Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Reviews - Wither by Lauren Destefano & Bumped by Megan McCafferty

I just happened to read these books back to back and was struck by some similarities so I figured I'd review them together.
Here is the description from Amazon for Wither

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

What I liked:
This book grabs you from the very first sentence and keeps you turning pages.  I read the whole thing in two sittings  (I went to bed at 3am). 

The harrowing dystopic world where girls/women are kidnapped and sold as childbearers.

How each character is neither 100% good or evil.  The author builds these characters skillfully and you end up both loving and hating the husband, Linden, and can relate to both of the other two sister wives.  You can see how Rhine is torn between leaving this life of comfort and wealth and going back to her old life.

The sexual situation was dealt with.  Yes, there has to be some sex due to the mature subject matter.  To have none would be unrealistic.  But you see a door close, or somebody emerging from a bedroom.  That is it. 

Even though the book is the first of a trilogy it had an ending!! Yeah! 

What I didn't like

Some might find it offensive to read about a 13-year-old girl married and becoming pregnant by her 21-year -old husband.  BE WARNED.  I felt it was a little mature to be labeled a YA title. 

These are kind of quibbles.

The relationship between Gabriel and Rhine could have been more strongly established.  I'm not sure what is there on the page is enough for me to believe their relationship.


I didn't buy that Rhine could live there as long as she did without coming to more harm than she did.  She seems to have escaped any sort of serious consequences.

All in all, I totally enjoyed reading this and will definitely pick up the next two books in the series.

I'm giving it four stars - I liked it.  Well written, engrossing,  but it may not be your cup of tea, especially if you don't care for the mature subject matter. 

Description of Bumped From Amazon

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.


Do you see the similarity in the subject matter between the two books?

What I liked

There are two characters = twins separated at birth one is celebrity surrogate Melody and the other
is Harmony,  raised in an ultra conservative religious community and about to be married.  I liked the contrast in the two sides of the issue.

I liked the world building the author did.  She even came up with inventive slang that teenagers would use in this unique world that sounded so very authentic. 

What I didn't like

Character development -  There was very little of it.  For two thirds of the book Melody doesn't really like Harmony and then, all of a sudden, she loves her sister?  The changes were too abrupt to be believable.

While the author tried to present both sides with the two characters, Melody's character is much stronger and she came off as pretty brainless.  And the slang, although original, tended to make some of the conversation confusing.

No matter how I tried, the idea of Melody's services as a "bump-ee" were being sold by her "parents" was not acceptable to me.  And there was sex.  More graphic than Wither but still on very tame side.
Another WARNING:  Mature subject matter I didn't think was appropriate for YA.

Ah how I hate those cliffhanger endings and this one had one.  There isn't enough here to get me to pick up the next one.

I'm giving this one three stars - Liked it more than I didn't like.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I don't think this book can be a YA, but despite, I really enjoyed it.
    Maybe you have to try the next one, I've heard it's better, but, who knows!
    Happy reading!