06 March 2013

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Sixteen-year-old Rhine knows that she only has four more years left to her life. What was once thought of as the miracle of modern science took a dangerous turn with new generations, and now males only live to age 25, and females to age 20, no exceptions. To keep the population from dying out, young women are forced into polygamous marriages. Rhine and her twin brother Rowan vigilantly kept an eye out for Gatherers, but Rhine was kidnapped anyway and forced to live in matrimony with the wealthy Linden Ashby, in a mansion where even just stepping outside is a restricted privilege. The gate surrounding the home keeps everyone under lock and key.

Over the next year, Rhine's main focus is that of escape and ultimate freedom. But over the course of time, she also can't help but develop relationships with those around her: her nineteen- and fourteen-year-old sister-wives; the help, including the handsome Gabriel; her powerful and horrifying father-in-law; and even her husband, who shows her kindness and genuine affection.

This is the first in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, and it is a mixed bag of terror, uncertainty, and enchantment. Recommended to all high school readers. Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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