend a new school. Nina is separated from her best friend Sandy after she moves away. Sandy has bought into the whole sex-teen thing and can’t wait to turn sixteen and live the glamorous life portrayed in the media. They have two friends, Mike and Derek, who are sweet and supportive and have known the girls since grade school. Nina runs into a new boy, Sal, who questions the government’s motives and practices, much like Nina’s parents did. Ginny’s boyfriend Ed is one of the villains of the book, and he is very creepy with his taste for young girls and violence towards women in general.

Nina finds herself infatuated with Sal, and is conflicted about starting a romance with him. Her life is complicated, and she is worried about being a sex-teen. Their relationship was a strong point for me, and I just wish it were developed a little more. Nina also becomes friendly with a cool, confident, girl named Wei, who studies Cliste Galad martial arts. I hope to find out more about her and the martial arts in the next book in the series.

I was fascinated and horrified with XVI’s dystopian world, where there is no free speech, and girls are objectified and monitored with implanted gps devices. Verts/Advertisements are everywhere and the government is always listening and monitoring your every move.

XVI has a great story and characters, has a feminist theme, and makes you think about the future. As a bonus, I also loved that the society is vegetarian, and eating meat is outlawed due to the fact that there are so few animals left in the world. The story is fast-paced and kept me turning the pages (or clicking next on my kindle.) The ending was satisfying on it’s own, but I’ll definitely be ready to pick up the next book in the series. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
I like the concept of this book a lot. I really admire the guts it took to write such a naked examination of the way teenage girls are commodified in our culture. The problem is the pacing. The novel drags rather badly, which is a shame because I wanted to like this one. Chapter 24 was also filled with way too many coincidences for me to continue to take the book seriously. I hate being so rough on a first novel, especially one with such a great, brave concept, but it just wasn't executed very well. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
RATING: 2.5 stars.

I really, really didn't want to write this review, because I feel like I have been posting a lot of reviews highlighting negative points; I'm not sure if the books are all that bad or if it's just me that can't read a book, like it and write an 100% gushing, glowing review. Maybe I am just one of those grumpy people who likes to find flaws in everything, but I haven't read a book that was 100% perfect... yet.

That said, I liked "XVI". Overall it wasn't "that bad". But I did find a lot of flaws, from the glaring grammatical errors to world and character building.

I had high expectations for "XVI". I read all the praise I saw it mentioned on numerous blogs and it seemed like everyone was talking about it. So I decided to buy a copy; I mean, if so many people like it, it must be good... right?

The problem with high expectations is that most of the time you end up disappointed. I was. I had a hard time reading this book and maybe a small part of it was because I wasn't in the mood for dystopian fiction; but most of the disappointment came from the book itself because, as I said before I found a lot of rough edges that I thought needed polishing.

"XVI" is one of those books that has a good concept but a flawed execution. I liked the idea of a futuristic totalitarian society (sort of like "The Hunger Games", but global) where the Media controls every aspect of your life (how to dress, what to eat, how to think) and is closely linked to the "Governing Council". I was astonished at the way women were viewed and treated (completely objectified and viewed as inferior). I was impressed at how the author used "consumerism" and the Media as means of control. In some ways, it was very like our current society, but taken to the extreme... commercials all the time, extreme attention to trends and fashion and a culture that encourages women to think of themselves as sex objects. Some are very rich (high-tiers) while most are poor (lower tiers), and people are shunned or admired by the volume of their wealth. This society is so stratified there is almost no chance for a poor person to get a good job and 'get out' of their "tier".

Then I wanted to know why the society evolved that way (or went backwards). And I simply couldn't find an answer. There is no explanation as to why this 22nd century society is how it is; a war of great proportions is mentioned but that's all. Also, the author plunged right into the story, introducing new concepts without explaining or even describing them properly. "Trannies" and "PAVs" were mentioned but the reader can never get a clear picture of what those are or how they work. Basically the world building needed some work.

The characters also bothered me a bit (I didn't like the names, but that's a matter of personal taste). Nina most of all. She was supposed to be a strong, stoic character (I think) but came off as expressionless. Her trusting attitude also seemed a bit unbelievable because, well, she does live in a non-democratic society.Another thing I found odd was the lack of physical descriptions. If there were any, they weren't very detailed. I'm not saying I like to read pages and pages of hair and eye color, body types and the color and pattern of their shirts but I do like to be able to imagine the characters in my head and with this book... I couldn't since there were only generic descriptions.

The story was all over the place. The romantic part was rushed and unrealistic, the pacing was off and some elements of the plot were pretty unbelievable (Sal and Nina's encounter; Joan's appearance and many others).

Overall, this book had a good concept for a distopian novel, but unfortunately the author didn't develop it in a way that made it interesting. Also the story was very uneven and not enthralling enough to keep me reading. I managed a few chapters a day and this book has little more than 300 pages. Karr could have done so much more with this book and it's characters (who lacked charisma, most of all). Maybe the sequel will be better.

Reviewed for: http://pinkgum.blogspot.com/ ( )
  slayra | Sep 21, 2013 |
This was quite an interesting read. It was gripping and the setting was ominous and creepy, sure, but I felt like it was missing something. I just can't figure out why exactly I feel this way. I liked most of the characters, especially Wei. I hated Ed fiercely. Many things happened randomly and I think the author set up a lot of "events" to keep you interested, then she just dropped them like they were hot. It got kind of annoying to be thrown into some plot twist, only to find out three or four pages later that it wasn't a plot twist at all, just some random thing that meant absolutely nothing to the plot. Still, it was a good read and I enjoyed most of it. ( )
  lizziewrites | Sep 20, 2013 |
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In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad.
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At fifteen, Nina Oberon leads a pretty normal life that includes family, friends, and school. However, Nina lives in a totalitarian future society in which all girls are required to get a Governing Council-ordered "XVI" wrist tattoo on their 16th birthdays, announcing to the world that they are ready for sex. Becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear until, right before her birthday, her mother is brutally attacked and reveals a shocking truth to Nina with her dying breaths that changes everything Nina thought she knew about her life. Now, alone but for her younger sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.… (more)

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