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The Compulsive Reader: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Rhine lives in a world that is slowly decaying. Thanks to leaps in science and technology, scientists managed to create one perfect human generation, with an extraordinary flaw: their male offspring only live to age 25, and females to age 20. At sixteen, Rhine and her brother have managed to create a decent life for themselves, until the unthinkable happens. Rhine is kidnapped at the order of a wealthy man, and forced to marry him, along with two other girls. On the surface, their new lives are beautiful, glamorous. They have everything they want within the confines of their husband's estate. But when Rhine befriends a servant, Gabriel, and begins to dig deeper into the hidden activities of the household, what she finds terrifies her, and escape becomes paramount.

Wither is an exceptional novel that begins with a bang and doesn't let you go--it's gut-wrenching, shocking, incredible, and completely and utterly absorbing all at once. Rhine's plight will certainly elicit sympathy, and DeStefano keeps the reader on edge the entire time as she constructs Rhine's mysterious, opulent, and dangerous world. Polygamy and the lives of sister wives is a mainly uncharted area in YA fiction, but DeStefano not only makes it fascinating, but heartfelt and relatable as Rhine and her sister wives live, work, and argue, sometimes against each other, and sometimes united, trying to make sense of their lives and purpose. Rhine has the maturity of one that has had to grow up too quickly, and it makes her an insightful and absorbing narrator. She is a fighter, and despite knowing that her days are numbered, she's determined to do the only thing she can do--live on her own terms. But her determination doesn't make her mission easy--she still struggles with guilt and compassion for those that would hold her back.

Rhine's journey and her gradual unveiling of her life prior to her kidnapping will caution readers against the dangers of the pursuit of perfection, remind them of the frailty of humanity, and emphasize the importance of perseverance, faith, freedom, and of course, love. DeStefano is a fearless writer, and though it is firmly its own book, Wither will remind readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Cover Comments: This cover is beautiful--so perfect! The model captures the glamour and beauty of Rhine's new life, but the caged bird also expressed how trapped she really is. I also really like the title treatment--modern, and sophisticated, but yet it blends with the cover image very well.

Wither is the first in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, and will be released on March 22nd, 2011.

ARC provided by the publisher.

13 comments:

Rebecca Herman said...

I want to read this so bad! did you get it from Shelf Awareness contest? I think I didn't win the contest, sadly.

Simply_Megan said...

I can't wait til this is published! I want to read it so bad. Great review.

Gaby said...

I want to read this badly, and your review makes me want to read it more! The cover is pretty and now that you mention it, it does suit the book.

M said...

I loved this book as well. So good, with such compelling and intriguing characters and situations at hand.

BrittLit said...

Thanks for the review, I'm glad it's good from the get-go. I'm so excited to read this!

Kelsey said...

I got an ARC of this yesterday and I want to read it right now!!! Awesome review :)

KhrisTinna said...

It sounds great! I didn't know about this book. Now it's in my wishlist!
XX

--Khris--

Melis said...

It looks really good! I need to stop spending so much money on books..YEAH RIGHT haha

Erika said...

BRILLIANT review! Thoughtful, detailed and honest, it gave me a gist of the novel and an idea of what to expect, but it still had your inputs in it. I'm so excited to read this one now!

geekgirl said...

That cover is absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to read this one.

Thanks so much for the review!

Love your blog!

Erin said...

What an awesome cover! The book sounds like it will be really interesting and fast-paced. Can't wait to read it in March!

Michelle said...

I adored this book. It is definitely taking the wide open space the completion of Hunger Games left behind. I loved the world built and the characters were fantastic. The only problem is how long we have to wait to get the next one!

Canada Only Gift Baskets Discounts said...

This item was bought for a present. She loved it! Would highly recommend it! Great series from the author Lauren DeStefano.