Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Came out: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Kindle Store
Age group: Young Adult
What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home. But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
A fascinating take on the dystopian trend, Wither is a gorgeously written novel.
Lauren DeStefano has imagined a horrifying world where a scientist discovered a way to make a "super-embryo" where the offspring is impervious to disease. Unfortunately, it turns out that after the first generation, a virus sets in. Women only live until twenty before the virus takes them. Men live until twenty-five.
Because of this, kidnappings ensue. Young girls and teenagers are kidnapped to become part of polygamist societies, in order to produce more offspring for men. The girls who are kidnapped and aren't deemed beautiful enough to become wives are murdered.
I don't usually summarize the synopsis of a book, but this idea was so unique and different that I had to spotlight it. This was strangely fascinating.
The plot was fast-paced and engrossing, but the writing was beautiful. This is an odd and lovely combination that every reader hopes to get. Wither is intoxicating, beautiful, and haunting. It should definitely have a place on everybody's shelves.
Recommended for anybody who loves: Bumped; Moonglass; beautiful writing; dystopian novels; Keep Sweet; etc.
Possible book club questions:
Why do you think that polygamist societies have been trending as topics in the book market lately?Have you noticed that many dystopian novels are starting to focus on viruses and how they affect offspring?How do you think Rhine's twin brother must feel? How would you feel if you were him?Why do you think that Cecily felt the way she did?Jenna seemed surprised that Rhine did not go to the lengths she did. Why do you think that she made the choices she did?Do you hate Linden or feel bad for him? Try to answer this question from the viewpoint of several different characters.